Courtney, 14, Apprentice Corporation
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?
“I knew a little about it because one of my cousins had HIV, but we don’t really learn about it at school.”
What have you learned during the process of making Getting to Zero?
“It wasn’t hard to talk about because we felt comfortable with each other. We started with the basics, what it is, how you can prevent it. I was surprised to learn that Atlanta is a top place for HIV/AIDS. Another thing is that many people don’t realize about HIV is that just because it’s not noticeable doesn’t mean it’s not there.”
How can a dance like Getting to Zero teach young people about HIV and AIDS prevention?
“We can inform teens (13-24) about how to prevent HIV/AIDS and stay safe. There are different parts of the dance that deal with things like judgment, abstinence, and unity. We perform it in a funny way that also informs people.”
What was the creative process like?
“We did bonding exercises, we had to come up with poems and created movement to go with certain words.”
What’s it like to work with Moving in the Spirit co-founder Leah Mann?
“Miss Leah was fun! Working with her was like being with a twin.”
Tell me why you enjoy the process of choreography and what you are learning from it.
“The process helped me grow relationships with my peers and I learned that I’m like Miss Leah: I’m creative, really loud, intricate, and I work well with others.”
Tell me more about the personal skills you develop through dance at Moving in the Spirit.
“I learned to be calm in raging circumstances. Sometimes I had to take charge to get things done, so that helped me work on my leadership. I had to work with new people and also learn how to let other people be leaders.”
What are the important messages you are sending through Getting to Zero?
“One message is that teens need to be responsible and respectful of their bodies. I also think that teens specifically telling other teens will make them listen.”