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"For where your treasure is, there
your heart will be also."
The JASPER Ballet is a nonprofit ballet
company dedicated to helping fight
the battle against AIDS. The ballet company was founded in 1995 in memory
of Alan Golden, and is named for Alans dog, Jasper. JASPER is also an
acronym for Just for AIDS Support, Perpetual Care, Education and Research.
The JASPER Ballet is comprised of all volunteers. The company is a Rhode
Island based 501(c)(3) organization working diligently to give moral and
monetary support to those whose lives have been touched by HIV and AIDS.
The company resides at The Jasper School of Dance.
Headed by Arlene Gilbert, Founding Director and Artistic Advisor, and
Ann-Marie Normandin, Artistic Director, this troupe of young dancers bonded
their talents in 1995 and 1996 to present "Moments to Remember " in
observance of World AIDS Day. These moving presentations included
inspirational and spiritual dance works, guest speakers from the clergy and
various AIDS organizations, a display of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial
Quilt, and a tribute to those who lost their lives to the virus with a memorial
reading of names. Since 1997, the companys performances have been in
conjunction with other organizations that compliment The JASPER
purposes, while at the same time continuing to engage in its own
The JASPER Ballet works to break through the blame and prejudice associated
with HIV and AIDS. The companys goals are widespread. They include creating
an atmosphere of love and support; remembering those lost to the virus; bringing
comfort to those who mourn; extending emotional support to those living with the
virus; increasing awareness in the community, especially in the children; and
raising funds for various AIDS organizations ...... using the art of
dance as its vehicle.
In November of 1995, The JASPER Ballet premiered at Rhode Island College,
and has since disbursed over $11,000 in contributions to AIDS organizations. As
part of its initial fundraising campaign, the company raised $1600 in raffle sales
for a pair of white satin pointe shoes personally signed, in support of the
companys goals, by actress Elizabeth Taylor.
Recipients of The JASPER Ballet proceeds include RI Project/AIDS; Amfar (the
American Foundation for AIDS Research); The National Chapter of the NAMES
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt; The RI Chapter of the NAMES Project AIDS
Memorial Quilt; House of Compassion; Hospice Care; and F.A.C.T.S. (Family
AIDS Center for Treatment & Support).
The company has performed for the AIDS Seder of Hope, sponsored by the AIDS
Task Force of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island; the AIDS Walk for Life;
the House of Compassion; Dance for Hope; and for "For the Children, By the
Children" to benefit F.A.C.T.S. House.
The JASPER Ballet was honored by the city of Woonsocket in April of 1998.
The city buried a time capsule filled with company memorabilia to be
retrieved April 17, 2023.
|A group of young dancers
With one goal we share
To raise AIDS awareness
And bring comfort and care.
We want to touch lives
Send a message that's true
To pray for a cure
Is not all we can do.
We dance from our hearts
We send sympathy and hope
So people will understand
And victims can cope.
To those who are dying
To those AIDS may touch
You are not forgotten
And you're loved very much.
When the odds are against us
And the world may seem cruel
We will fight even harder
Using dance as our tool.
This is what we stand for
Wearing the red ribbon with pride
So that victims and families
May heal deep inside.
So until there's a cure
Until that fine day
We will never give up
We're The JASPER Ballet.
by Tina LaPlante
If you would like to
make a contribution to The JASPER Ballet,
please send a check to:
The JASPER Ballet
Att: Meaghan Bruneault, Treasurer
c/o The Jasper School of Dance
3344 Mendon Road
Cumberland, RI 02864