Capturing the powerful grace of a performing arts company for at-risk youth, F R E E
journeys behind the curtain to spotlight the intimate stories of five inner city teenagers whose lives are transformed by the power of collaborative art.
In a city infamous for crime and high dropout rates, Destiny Arts Center in Oakland, California, provides a safe place for teens to share their stories, build community and express themselves through dance. Each year, 20 diverse students are accepted into the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, where they spend months creating a performance based on their lives.
Jamany once thought guns, violence and drugs were the way to fit in. “Without a father to show me how to live my life,” he says, “I turned to the streets.” Alaysia is in the painful process of trying to cope with a childhood rape. Nee Nee lives with her mother, who has breast cancer and can't afford to pay the water bill. Omar, who has been through eleven foster homes, is diagnosed with HIV. Tilly has little outlet for the pain of a difficult relationship with her girlfriend and resorts to cutting.
When Destiny Arts offers them a chance to move their bodies and share their stories, their lives begin to change. Under the thoughtful guidance of Destiny’s artistic director, Sarah Crowell, their journey reveals how collaborative art can be a foundation for personal discovery, growth, resilience and hope. Using guided meditations, poetry and dance, Crowell creates a safe space for students “so that they can come through adolescence shiny, and not broken.”
Created for classroom or community use by educators and the Destiny Arts Center, this 21 page guide provides a variety of ways to help explore the issues in the film and give your class or group the opportunity to share their personal stories and ideas, to discuss the film's themes, and to engage in verbal and movement exercises taught at the Destiny Arts Center. Primarily for high-school age youth, but appropriate for ages 13 and older.Download Discussion Guide >
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