Proceeds of benefit will go to AIDS

By Talesha Herbert

“In your face,” dancer and choreographer Joseph Alexander said.

The School of Theater Arts presented the 6th Annual 2001 Art For Life Concert, an AIDS benefit, on Oct. 12 and 13 in the music building’s Boutell Hall.

Alexander, a political science major and dance minor, was one of many students who came out to support the AIDS benefit. “The Miseducation of…” was one of Alexander’s choreographed pieces about a member of the Ku Klux Klan who realizes what he is doing is wrong.

Sophomore dance major Michelle Preston played the part of the Klan member. The dance consisted of two movements. The first movement portrayed the Klan member fighting a battle and in the second movement, the soldier suddenly realized what he was doing was wrong.

“Dance can also be used to raise your social conscience about things, to address an issue like that is not pretty but it is something that needs to be addressed,” Alexander said. “People are afraid to put things on stage because they don’t want to be politically incorrect. ‘The Miseducation of…’ was meant to grab your attention, to wake people up to what is happening now.”

Other dancers shared their talents as well.

“If you don’t use it, you will lose it,” said KoKo Burruss, a sophomore who opened the floor with “Bringing In The Rhythm Of The Feet.” Her opening act began with Kenny Catimore’s “Days Like This.”

Burruss, also known as “Tapsicles,” has been dancing since the age of three.

Her extensive dance background in tap, ballet, jazz and African started in Chicago’s Mayfair Academy.

Burruss has tapped with Jimmy Payne Jr., the son of the legendary tap dancer Jimmy Payne. She also has danced at two tap camps in St. Louis with the well-known tap dancer Savion Glover.

“Participating in the Art For Life Concert has given me the opportunity to continue to dance and to share my love of dance,” she said.

Although Burruss is a psychology major, as well as an honor student, she has a dream to teach her own tap class one day.

Randall Newsom, coordinator of Northern Dance Theater, also appeared at the benefit to support those who have AIDS. He helped faculty members and students put on a good show.

“All proceeds go to the Dance For Life Fund in Chicago, an AIDS organization,” Newsom said.

Karen Williamson, a well-known NDT teacher, supported the benefit as well.

“The majority of my students are participating in the show,” she said.

Williamson has been a faculty member at NIU for three years.

The show went out with a bang as a group of dancers danced to Janet Jackson’s “If You’re Nasty.”

Rosalind Rodgers, who has been dancing since the third grade, participated in the concert for the first time.

“I enjoy dancing and have also participated in the promotion of the Art For Life Concert in the commons area on Wednesday and Thursday of this week,” she said. “I had fun tap dancing and improving in the commons area.”

Many students said they are looking forward to participating again next year.