Theresa Wilitz, the culture editor at The Root and a former professional dancer, has a great piece about watching her friends die in the ’80s and ’90s from AIDS.
What I didn’t know, as I was watching, was that my roommates, Darryl and Gary, were keeping a secret from me: They had just discovered that they were both HIV positive. Gary got sick, again and again and again, but somehow made it through. Today he is alive and thriving and running a dance company.
Darryl –funny, sweet, smart, cranky, outrageously talented — was dead within the decade.
This was the theme of my young adulthood: Losing men that I loved as brothers, men that I worked with, argued with, shared dressing rooms with, sweated with, performed with, united in our obsession over our one great love—dance.
Not so long ago, I was chatting with a friend who is a dance critic. We talked about all the talented dancers and choreographers folks who’d been lost to AIDS. As she saw it, there is a void in dance choreography because so many young men didn’t make it out of the plague. AIDS was –and still is—a thief of youth. And talent. I can’t help but wonder what if. What if there were no AIDS? What if they’d all lived?
Also, check out Chris Macdonald-Dennis’s tweets about how he contracted the virus, and how he has lived with it since. (hashtag: #livingwithhiv)
A little late for World AIDS Day, but definitely worth checking out.