|Mani has tuberculosis and HIV, which she got from her husband.
THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE, Gere has found
his worlds colliding in serendipitous ways. But to understand
his path, it’s easiest to start with his roots. He grew
up in North Syracuse, N.Y., the fourth of five children. His parents
loved to sing and dance and all five Gere children — his
older brother is actor Richard Gere — participated.
“I’ve been dancing my whole life,”
says Gere. “My parents were social dancers. They’d
take us to local restaurants, and we’d dance to everything.
We all had a love of the arts, and everyone pursued art in some
|Sushila, whose husband was a heroine user, is HIV
positive, but has not yet tested her four daughters
As a teen, he wanted to be a musician and majored
in piano perfor-mance at Oberlin College. “I took piano
very seriously until junior year, when I got tired of sitting
in the studio with 100 other pianists, all better than me.”
Gere switched majors and graduated with a degree in religion.
But before leaving school, he enrolled in a modern
dance class and fell in love with the joy of movement. He studied
ballet in Edinburgh during his senior year abroad, and after graduation
he moved to New York.
While taking dance composition classes at the Erick
Hawkins Studio, Gere gravitated towards more complicated rhythmic
dances. His teacher, Lucia Dlugoszewski, encouraged him to study
Indian dance and culture. While pondering this idea, Gere received
postcards from a friend who was teaching in Madurai, India. She
told him of an opening at the neighboring American College, and
“the next thing I knew, I was learning Tamil and heading
off to India.”
During his two-and-a-half years at The American
College Gere carved out a role as an arts presenter, reviving
the film society, Tamil choir, a theater group and other programs.
He also taught ethical studies, a combination of ethics and religion.
“It was definitely a formative experience,” he says.
“If not for that experience, I wouldn’t be so interested
In 1985, Gere moved to San Francisco and began
writing about the arts. At a time when most dance criticism focused
on European and American dance, Gere again gravitated to other
forms, and as co-chair of the International Dance Critics Association
he pushed for more coverage of non-Euro-American dance in newspapers