Doing Dance

Why Use Dance for HIV/AIDS Education?

Dance of some form is present as an aspect of many cultures around the world. It usually refers to body movement used as a form of social interaction, expression, spiritual fulfillment, or performance. Dance can also be used as an effective HIV/AIDS prevention mechanism. If integrated into the community, it can provide much-needed extracurricular activities which can decrease the chances of getting involved in behaviours that increase the risk of contracting HIV. Dance can also be used as peer-to-peer education tool on HIV/AIDS issues.

Pros:

    ✓ Does not necessarily require language
    ✓ Can be easily integrated into other performances
    ✓ Culturally acceptable (if done in a style familiar to the region)
    ✓ Very expressive
    ✓ Requires few materials

Cons:

    x Meaning may be obscured/subject to a high level of interpretation
    x Does not raise the opportunity for discussion
    x May not be taken seriously (i.e. considered merely a form of entertainment)

How to Use Dance for HIV/AIDS Education

Dance can be used as part of forum theatre, street theatre, or hip hop performance. It can be integrated into puppetry or storytelling, or it can be used as a powerful form of expression in and of itself. While it depends largely on the goals of your group, it is recommended that dance be integrated as an aspect of some other style of performance for the purpose of HIV/AIDS education. This will not take away from dance as an art form; in fact, it can be the highlight of the performance, and it will allow the opportunity to clarify the message which may not be clear from watching a dance. One interesting way of marrying education with dance is to choreograph dances to HIV/AIDS-themed songs.

* See the How-To Guides on Music and Hip Hop for more details on song and music composition*

Dance should not just be viewed as a performance presented to an audience. It is also possible to use dance as a way to bring the community together in a fun, challenging and constructive way. A great deal of research has shown that being involved in an extra-curricular activity reduces the chances of falling into behaviours that increase chances of contracting HIV/AIDS.

*Tip* A great movie to watch to emphasize this way of doing dance is Mad Hot Ballroom.

Materials

  • Dance Instructor, preferably with knowledge of local as well as foreign dance styles
  • Music (Instruments and/or sound system)
  • Recording Equipment (if recording own music)
  • Area to Practice

Examples of Groups that have used Dance in HIV&AIDS Education

AIDS on Stage
http://www.aids2006.org/en/admin/images/upload/1016.pdf

AIDS on Stage is Viral Culture’s theatrical cabaret highlighting local, national and international artists from theatre, puppetry, improv, and dance to many other creative pursuits that enhance HIV/AIDS awareness and education through stage performances. It took place in Toronto in August 2006.

Mabogo Arts and Culture Productions
http://natavillage.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/03/about_mabogo_ar.html

Mabogo Arts and Culture Productions is an out-of-school and out-of-work youth group in Nata, Botswana that concentrates on HIV&AIDS Education. The youth perform songs, dances, and dramas that tell a story about HIV/AIDS.

Bibliography

http://youth.aids2006.org/files/Hip%20Hop%2017%20aug.doc
http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/MeetingAbstracts/102207129.html
http://www.thebody.com/index/aidsart/aidsart_dance.html
http://www.thebody.com/content/art/art30594.html
http://www.thebody.com/content/art/art30588.html
http://www.aids2006.org/en/admin/images/upload/1016.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance