Preview: Shut Up & Dance

The one-night-only event celebrates 20 years to benefit MANNA

This year, Shut Up & Dance, a one-night-only benefit performance for MANNA (March 24 at 8 p.m. at the Forrest Theatre), celebrates its 20th anniversary. When it got started, AIDS was ravaging the community and the dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet wanted to do something to raise awareness for the fight and in memory of many of their own lost friends. At the same time, MANNA had started as a nonprofit that delivered meals to people with HIV and AIDS throughout Philadelphia.

It was a natural pairing.

While the organization’s mission has expanded to encompass many other life-threatening illnesses, in part, because many people living with HIV and AIDS today are living longer, healthy lives, so does the performance evolve. This year, new dancers are working with many of the original founders of the event. Those involved both on stage and behind the scene tell us about what we can expect this year, why the event is still so significant to the dancers and how it helps one of Philly’s local charities keep its doors open.

Check it out: