Broadway choreographer uses talents to help fight AIDS

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Lauren Glassberg reports on Ray Mercer, a Broadway choreographer who is giving back (WABC)

An award-winning Broadway choreographer is using his talents to help in the fight against AIDS, putting together an evening of dances to benefit Broadway Cares.

Ray Mercer says he doesn't sleep at night, because there's a good chance he's creating dances instead. He's a choreographer who also performs in "The Lion King," and this will be his 14th year in the ensemble.

"Fortunately, being at 'The Lion King' has afforded me to have dancers at my access and crew members and prop guys and wardrobe," he said.

Many of his dances have been performed in "Gypsy of the Year," a big fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

"I think there's such anticipation for Ray's work at those events that it made us think, let's do an evening of Ray's work so we can bring a couple of those back," Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Executive Director Tom Viola said. "But also see what new he could create that would thrill and surprise us all."

Ray's show is called Pure Motion, and it will be performed at the Alvin Ailey CitiGroup Theater.

"We are going to be jumping over chairs, tossing chairs, around chairs," Mercer said. "I'm a very physical choreographer."

Rehearsals began three weeks ago, but because all the performers are in other shows, their time together is limited to just a few hours here and there. But it's enough time to bring Pure Motion to the stage and to benefit a cause that's important to Ray.

Broadway Cares/Equity fights AIDS helps entertainers all over the country when times are tough or their health fails. Last year alone, $12 million in grants were given out.

"The fact that I can show my work and also give back to the community is really, really good," Mercer said.

Tickets start at $40, and Pure Motion takes the stage on February 29. For more information, visit
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