We had the good fortune of connecting with Lucy Wallace and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lucy, how do you think about risk?
Walking into maximum security prison for the first time was a risk and very uncomfortable. Meanwhile I feel more anxious parallel parking or running a board meeting. I find that I am more willing to tackle challenges in life that are beyond intimidating. I plow through the rational fears of what could go wrong and focus on the core of what’s needed. In this instance my fear of walking through prison was over ridden with the glaring need for prison reform – a very worthwhile risk!
Since that first day of teaching dance in prison I have entered 17 new prisons with some of that initial fear of taking that risk. My fear is always overtaken with the urgency to help the voiceless and invisible.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Dancing with incarcerated women has been beyond rewarding. I meet deep, honest, brave warriors every time I walk into prison. Women that have survived poverty, racism, classism, sexual abuse, neglect and generations of trauma. We dance to be free, we don’t dance to be perfect or to look good; the mission is to release trauma, not to perform.
We teach our students to teach each other rather than pretending we are the authority. We follow our students guidance because they are closest to the problem. We are here to pass on the baton of healing to those who were never given a chance at thriving.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Boulder and we have a lot of special spots – Eldorado Springs, downtown Pearl Street mall, Sanitas, Dushanbe Tea House, Wonderland Lake, and Shannahan Ridge are some of my favorite gems in the Boulder area.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be dancing in 17 prisons without the support of our Boulder Community. My parents, Friends, acquaintances, colleagues, board members and donors have made this vision possible. I’d like to thank Alice Robbins, Sharlene Most, Lynn Heilig, Tom Buffaloe, Jen Stanzel, Brad Feld, Rachelle Reichley, Ramona Clark, Chloe Weber and many more! I’d like to give a shout out to the amazing Black female activists I follow that have shed light on my blind spots around White Supremacy: Yaba Blay, Austin Channing and Sonya Renee Taylor. The work of Gabor Mate and Bruce Perry have shaped my understanding of trauma and childhood development.
Daily Camera, 2015. Lilly Wallace, Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, Chloe Weber Nebraska Correctional Center For Women