When Steven Wilson moved to Washington in 2008 because his husband, Brandon Wilson, got a job in the area, the 28-year-old dancer and choreographer decided to re-launch his Oasis Dance Company here.
It’s evolved since then — this weekend’s event “The Affair: Bow Ties & Pumps,” a benefit for Transgender Health Empowerment and the Wanda Alston House for homeless LGBT youth, is the launch of his expanded vision which will be known as the Oasis Dance Collective. It will continue to encompass his adult company for 18-25-year-olds (there are 13 dancers in the troupe) but a youth contingent is also launching along with a series that will find well-known choreographers coming to D.C. to offer master classes (the group is online at oasisdanceco.com). Wilson re-launched the group with co-founder Jami Shackles.
Sunday night’s event, to be held at THEARC Theater (1901 Mississippi Ave., S.E.), is designed as a dance tribute to several local public figures, both LGBT and allies, who are making a difference in the D.C. area. Similar to the Kennedy Center Honors, Wilson is overseeing mini-tributes to each of this year’s honorees: Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley, pastors of LGBT-welcoming Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ; comedian Sampson McCormick; youth advocate Kenya Hutton, Abdur-Rahim Briggs, president of Al Sura; drag performer Shi-Queeta Lee; The Center’s David Mariner; and Rev. Aaron Wade, pastor of Community Church of Washington.
“Imagine Victoria’s Secret meets the Grammys meets ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” Wilson says. “It will be so many different things and highly entertaining.”
Red carpet starts at 6:30 p.m. The performance is at 7:30. General admission is $30; VIP admission is $50. Tickets will be available at the door or can be purchased in advance at thearcdc.org. Proceeds go to the Alston House and THE. Details are at oasisdanceco.com/events.
Wilson works by day in Annandale, Va., as a clinical research assistant at Clinical Alliance for Research Education in Infectious Diseases (CARE-ID) and lives in Fairfax, though all his Oasis work is in Washington. The Norwich, Conn., native enjoys dancing, writing and hiking in his free time. He and Wilson have two dogs, Joi and PJ.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out since my sophomore year of college in 2004 and my father was the hardest person to tell.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
With all family in attendance on the coast of Spain.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
What historical outcome would you change?
The transfer of HIV/AIDS from primates to humans.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
My first concert was a Janet concert (the “Velvet Rope Tour”) and it just kind of solidified everything I wanted to do in life. A lot of my friends were really into Michael Jackson, but I didn’t really grow up on Mike. I grew up way more on Janet.
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
“The Affair Sunday, September 23, 2012”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Pieces of a Dream”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing. I am proud of who I am and wish everyone else the same — just be you.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Stay connected, make sure the messaging remains relevant and focus on legal issues more than emotional ones. A person may not agree with me, but I want to ensure that they cannot legally hinder my happiness.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gay equates to be a feminine male or butch female.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
I don’t have one. “Center Stage,” but that not really gay.
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
My ultimate goal is to win a Tony Award for choreography.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
The only person who must buy into your vision is you!
It is the nuclei of America.