The choreographer had the crackling energy of someone who moves their body for a living, migrating towards his small audience (myself and the EP, basically) and speaking with verve about his personal dance philosophy: that he is less about dance as a discipline and more about the power of movement to give agency to the physical body that we all possess. During the rehearsal he kept touching on this point, that the actors should think less about assigning their gestures to the music and more about simply living in the movement as such.
The show was inspired when the playwright, Sarah Hall, came across a simple and startling statistic, released only a few years ago by the Center for Disease Control: if recent trends continue, 1 in 2 black gay men will contract HIV in their lifetimes. My jaw dropped when I heard this—fractions were never something I gloried in, but 1/2 is pretty easy to grasp. When talking to Alexandra about this, wondering how it could even be possible, I was immediately able to understand, being from Nebraska: the clinics that give out Truvada (the drug that effectively prevents HIV and has the potential, more or less, to eradicate the virus altogether, and which has led to a modern-day sexual revolution within the gay community) are few and far between, the politics of rural regions create a restrictive, tentative, and judgmental atmosphere, and everyone knows everyone else’s business either way, so forget about discretion.