"DanceArt" comes very close to being "DanceHeart," and that's no coincidence, when you consider the altruistic purposes this fledgling organization hopes to fulfill at the University of Utah.
Organized by Thomas Warfield and sponsored by the Associated Students of the U., the group will give concerts on campus on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., in the courtyard between the Behavioral Science building and the Utah Fine Arts Museum.Admission is free, but donations will be accepted eagerly for the benefit of Romanian orphans, and every dollar is guaranteed to be spent on medical supplies. "The event needs to be free, because we are after not just money, but raising consciousness," said Warfield.
"We are working through World Vision, a non-profit organization similar to Unicef. Their project called ROSES (Romanian Orphans Social & Educational Support) enables us to guarantee that any funds raised will go directly to the needy children."
Romanian orphans; a far-afield cause for Utahns, one might suppose, but not so after you talk to Warfield, who takes a world-encompassing view.
"DanceArt is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to use the arts in a way to further human understanding," he said. "Our first project happens to be the Romanian orphans, because I was touched by a feature about them on `20/20' ABC News. I contacted the people at `20/20' and suggested they might like to do a follow-up story of our group. They sent a letter of support to us and said if we could get a professional video of good quality, they might show some of it."
In case you missed the `20/20' story or other information, the shocking facts are that approximately 100,000 children up to 18 years of age are in orphanages and institutions for the handicapped in Romania - 78 institutions, with one worker assigned to 27 children.
And 10 percent of the 8,000 children under the age of 3 have AIDS, with more cases being discovered daily. The virus was transmitted through unscreened blood transfusions to boost nutrition and by the use of unsterilized needles.
Why so many orphans in a country of 23 million? In 1966, when Nicolae Ceausescu came to power, he declared that in order to enlarge the work force, every woman under the age of 45 must produce four children. No contraception or abortion were allowed, and mandatory pregnancy tests were required of factory workers. Just before his overthrow he increased the number of children to five.
However, his harsh economic measures made it impossible for families to support their children, so many were abandoned - waifs caught in the storm of Ceausescu's misdeeds.
Anticipating such a group as
DanceArt last spring, Warfield, a graduate student seeking a master's in dance, "pulled together some people that I know," he said. "Most of them are dancers (not just modern dancers, but ballet as well), but we have people from other fields - a psychology major, a sociology major. I hope this will not become a dance company per se, but will bring people of different walks together."
Nor will DanceArt's function only in humanitarian causes. "Next time we may support something totally utilitarian," said Warfield.
Jerry Ziegler's 10-foot chimes will be hanging in front of the museum for the program. Guest artists Zivio Ethnic Dance Ensemble and Kathryn St. John, a Middle Eastern dancer, will also entertain.
Warfield continues to work on his "Global Poem in Praise of Peace" and says responses are multiplying and he expects to put a cap on the project within a year. "I have had little poems since we last talked from Mother Teresa, Leonard Bernstein, Pres. Oscar Arias Sanchez of Costa Rica, dancers Bella Lewitsky and Meredith Monk, and Leo Buscaglia, to name a few," he said. "Also from poets in China, a Nicaraguan soldier, and a note from the Pope, who doesn't write poetry but wished me well. The United Nations Press will publish the poem when it is completed."
Warfield feels that his talents as a dancer, singer and writer are all interconnected, and he suggests an intriguing personal philosophy.
"You should go into the unknown to find the other things you didn't think you were," he said. "Life gives us this opportunity. We must sacrifice what we believe we know to actually find out what it is we believe. I don't believe in comfort. Each day we should make our imagination alive. Life is a celebration of the moment, and the beauty that surrounds us is the beauty that is within us."