The dancing inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) once again wowed about 400 spectators as they performed a new rhythm called the “Pope Dance” on January 15 at the provincial jail.
“Pope Dance” is the inmates’ way of expressing their faith and paying homage to Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines.
In contrast to their usual high-energy dance presentation, this performance is categorized as slow, composed and solemn.
As the Gregorian chant starts to play, 2,235 inmates clad in their bright orange uniform with their hands on their chest, as if praying, have emerged from their prison cells in single line and slowly gathered outside CPDRC quadrangle.
As the chant continues to play, the inmates gradually formed into a huge cross while the rest of them gathered around it until the music slowed down.
The inmates then performed their dance interpretation at the tune of “We Are All God’s Children,” the official theme song of the papal visit.
At the end, a large poster of a smiling Pope Francis appeared brought out by inmates at the top of the cross while the other dancers held up white linen on both sides as if it appears that the pope is embracing the inmates.
Most of the viewers were moved after the inmate’s performance of ‘Pope Dance’.
“I was very touched and was moved by their performance of the “Pope Dance”. I almost cried because I can really feel their sincerity,” said Sirrikit Gillamac.
CPDRC’s choreographer Vince Rosales said it only took two days for them to complete and master the whole routine.
He said that the early intention was to reach the Pope through their performance which might persuade him to visit Cebu since northern Cebu was also affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Pope Francis’ visit is scheduled from 15 to 19 January 2015.
“If the pope won’t come, it’s alright. It’s the inmates’ humble way of welcoming the pope as he visits our country,” Rosales said.
But for some inmates who are still on trial, their performance is a form of prayer beseeching for speedy trial, to grant them clemency or leave jail.