JoAnne Tucker (PhD,) founded and was artistic director of the Avodah Dance Ensemble from 1973 to 2004, a modern dance company that was based in New York City. Jennifer Dunning in the New York Times called JoAnne “one of the most persistent and one of the best creating simple, luminous and heartfelt dances.“ In 2002 Avodah began doing residencies in women’s correctional institutions. Drawing on her dance training from Juilliard, undergraduate work in theatre at the University of Pittsburgh and doctoral program at the University of Wisconsin, JoAnne is dedicated to bringing dance and movement activities to non-traditional environments. She is author of two books and has written a number of articles. JoAnne lives in Santa Fe, NM where she regularly leads movement activities in the local jail. In addition JoAnne founded a non-profit organization called Healing Voices – Personal Stories (http://hv-ps.org) that makes films about domestic violence survivors. Currently, Healing Voices is working with Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families in Santa Fe documenting the use of movement and meditation as part of the healing process. JoAnne is on the Board of New Mexico Women in Film.
Áine Pierandi McCarthy holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she first started volunteering in prisons through Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education. She is a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at Upaya Zen Center and now serves as co-director of this program. Áine is also a certified Labyrinth Facilitator through Veriditas, an organization dedicated to sharing the labyrinth as a contemplative tool and works as a board member of the Labyrinth Resource Group of Santa Fe.
Áine first met JoAnne in Santa Fe in 2012 where they discovered that two of JoAnne’s dancers from Avodah Dance Ensemble had stayed in Áine’s family home in Connecticut while they were participating in The Forgiveness Project, a collaboration building a dance with incarcerated women at York Correctional Institution ten years earlier. The Forgiveness Project planted early seeds of inspiration for Áine as a teenager, leading her to pursue working in prisons and meeting JoAnne began their ongoing collaboration together offering contemplative and art-based programs at the Santa Fe County Jail, Esperanza Shelter and other community organizations with a focus on empowering women.