Today, on World AIDS Day, people across the globe will raise HIV/AIDS awareness with events, discussions, and more. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of ways you can get involved in your own country or your own community. To mark the day, I’d like to highlight Dancers Responding to AIDS, a U.S.-based organization offering opportunities for dancers to make a difference in the lives of other dancers and performing artists, and invite you to support me in raising money to advance their efforts.
What Is Dancers Responding to AIDS?
Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA) is a fundraising program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA). Founded in June 1991 by former Paul Taylor dancers Hernando Cortez and Denise Roberts Hurlin, DRA seeks to mobilize the dance community, increase awareness, and raise money to provide direct financial assistance and desperately needed services to dance professionals with HIV/AIDS. The funds raised go specifically to individuals in need and the organizations that serve them.
DRA raises these important funds by producing events and conducting audience appeals in New York City and beyond. Special projects include the annual Fire Island Dance Festival, Dance From the Heart and Dance Student Outreach Project (formerly DRA Studio of the Year), which enables thousands of young dancers to actively involve themselves in helping those living with HIV/AIDS.
DRA fundraising efforts support BC/EFA which annually awards nearly 500 AIDS and family service organizations through their National Grant Program, as well as supports various programs of The Actors Fund, including The AIDS Initiative. If you’d like to know more about the various programs DRA and BC/EFA support, visit Your Money At Work on the Broadway Cares website and explore the links to the left.
World AIDS week kicks off with World AIDS Day and lasts through December 7, 2009.
If you are a studio who wants to help raise money for Dancers Responding to AIDS, consider following the lead of Mark Morris Dance Group, Broadway Dance Center and STEPS on Broadway – these dance institutions and their instructors will donate a percentage from all dance classes this week to the work of Dancers Responding to AIDS.
Consider ways you might join them in raising funds this week…
- Place a container at your sign in desk for loose change.
- Create a raffle, giving students the opportunity to win credit toward private lessons, recital fees, or scholarships.
- Make “Dancer Votes” for students to sell for $1. The dancer that collects the most votes wins a prize (a gift card or perhaps studio merchandise like a dance bag or jacket).
- Audience appeals (pdf)
- Hold a Spaghetti Dinner or Pancake Breakfast prepared by dancers (invite people from the community and charge per person).
- Offer Valet Parking at your recital (get parents and friends involved).
- Collect gently used shoes and costumes for resale at a studio bazaar/market.
- Sell VIP or “Front Row” tickets at your next performance.
- Call DRA and locate AIDS organizations in your area and work together on some promotional or fundraising ideas.
Take Action Now
FIRST — Read and take to heart these 5 ways you can Respect & Protect yourself and others to stop the spread of HIV and end HIV prejudice.
SECOND — Join me in responding to the needs of dancers living with HIV/AIDS and sponsor me as I try to raise $300 for Dancers Responding to AIDS as a member of the DRA Dream Team. It’s easy, visit my sponsor page, click Support Nichelle and donate! You can also join my team and help me reach my goal by collecting your own donations!
Create your own Dream Team! Start your own studio Dream Team, set a goal, and begin right away!
If you are a fan of this dynamic performer, pull up a computer and check out her streaming concert. One Night. One Voice. One Life at a Time. 8pm E.S.T.
Not in the U.S.?
How will you mark World AIDS Day? Let us know in the comments for this post!
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.