A powerful piece of dance theater currently headed across the United States on a 20-city tour is honoring the lives and stories of those lost to HIV/AIDS epidemic.
THE MISSING GENERATION is an emotionally intense showcase that remembers a generation decimated by the AIDS crisis while hoping to offer healing to those in attendance. Performed by a company made entirely of queer- and trans- identified individuals, the program involves oral interviews with survivors of from the early days of the epidemic interweaved with the dancing of the company members.
We caught up with Sean Dorsey, the visionary behind THE MISSING GENERATION, to learn more about what inspired the tour, what he hopes audiences take away from seeing the piece and more.
The Huffington Post: What inspired you to create THE MISSING GENERATION?
Sean Dorsey: Our culture has turned its back on the early AIDS epidemic -- along with its survivors. People who lived through that horrific time have had to lock away unthinkable grief, mass death and profound loss. This show invites us all to attune ourselves to, and lovingly witness and hold, these survivors.
As a transgender artist, I am also passionate about bringing forward trans experiences of the early AIDS epidemic. Most non-trans people don't know that trans women's communities -- especially trans women of color -- were decimated by the early epidemic. These voices are especially important to me.
During my lifetime, we will see the passing of the last witnesses/survivors of the early AIDS epidemic. With their passing, we lose knowledge and information about one of the most important periods of American history. We must fight hard, work hard, love hard to embrace, acknowledge, listen to and record these stories before they are gone forever.
We all benefit from learning from the heart, compassion, strength, resourcefulness, resilience and activism of that period.
What do you want people to take away from THE MISSING GENERATION?
THE MISSING GENERATION speaks as powerfully to the longtime survivors as it does to the teen who doesn't know anything about AIDS history. This is because the show is ultimately about larger themes we can all relate to: grief, loss, isolation, self-exploration, love, unity, healing.
THE MISSING GENERATION cracks our heart open: we MUST revisit our grief in order to begin to heal from it. So there are tears and heartbreak in the show, and then there is the invitation into healing. People take away a profound sense of connection, feel inspired about how we can lift each other up and out of heartbreak.
This project has been life-changing for many who have been touched by it -- including me. I have been forever changed by this generation who fought and loved and lost in the trenches. THE MISSING GENERATION reminds us that we have ALL been changed forever by this remarkable generation.
And we are lucky enough that some of that generation survived. Come hear and see their stories, danced.
The next stop on the MISSING GENERATION tour is in San Francisco on May 5-7. For a full list of tour dates and more info about the tour, head here.