“I have attended many of your productions/performances over the years. Nothing, nothing, touched me as deeply as what I experienced at Track 16 yesterday. Heidi’s role as a guard and the two amazing dancers were so affecting, especially as it was confined to that relatively small space, and so helped us feel what it is to be imprisoned. Beautiful, compelling, emotion evoking work as always.

But my friends and I were really blown away by the video and the panel… The video was completely engaging and over-the-top effective at conveying at least a tiny piece of what your company and the women at CIW experienced during your time there… And then the panel. Whoa. The moderator did a stellar job, not an easy task. And every member of the panel was knowledgeable, gracious, egoless, informative. My friends and I left with tears in our eyes and deep feelings of … sorrow, compassion, anger, resolve in our hearts.

‘What action will you take?’ Oh rest assured, we will take action. Absolutely.”

– Ellen Butler, Audience Member

Listen to the panel as a podcast!


February 2, 2020 – Track 16 Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.

One Leg at Time was the culminating public event of our three-month educational residency at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Chino, California in 2019. HDD teaching artists engaged a group of incarcerated women with movement workshops that focused on issues of self-esteem, personal responsibility, and physical expression to reduce the negative impact of traumatic or overwhelming events. Through these workshops participants were able to physically narrate and verbally share their stories, culminating with their own expressive choreography.

Up until this point, these powerful experiences had remained behind closed doors, this exhibition shared this work with the public. One Leg at a Time allowed attendees to walk in the footsteps of the participants, listen to their stories and watch their performance, witness a performance by HDD’s teaching artists, and participate in a panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Abbe Land, and included Theresa Martinez, Prof. Geoffrey Robinson, Vanessa Sapien, Terri Lynn Scrape, and Sabra Williams.

This exhibition challenged audience members to evaluate how the arts can inform the conversation around mental health, and sexual and physical abuse among incarcerated women. This journey allowed all walks of life to be encapsulated in the participants’ world, bridging the gap between the free and the incarcerated and fostering greater understanding, empathy, and respect.

See links below to find out more about our panelists’ organizations and get involved in creating a more just prison system through arts programming.

Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative

Just Detention International

The Actor’s Gang Prison Project

Creative Acts

Justice Now

Photos by Sean Deckert

This project was made possible with support from the California Wellness Foundation, and California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.Visit www.calhum.org and www.calwellness.org.

We would like to thank our partners Just Detention International, a Los Angeles-based health and human rights organization, for their support in this project.