WHILE MANY remember the '80s as a time of fat living and high times, others recall the tragic toll taken by AIDS in those years before knowledge about the illness became widespread. Several local dance teachers and performers died as the disease swept through the arts community, and their loss is still felt by their colleagues. This weekend, a group of their students -- some of them now leading their own companies -- commemorates them in two evenings of performances at Joy of Motion.
Titled "Mostly Men," the programs feature choreographers Juan Carlos Rincones of DC Dance Theater; Tony Powell, head of his Music & Movement ensemble; Adrain Bolton of Adrain Bolton Dancers; and Douglas Yeuell, director of Joy of Motion Dance Center, among others. All were taught, mentored or otherwise inspired by artists such as Jack Guidone (for whom Joy of Motion's performance space is named), Jimmy Thurston and Jason Taylor of the Duke Ellington High School for the Arts and choreographer Gene Hill Sagan.
"It's really a commemoration for the ones who trained us," says Miya Hisaka Silva, who coordinated the weekend programs. Back in the '80s she ran DC Contemporary Dance Theater and suffered the losses of several members to AIDS.
"It was really a horrifying time for institutions like mine, because we were almost wiped out," she says. "It was a time when memorial services were more frequent than my dance performances. And we were all family; you couldn't really recover."
Hisaka Silva, who now runs El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea de El Salvador, says "Mostly Men" pays tribute to a time of unparalleled artistic energy in the area, led largely by those dancers who didn't live to see the fruits of their efforts.
"We really want to educate the young talent today and the public on who these people were," she says. "They really influenced dance in this city."
MOSTLY MEN -- Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Joy of Motion Jack Guidone Theater, 5207 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $20. Call 202/362-3042.