The response of the dance community in the U.S. to the AIDS crisis has been unique in making little or no distinction between those with and without HIV. Essentially, any choreographer who makes a piece about HIV/AIDS takes on the stigma of AIDS while working toward neutralizing it. Thus, this is not a list of choreographers with AIDS. Instead, it is a list of choreographers who have participated in larger communities of choreographic concern about AIDS. Choreographers who died of AIDS are included, as are openly HIV-positive choreographers and HIV-negative choreographers who have made works on the subject of AIDS.
                                                 David Gere (continue to Introduction)

With funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Estate Project of the Alliance for the Arts has identified choreographers with AIDS, living and deceased, in the dance centers of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The catalogue also identifies dance works created in response to the AIDS crisis, documents work created by choreographers with AIDS and makes recommendations for preservation. Biographical and contact information for these choreographers is included.

The Estate Project developed the Dance Archive in collaboration with the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Additional funding for the Estate Project's dance preservation work has been provided by the George Balanchine Trust, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Howard Gilman Foundation and Jerome Robbins Foundation. David Gere, a dance scholar in the Department of World Arts and Culture at the University of California—Los Angeles, is the director of this project.

Please note that this Web site is under construction. We appreciate your patience as we work to provide complete entries and accurate information for the choreographers in the Dance Archive Catalogue. Please send responses to Peter Carpenter at

by David Gere

In 1980, John Bernd and Tim Miller inaugurated a series of dance-based performances called Live Boys, a multimedia chronicle of their evolving gay relationship. In the April 1981 installment of the piece, performed at Hallwalls in Buffalo, New York, Bernd offered what must at the time have seemed a distantly metaphoric narrative.

"When I met Tim, I had all these things wrong with my skin," Bernd monotoned, kneeling at center stage and shrugging shirtsleeves up his lanky forearms. "About a week before I met him, I had a fungus on my skin, I had psoriasis where the fungus was, I had psoriasis on my scalp, I got poison ivy, and I was very depressed...I had to walk around with bandages on my wrists. And I looked like I had tried to kill myself."

When Tim Miller unearthed the video documentation for Live Boys and viewed it again recently, after nearly twenty years, he was understandably taken aback by Bernd's prescient monologue, a monologue that, in retrospect, sharply foreshadows the AIDS epidemic.

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index of choreographers »