GA Voice - - Out­spo­ken -

For Wil­born, it was a chance to re­flect on what he refers to as “a dou­ble-edged ex­pe­ri­ence.” He’s quick to point out that work­ing with Madonna was “phe­nom­e­nal,” be­cause “she is the kind of artist who is so solid in her own power, that she re­ally en­cour­ages other artists to bring ev­ery­thing out of them.”

He points specif­i­cally to the per­for­mance of “Oh Fa­ther,” which found him work­ing with Madonna as more than a dancer.

“When we were putting that to­gether, she and I got to work as com­rade ac­tors and talk about it as a scene, and where we were com­ing from in re­gards to be­ing char­ac­ters, not just do­ing a dance thing. So that was this great cre­ative union for me, and the fact that she sup­ported me with that, and we got to re­ally just have such a fea­tured mo­ment to cap­i­tal­ize on all of our skills in that kind of way was quite cool.”

Hid­ing HIV sta­tus on tour

At the same time, Wil­born was keep­ing a se-

Septem­ber 16, 2016 ‘Strike A Pose’

cret from Madonna and his fel­low dancers: he had been di­ag­nosed as HIV-pos­i­tive in 1985.

“By the time I got to her in 1990, I was clearly deal­ing with that, and I was in such shame about that. So I was hid­ing all of that through­out that tour, and the sec­ond tour that I did, be­cause I got in­vited back to do The Girlie Show. I wish I had been freer in my soul at the time to re­ally rel­ish in it, but I wasn’t.”

With “Strike a Pose,” Wil­born is tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to open up about his HIV sta­tus to the world. While he may wish he had felt more free to talk about his sta­tus years ago, he’s floored by the re­sponse he’s re­ceived.

“Ev­ery­body’s got a jour­ney. This thing is spe­cific to ev­ery­one. And I say ‘thing,’ be­cause one of the amaz­ing things about this year with ‘Strike a Pose’ that I never saw com­ing is the fact that, the ex­act same thing that I thought would ab­so­lutely marginal­ize my life – that in­for­ma­tion, my di­ag­no­sis, it be­ing pub­lic, the way peo­ple per­ceive me in the in­dus­try – is the ex­act in­for­ma­tion that’s get­ting me to be cel­e­brated at a level I’ve never had in my en­tire ca­reer. That’s in­cred­i­ble irony. It’s im­por­tant for ev­ery­one to re­al­ize that their own jour­ney is sup­posed to be its dis­tinct tes­ti­mo­nial for some­body and for a crit­i­cal time in this place called Earth. Mine was sup­posed to be with­held, the way that it was, for as long as it was, so that the im­pact of my con­ver­sa­tion would have a res­o­nance into the right heart and the right soul to­day.”

‘None of us saw this com­ing’

If the mak­ing of “Strike a Pose” has taught Wil­born any­thing, it’s to keep a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude about life, even dur­ing trou­bling times.

“Re­ally be care­ful how far you as­sess what is hap­pen­ing in your life,” Wil­born says. “‘Strike a Pose’ came about as the re­sult of two peo­ple – our amaz­ing di­rec­tors, Rei­jer Zwaan and Ester Gould – reach­ing out and say­ing, ‘We’ve been fol­low­ing you for seven years, un­be­knownst to you,’ mean­ing they’ve been strate­giz­ing to do some­thing of good that would el­e­vate me and my life.

“It didn’t just hap­pen for me as one per­son. This jumped off for seven hu­man be­ings in the world – me and all the other guys. None of us saw this com­ing, but the same ac­tiv­ity was hap­pen­ing in the shad­ows, so to speak, and here we are to­day. So the mes­sage is: stay hope­ful, stay know­ing, stay declar­ing – even in the midst of a storm – that good is hap­pen­ing for me. That the uni­verse is work­ing for me. That God has good for me. And just be in the won­der of it.”

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