Carlton Wilborn lived life on center stage as Madonna’s lead dancer on her “Blond Ambition” and “The Girlie Show” tours.
He was the energetic and daring dancer in her documentary film, “Truth or Dare.”
But Wilborn wasn’t being upfront with a couple of secrets he was hiding back then.
Not only was he HIV-positive, but he was suppressing the impact of being molested by his karate instructor for five years, from the age of 8 to 13.
It all came crashing down on him in 2001 when his work out of the limelight on a cruise ship didn’t generate the gratification he had loved since being the principal dancer in Chicago’s Hubbard Street Dance Company.
His solution was to put his secrets into “Front & Center: How I Learned To Live There.”
He’s planning a poetry-based recording with music based on the book, but he’s on the promotion circuit now. He’ll sign copies of the book Wednesday at Peppertree Books in Palm Springs.
He talked about it and his life in a recent Desert Sun interview:
DESERT POST WEEKLY: Did you continue with karate after your molestation or did your instructor’s actions drive you away from it?
CARLTON WILBORN: No, I did not continue with karate after that – not because of any conscious decision, it sort of just fell away from me. But I do feel that the karate experience – especially seeing that I had reached the brown belt level – awakened the athlete in me so I could be confident for my dance career, which was just around the corner.
DPW: What attracted you to dance and how did your father react to your pursuit of it?
CW: Honestly, what got me dancing was my mom and my old grammar school teacher, Carolyn Currie, rushing to find a school that I could transfer to (in) mid-season. It ended up being the Whitney Young Magnet High School through the dance department. It seems that it was my destiny. Yay! In regards to my father, he was fairly neutral about it, at least until he started seeing me in newspapers. Then he’d run off to work bragging about me.
DPW: Was that period in which you were dancing with Madonna an especially happy time for you? Were you able to repress the molestation? If so, how were you able to do that?
CW: My Madonna years were fairly happy times, but because I was also hiding my HIV diagnoses, I was always nervous that I might be found out, and that it would all be taken away from me. My efforts to repress the molestation started years before the Madonna stuff came around. But, yeah sure, the screaming my name, the cameras and the private jets, they can all be a Band-Aid for a while.
DPW: You seem so spiritual now. Did an epiphany lead you there?
CW: No, there was no exact moment of epiphany. It honestly seems to be something that I’ve been continually growing into, ever since being a kid. My grandmother, my mom and even my dad were all spiritual in their own ways. I can definitely see that today.
DPW: Did you keep in contact with Madonna? If so, do you find that you’ve grown in similar spiritual directions? How do you feel about her today?
CW: It’s been a few years since she and I have spoken. But, I will always have nice thoughts about her. She gave me the chance of a lifetime. Plus, Madonna honestly got me started on my real structured spiritual path. She paid for my first entire season of Kabbalah classes.
source : thedesertsun.com