Moving Beyond Bars / Reclaiming Identity through Creative Practice

Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT) is an internationally recognized performance company, founded in 1979 by Stuart Pimsler, and co-directed with Suzanne Costello since 1984. The company has been presented throughout the US and internationally in Canada, Europe, Israel, Taiwan, Russia, Bermuda, China, and Mexico. SPDT’s community inclusive work, which engages a diverse array of populations – students, caregivers, audiences, and community members – has been lauded as a “National Model” by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and its Arts & Healthcare work has been recognized for “Best Practices” by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2021, the company published a book titled The Choreography of Care. This new book chronicles how the work of Artistic Co-Directors Suzanne Costello and Stuart Pimsler continues to respond to the needs of caregivers in professional settings and in homes. Through these pages, artists of all disciplines will learn about touchstone issues and techniques for collaborating with the healthcare community.

Please explore the site to learn more about SPDT’s repertory, Arts & Education work, and Arts in Health initiatives.

Suzanne Costello presents her Arts & Justice Program

Moving Beyond Bars / Reclaiming Identity through Creative Practice

Moving Beyond Bars is a creative program that engages participants in writing and movement to explore and express their full selves. Supported with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S., this program has been implemented in prisons and release programs for men, women, adults and adolescents. The core belief of this initiative is that guiding participants to acknowledge and express their sense of identity behind their offender label emboldens them and provides a new strength to move beyond bars.

As populations move from incarceration and through the parole/ probation system, ultimately it is the INDIVIDUAL who will succeed or not. How do we validate these individuals as full members of society? Research confirms that family connections and work provide a sense of stability. However, these individuals need a way to reclaim their sense of self. The power of the arts cannot be

underestimated in providing this connection. Having the opportunity to express their true selves has been proven to be therapeutic but, more importantly, it is perhaps the most holistic method to address the reparation of these broken lives.

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