First off, mark your calendar, World AIDS day, Wednesday, December 1st, The Illumination Project 2004, Hobby Center, 7:30 pm. Forget the West Wing, that left wing (my favorite kind) president would rather have you attend this event. Call 713-315-2525 or visit http://www.thehobbycenter.org/. Tickets are $35 for one $60 for two.
I was at the height of my dancing days (if there was such a place) during the beginning of the AIDS crisis. I lost friends, teachers, and colleagues. The ranks of the Washington, D.C. dance scene were thinned by the loss and it left a tremendous hole in the arts community. This scenario happened in major cities throughout the US. The AIDS crisis is not over; it’s currently the fourth leading cause of death globally. This disease is still with us and we need to pay attention.
Choreographers Jane Weiner and Dominic Walsh dreamed up The Illumination Project because they thought awareness of AIDS/HIV had dropped off the radar. “AIDS/HIV is the forgotten disease,” says Weiner. Walsh has a vision for the future. “My hopes for The Illumination Project are that it will grow and serve Houston and be on par with Chicago’s ‘Dance for Life’ which has raised over $2 million in its 13 years, ” states Walsh.
Now in its third year and bigger than ever, a star-studded evening is planned. Weiner has re-furbished her duet, Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear. “It’s about support, commitment to the support, and being there when the other is not looking,” states Weiner. Dominic Walsh and Mario Zambrano will perform in the duet, 2 and 1 for Mr. B., created by Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano in honor of George Balanchine. The work is set to an original composition by Luis Felipe Serrano and Alejandro Delgado.
Also on the program: A rare Houston appearance by Texas Ballet Theater in Ben Stevenson’s Vivaldi pas de deux, The Houston Ballet in Stevenson’s, Three Preludes, Allan Tibbitts in a vintage Doug Elkins work entitled Lil’ Prints, Suchu dancer and choreographer Daniel Adame, The Gay Men’s Chorus’ smaller ensemble, Vocalease, and Rob Bundy of Stages Repertory Theater.
All the artists have donated their services along with The Hobby Center. Proceeds of the event benefit Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative and Bering Omega Community Services. Weiner and Walsh acknowledge the support of Sixto Wagon (DiverseWorks hosted the first two “illuminations”), Ben Whittle of BFM Printing, and Michael Taormina at The Hobby Center for making it all possible.
It is estimated that 42 million people were infected with AIDS/HIV by the year 2002. The fight isn’t over. On a personal note, I am impressed that two artists who are knee deep in planning their own artistic endeavors have taken the time and effort to put this event together.
According to the City of Houston, Department of Health and Human Services, between 18,000 to 20,000 are estimated to be HIV-infected in Harris County and over 10,300 individuals have died of AIDS. Think for a minute, how many dances never got to be danced.
Learn more global facts about AIDS at www.unaids.org.
Learn more about Dominic Walsh Dance Theater’s January Concert at the Hobby, Contemporary Baroque at www.dwdt.org.
Learn more about Jane Weiner’s company Hope Stone at www.hopestoneinc.org.