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On Theatre: exploring Prison Dancer


Back in 2007, before TikTok was even a kernel of an idea, a video of 1,500 dancing inmates in a Philippines prison became a thing—a massive thing! Circulated around the world via YouTube, the “Dancing Inmates of Cebu” was seen by millions of people, including Filipino-Canadian creatives Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus.

Prison Dancer is a new musical based on a moment in time where over a thousand inmates were captured on video dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The effect of the dancing was palpable, not only on the prisoners, but for the public as well. The magic of this moment comes to the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, and CKUA’s Tony King had the pleasure of talking with Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus about the joy and the tender irony of being in the public eye while incarcerated.