Tabula Rasa Dance Theater
Inside Our Skins
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater’s minimalistic, explosive, and provocative work is performed by a diverse company of 12 dancers, from 9 different countries.
Felipe Escalante’s choreography, which incorporates elements from a variety of dance techniques, embraces the human body, in all its pain, beauty, poetry, and ugliness. With powerful lines and designs that extends through space and time, his work generates unexpected transformations of the body.
Inside Our Skins addresses the injustices of mass incarceration and calls attention to the still legal practice of forced labor, permitted under the 13th Amendment’s exception—which allows for slavery “as a punishment for crime.”
This dance piece will evoke both historical and present-day experiences of the incarcerated. Torture and other means of brutal control are explored. Escalante’s work also examines, through movement and theatrical gesture, the psychological conditions and mental health disorders endemic to the prison population.
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater hopes to expand the possibilities for creativity across all fields and to elevate the standards of art. Escalante believes choreography must elicit powerful and sometimes difficult emotional responses and transcend time and place.
Why Mass Incarceration?
Tabula Rasa Dance Theater is concerned with the pressing social and cultural problems of our times, and with the historical precedents for them. We would like to motivate audiences to question their values and to help repair our damaged society. We invite audiences to consider our common humanity and to join us in helping to create a better environment for future generations.
Tabula Rasa believes that the health of a society can be gauged by its penal systems. The genesis of “Inside Our Skins” can be traced to the prison strike of August 2018, an ambitious nationwide protest that was largely ignored, even by major media outlets. This surprising indifference was a call to action.