I?m in the Chronicle today with a book review of David Gere?s How to Make Dances in an Epidemic: Tracking Choreography in the Age of AIDS?:

?In 1990, “one AIDS death” (the reality, not the performance) was occurring every 10 minutes, and HIV was taking a lasting toll on the dance world. As a gay man and as a former dance critic for this and many other Bay Area publications, Gere found himself in the midst of devastation and its artistic aftermath. The “choreographic response” as defined by Gere, now an associate professor at UCLA, took many guises: ACT UP demonstrations, AIDS quilt unfurlings, and yes, proscenium stage dances. Gere trains his sharp eye on all of these, and though his methodology is academic, his voice is personal, impassioned and sometimes pointedly provocative.

Gere takes a Brechtian stance on the line between art and politics, and his viewpoint is unabashedly activist. Dance critics, as his introduction explains, have been reluctant to analyze homosexual themes in dance. If Gere’s own interpretations sometimes push this issue to a graphic and reductionist extreme, his descriptions are usually keen and engrossing.?

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