Daniel Ibess Clifford holds dance classes, workshops for prison inmates
Daniel Ibess Clifford was born to dance. The professional dancer and teacher has been obsessed with dance from the time he was six years old.
And he is sharing his love for his craft not only by teaching dance at his school, but also by holding dance classes and workshops in several jails in the country.
Daniel has visited several jails to “offer something different and add to the emotional and physical well-being of prisoners.”
“For the last six years, I have conducted at least three dance sessions every year in different jails,” he says.
The Bangalorean is at ease with over 10 different forms of dances from across the world; the Rumba, Samba, Cha Cha Cha, Jive, Paso Doble, Waltz, Tango, Quickstep, and ballroom dances — Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot —, he knows them all.
After completing three grades, Daniel got the Associate in Latin American and Ballroom Dancing from the Dance College at Durban, South Africa.
According to Daniel, from the age of 12, he started taking part in school cultural programmes and dance competitions, winning several prizes.
Fulfilling a dream
“I would watch world Latin dance champion Walter Laird's videos for hours together and mimic his steps. As it was not possible to study these western dance formats in India, I decided to go to the Dance Masters College in Durban to fulfil my dream.”
He runs the Daniel Clifford's School of Latin American Dances in Indiranagar in the city.
“My school, running for 14 years now, has had a steady flow of students from the ages of 15 to 60, all brimming with energy. That's the change which has gradually come about in the last decade,” he says.
But why did he decide to teach jail inmates dance?
“In 2006, when I was at a dance competition in Durban, I saw children of South African life convicts dancing with such conviction and professionalism. It was a poignant moment. I decided to come back and do something for the people locked up here, for free. I met the then Director-General of Prisons S.T. Ramesh in Bangalore. With his permission, I conducted several classes at the Bangalore Central Prison. I held classes at Aguada Central Jail in Goa, Sada sub-jail in Vasco, and jails in Kolkata and Puducherry. It was absolutely revitalising to see them experience so much joy,” says Daniel.
The Fox History & Entertainment channel too featured Daniel's ‘prison dance classes' on the Paul Merton in India television show.