PRINCETON, NJ – Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have announced the launch of the 2011 REYATAZ® (atazanavir sulfate) "Fight HIV Your Way" contest. The contest aims to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among the general public and inspire people impacted by the disease to continue their fight.
Now in its third year, the 2011 REYATAZ "Fight HIV Your Way" contest breaks new ground, incorporating the power of dance to celebrate the inspiring stories of selected individuals across the country who are fighting HIV their way. Beginning December 1, 2010 through February 28, 2011, individuals touched by HIV and AIDS are invited to share their stories – as a photo and essay – through www.fightHIVyourway.com or mail in their entries*. Bristol-Myers Squibb will announce the ten first place winners in July 2011. These winning entries will be the inspiration for a new dance by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, created by a renowned choreographer selected by Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle. The work will have its world premiere during Ailey's New York City Center season in December 2011 and be performed across the country as part of a 2012 national tour.
Despite HIV/AIDS education efforts, there are still more than one million people with HIV in the U.S. (1) and the most recent data from 2006 indicate that approximately 56,300 new infections occur each year in the U.S. alone. (2) The REYATAZ "Fight HIV Your Way" contest leverages the power of words and visual arts as a platform to raise public awareness and lessen the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS.
"Today, as we open Ailey's New York season celebrating 50 years of Alvin Ailey's inspiring Revelations and announce the launch of the Reyataz 'Fight HIV Your Way' contest, the poignancy of this date couldn't be stronger: we lost our founder, Alvin Ailey, to the disease 21 years ago on December 1st, 1989," shared Artistic Director Judith Jamison. "Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is proud to be paying homage to the thousands of individuals fighting HIV their way and look forward to unveiling this original collaboration next year."
"Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater both have longstanding commitments to supporting the fight against HIV and AIDS. We are honored to collaborate with Ms. Jamison and The Ailey Organization, coming together and helping to continue dialogue about this disease," said Raymond Sacchetti, senior vice president, U.S. Virology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "The 2011 extension and evolution of the REYATAZ 'Fight HIV Your Way' contest exemplifies Bristol-Myers Squibb's ongoing commitment to increasing public awareness for people with HIV/AIDS."
An expert panel of judges will evaluate the contest entries based on the impact of the photographs' and essays' visual and verbal expression of the fight against HIV, creativity, originality and overall artistic quality.
"Dance is a transformational visual art that has the unique power to unite diverse audiences," said original Broadway Dreamgirl Sheryl Lee Ralph, a spokesperson for the National Minority AIDS Council and creator and producer of the HIV-inspired, awardwinning Broadway shows Divas Simply Singing! and Sometimes I Cry. "Bristol-Myers Squibb's REYATAZ 'Fight HIV Your Way' contest provides people with a channel to express how they fight HIV their way. This year, with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's involvement, the photos and essays will, literally, move – and continue to provide courage and strength for others with HIV."
About the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recognized by U.S. Congressional resolution as a vital American "Cultural Ambassador to the World," grew from a now fabled 1958 New York performance that changed American dance. Now led by Judith Jamison, joined by artistic director designate Robert Battle, the Company has performed for an estimated 23 million people in 71 countries on 6 continents, including two historic residencies in South Africa, celebrating the African-American cultural experience and the American modern dance tradition. The Ailey Organization also includes; Ailey II (1974), a second company of young dancers and choreographers; The Ailey School (1969), extensive dance training programs; Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs, bringing dance into classrooms and communities; and The Ailey Extension, dance and fitness classes for the general public at Ailey's home - The Joan Weill Center for Dance in New York City – the nation's largest building for dance.