Bodies of Light 1997

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Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin

A community response to the AIDS Pandemic. Our support and acceptance of each other in all our diversity provides power and visibility. Novemebr 30 (Eve of World AIDS Day)

Funded by the Australian Federation of Aids Organisations Bodies of Light was a look into a community’s response to the AIDS Pandemic. With much negative press around, and many people having died, it was important to link with organisations such as Corrugated iron Youth Theatre, AIDS organisations, Gay and Lesbian support services and the general community. This project was aimed at specific community groups (young gay men, queer artists), which has a difficulty in having their voice heard.

We explored many ideas around body image, the lived in body experience, and the embodiment of oppression such as: What are the beautiful parts of our body? How do we get our ideas of beauty? How does the media affect these notions? How does the body influence my sense of self? What is my body for? In what ways do I allow myself to be manipulated due to my body image?

Director’s Notes - David McMicken

Bodies of Light developed from issues surrounding HIV and AIDS: how do we respond to this as a community? Young gay men have difficulty negotiating relationships in an environment that does little to support their choices. Living in isolated, regional and rural conditions adds to this problem. How do we learn to respect ourselves and love others? Who are our role models? How do we increase self-esteem and make safe and confident decisions? Most of us by now have been affected by this virus; directly, through family, through friends. It is the entire community’s responsibility to deal with these issues, to confront and combat the serious dilemmas these young people have to face. Your attendance at this performance is a sign of your support and I sincerely thank you for this. I also give my heart felt thanks to the team of artists, performers, technicians and volunteers who have given their time and ideas so generously. I am truly blessed by the support of my community. Together we will see this pandemic through.

*A message from Jan Holt, Education Officer, Northern Territory AIDS Council Inc

Living in a World with AIDS has challenged greatly the lives of gay men. We have changed our sexual behaviours, we have come out, we have educated each other and we have cared for our brothers and sisters who have been affected by this illness. We have accomplished much in our lives.
Many of those accomplishments have been achieved because we know that we are not alone on our journey, many are sharing that same journey. It is our right to choose whom we love and whom we share our intimacy with and to construct our lives in a way that is comfortable and fulfilling for us.
The AIDS Crisis is not over, even though we wish it were. There is no place for complacency. Transmission prevention is a shared responsibility.
Tonight’s performance makes visible the stories of the lives of men who love each other. Our support and acceptance of each other in all our diversity provides power and visibility as to who we are.

Creative Personnel

Director, Choreographer: David McMicken
Music: David Pratt (Space Ace)
Design: Tim Newth
Lighting Design: Vanessa Hutchins
Additional Choreography: Gary Lang
Drag Performer: Liberty Lee (Lenny Noda)
Other performances by a very special men’s group, the Darwin Dance Mob, and The Grey Panthers

Performers

Darwin Dance Mob:
Liz Pearse, Daniel Cunningham, Sara Scrutton, Sarah McAlpine, Gordon Roberts, Margot Ford, Lucy Murrell, Shane Riley, Stephanie Simms, Moira Stronach, Catherine Gault, Matthew Applewhite, Gary Lang
Podium Dancers:
Karen Challenger, David McMicken
The Grey Panthers:
Audrey Svara, Hanna Stamm, Greta Quong, Glad Morris, Audrey Gorring, Adie Bruce, Kay Brown, Kath Baldwin, Del Cooke, Jo Davis, Jan Everingham, Mavis Waddell, & Mary Ehn
Men:
Stephen Carleton, Daniel Cunningham, Gary Lang, David McMicken, Tim Newth, Peter Sparkman (Sparkie), Michael Thomas, David Taylor, Justin Pradier, Stewart Edwards, Shane Riley,  Matthew Applewhite

Scenario

The Blood Stream: Audience enters the performance space; a virus entering the blood stream. We will all be changed by this. Music: Space Ace

Candles: The candlelight vigil is a well known AIDS Memorial activity. We keep a light burning for those who have been taken from us, we will never forget.
Music: Space Ace. Performers: Darwin Dance Mob

Quilts: Squares of fabric hold cherished memories. The dancers perform sequences representing positive aspects of themselves. A living memorial.
Music: Space Ace. Performers: Darwin Dance Mob, Podium Dancers

Old Bury The Young: Support for young adults often comes from their grandparents generation, rather than parents. These women are wise and accepting. Love and loss are not new to them.
Music: Milk: Rabbit in the Moon. Performers: The Grey Panthers, Men

The Kiss: The tenderness of touch, of love. We are strong in our relationships.
Music: Number Three (Gymnopodie): E. Satie
Choreography: Gary Lang. Performers: Gary Lang, David McMicken

Why: Our own voices will be heard. We have the right to express our own sense of identity and culture. Our confidence in our own sense of self and belonging gives us the strength to negotiate our way in this world
Music: Why sung by Randy Crawford. Additional sound: Liberty Lee, Space Ace
Performers: Liberty Lee, Gary Lang, David McMicken

Bodies of Light: We must feed our own light and allow it to show; only when we are confident in our own sense of self and belonging can we have the strength to negotiate our way in this world. Music: Space Ace, Performers: Men

Tracks Dance 1997

Co-Artistic Directors: Sarah Calver, David McMicken, Tim Newth
Administrator: Liann Stevenson

[Under Brown's Mart Community Arts – Executive Officer Ken Conway]

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