Julia, 16, Apprentice Corporation dancer
Tayvion, 16, Apprentice Corporation dancer
Getting to Zero, a new dance, is part of an exciting partnership, funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation and conceived by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, to educate Atlanta’s youth about the rise in HIV/AIDS diagnoses in young people, aged 13-24. Moving in the Spirit and project partner VOX Teen Communications have used the funding to develop innovative teen programming that will be presented on December 5th.
Before you started working on Getting to Zero, what did you know about HIV or AIDS?
Julia: I knew it was a problem, but didn’t know it was a huge one in Atlanta.
Tayvion: I didn’t know it was a problem among teens.
How can a dance like Getting to Zero teach young people about HIV and AIDS prevention?
Julia: Some teens have sex and they don’t want to tell anyone, but maybe now they’ll talk with their friends. I think the piece will scare them into action.
Tayvion: If they heard a story about someone affected, they’ll be more likely to act. I think it will teach them to be more careful and cautious.
Tell me why you enjoy the process of choreography and what you are learning from it.
Julia: The process made me know what I was talking about, helped me understand.
Tayvion: I like the stepping part, we’re basically sending the message that it’s a “no” if you don’t protect yourself.
Julia: The partnerwork we do shows that it’s safe to touch someone with HIV/AIDS. They teach us about AIDS in school, but we only learn it for a grade, not for life. It applies in real life, though.
Tayvion: But we’ll remember from this experience; we learned through talking with each other.
What’s it like to work with Leah Mann?
Tayvion: Leah is exciting and full of energy. She makes you want it put in as much effort as she does.
What are the important messages you are sending through Getting to Zero?
Julia: It can happen to anyone.
Tayvion: People make mistakes that can cause changes for their whole lives. We shouldn’t judge or stereotype.