Dance. It has the power to improve memory and mood. To this effect, it’s being utilised as part of a project to engage young people in custody in Juvenile Justice Centres across Sydney.

The project’s titled ‘Beyond the Walls’. Produced by Phunktional, it has given young people the chance to work with six professional dance artists, including First Nations Australian Dancer, Glenn Thomas.

The young people have supported the professional artists to create an engaging show for the public.

Phunktional’s Artistic Director, Gerard Veltre, said the performance piece has been inspired by the young people’s time in custody.

The young people shared their stories and experiences … and began to shape the dance work that … [developed into] the performance of Beyond the Walls,” Mr Veltre said.

“These (professional) dancers have now become the young people’s voice, their stories and their hope.”

Beyond the Walls is a Community Arts and Cultural Development program the result of a two-year collaboration between Phunktional and Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre. The formation of this partnership was built with the goal of empowering culturally diverse, at-risk young people in custody in Sydney.

“Beyond the Walls is aimed at creating resilience, hope and connectedness for the young people behind the walls who might feel forgotten,” Mr Veltre said.

“Come and support the creative achievements of young people in detention and be part of a much-needed ongoing dialogue. The art the young people have made is powerful and at times appropriately harrowing and hard to watch, and at other times it fills us with laughter and hope for the future.”

Beyond the Walls was performed at Bankstown on June 10th and will be performed tonight at Campbelltown and Redfern on June 14th.

Admission is free and more information can be found here: