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Dance Or Die: How Ballet Could Save Your Life In A Prison Riot

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Steve Drown
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JulianGlenn "Luke" Padgett and Brian Thames are both students in KALW's radio training program at Solano State Prison.

From the series Uncuffed:

I met JulianGlenn “Luke" Padgett on a prison yard in 1999, and upon getting to know one another I came to consider him a friend. But during all of our conversations about politics, religion, and philosophies, I never knew that he was a ballet dancer nor that the graceful movements that he’d learned as a child quite possibly helped to save him from being “life-flighted” — helicoptered out of a riot in a maximum-security prison.

"I'm glad I took all those ballet classes, I'm glad I that I learned how to dance, I'm glad that I played football. I'm glad that I had a feeling in my body that said, 'do this, do that.'"

Our radio training program at San Quentin State Prison is supported by Arts in Corrections, a program of the California Arts Council with funding from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

This story originally aired on September 12, 2018.