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The Spin I’m In: Perk or Punishment?

Well, these videos have been circulating around from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Centre located in the Philippines. The videos of prisoners dancing have been posted on YouTube by the mastermind of these routines himself, security consultant for the Cebu provincial government Byron Garcia.

I think these are fascinating to watch and really well done. Now just to be clear, I’m all for dance numbers (any time any place, lay it on me), but it may be that some of these guys are being held captive and forced to dance by the Bob Fosse of the Philippines.

“Using music, you can involve the body and the mind. The inmates have to count, memorise steps and follow the music,” Mr Garcia told the BBC news website.

I’m sure a lot of the prisoners enjoy it, but I’m also pretty sure that some are less enthusiastic then Garcia lets on. The dancing is mandatory for all prisoners except the sick and elderly.

Hmm, let’s see Thriller, Radio Gaga by Queen, two numbers from Sister Act and a song called Jumbo Hotdog.

Other early choices included In the Navy and YMCA by the Village People, which were chosen so that macho inmates “wouldn’t be offended by being asked to dance”.

Yeah, I think Garcia’s got a point about the macho inmates maybe feeling a bit uncomfortable. What’s next, a Judy Garland medley? If you look closely, some of these dudes don’t look very happy. Let’s hope that none of them are working on a shank made from a bedspring once they get back to their cell.

Speaking of shanks….. sometimes when I’m zoning out on the opiate for the masses, I enjoy watching the gritty show Lock-up on MSNBC. I cannot imagine the Philippines Dance Routine program working on these American prisoners. Although the West Side Story-Prologue number could be really good… Jailhouse Rock would be fantastic, poles and all! Maybe what America needs is our own Prison Fosse, who can rule with an iron boa.

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Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA. Her first solo record, Transmiticate, has been released nationwide and a US tour is booked for Spring and Summer 2008. Donita is also the co-founder and front person of the rock band L7 who have released six studio albums.

Her original scores can be heard in the upcoming feature film The Life of Reilly starring Charles Nelson Reilly and in online projects for Activision and Microsoft. In 1991 Sparks and L7 formed Rock For Choice with the Feminist Majority Foundation staging numerous concerts benefiting pro-choice organizations.
Donita has been a contributing writer at Firedoglake since July 2006 with her music column The Spin I’m In.