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New York City Ballet (NYCB) dancers regularly participate in AIDS Walk New York, an annual walkathon that raises money for the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). The NYCB principals who have lead the ballet's response to AIDS include Heather Watts, Jock Soto, Robert La Fosse, Darci Kistler, and soloist Michael Byars. The New York team was among one of the first teams formed, and has raised substantial money for GMHC.

Watts relates that her involvement with AIDS causes began around six years ago, when she heard that a friend, David Cuevas of the American Ballet Theater, was sick. Cuevas received hot meals delivered to his home by the organization God's Love We Deliver during the last months of his life. In memory of his passing, Watts, Soto, and Watts's friend Frances Murdock, the director of a dance foundation, started working in the God's Love kitchen on Mondays, the dancer's day off. For about two years they helped deliver food and wash dishes. At that time God's Love was feeding more than a hundred people a day in a tiny church basement (Stein 12).

Watts later joined the board of God's Love We Deliver. In a 1993 article in Dance magazine she reported, "We are up to feeding six hundred and fifty people a day in all five boroughs and part of New Jersey. Each meal is hand-delivered by a volunteer. All of the AIDS organizations rely heavily on volunteers. We have fifteen hundred volunteers throughout our system" (Stein 12).

New York City Ballet dancers have also participated in fund-raising events that cash in on their celebrity status. In 1990 Watts and Soto were asked to help chair an auction at Southeby's to benefit God's Love. They also support Housing Works, an organization which finds housing for people with AIDS who are homeless. Watts and Soto continue to get calls for help all the time. "Once you get a reputation, everyone calls you," Watts has said. She goes on to say that "This is what matters to me now. ...

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AIDS Must Be SAID. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:43, December 01, 2015, from
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