Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

World Premiere of “In the Movement” September 1-11, 2022

Johnny Huy Nguyễn by Robbie Sweeny

Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center and Lenora Lee Dance present 

the World Premiere of In the Movement

by the award-winning company, Lenora Lee Dance


Thursday – Saturdays, 9/1, 9/2, 9/3, 9/8, 9/9, 9/10 at 8pm

And Sundays, 9/4, 9/11 at 2pm

Performances will begin on time, please arrive early. Post performance discussions after both Sunday shows


“In the Movement” is a heartfelt and explosive dance piece focusing on separation of families and mass detention of immigrants as forms of incarceration. It serves as a meditation on reconciliation and restorative justice, speaking to the power of individuals and communities to transcend.

CLICK HERE to view the video teaser



ODC Theater

3153 17th Street (between South Van Ness & Folsom), San Francisco, CA 94110 

Street parking or local garages are available. Please plan ahead regarding parking.



Link to ticket site

$20 – $50

For more info:, 

For questions or high resolution images, email, (415) 913-8725



Audience Responses from LLD’s award-winning Within These Walls production:

“I thought about ICE jails, people who fear deportation, and refugees overseas. It was heavy….and so beautiful.”

“It was a truly unique and powerful experience, and I feel fortunate to have witnessed it. It snuck into my dreams last night.”

“Moving and beautifully rendered, so timely given the global dialogue around immigration. I was there with my seven year old son, and the piece made a big impression on him.”

“I was deeply affected and moved by the performance. I left in tears, and literally cried every time I replayed the performance in my head for 4 days afterward.”

“It was brilliant and emotionally powerful.”


Keanu Brady & Felicitas Fischer by Robbie Sweeny


Conceived, Produced & Directed by Lenora Lee

Choreography by Lenora Lee in collaboration with the performers / dance collaborators

Performers / Dance Collaborators: Johnny Cox, Felicitas Fischer, Miguel Forbes, Lynn Huang, SanSan Kwan, Johnny Huy Nguyen, Sawako Ogo, Moyra Silva Rodriguez

Recorded music directed by Francis Wong & Tatsu Aoki

Vocals by Helen Palma

Media Design by Lenora Lee & Olivia Ting

Videography by Edward Kaikea Goo & Lenora Lee, filmed on Alcatraz Island

Light Design by Jack Beuttler

Interviewee Voiceover: Borey Ai, Ericson Amaya Bonilla, Enrique Cristobal Meneses, Guisela Ramos Guardado, Rhummanee Hang, Melanie Kim, Cindy Liou, Jessica S. Yamane, Anonymous

Resource Partners: Asian Prisoner Support Committee, 67 Sueños

Project Consultant: Lucy Tafler

Production Assistant: Edward Kaikea Goo

Photos by Robbie Sweeny



Lenora Lee Dance (LLD) integrates contemporary dance, film, music, and research and has gained increasing attention for its sustained pursuit of issues related to immigration, incarceration, global conflict, and its impacts, particularly on women and families. The company creates works that are both set in public and private spaces, intimate and at the same time large-scale, inspired by individual stories as well as community strength, at times crafted for the proscenium, or underwater, or in the air, and at times are site-responsive, immersive and interactive. For the last 14 years LLD has been pushing the envelope of large-scale multimedia, and immersive dance performance that connects various styles of movement and music to culture, history and human rights issues. Its work has grown to encompass the creation, presentation and screening of films, museum and gallery installations, civic engagement and educational programming.



ODC Theater exists to empower and develop innovative artists. It participates in the creation of new works through commissioning, presenting, mentorship and space access; it develops informed, engaged and committed audiences; and advocates for the performing arts as an essential component to the economic and cultural development of our community. Since 1976, ODC Theater, founded by Brenda Way, has been the mobilizing force behind countless San Francisco artists and the foothold for national and international touring artists seeking debut in the Bay Area. ODC Theater is currently under the creative direction of Chloë L. Zimberg.



Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) provides direct support to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) prisoners and raises awareness about the growing number of APIs being imprisoned, detained, and deported. Since 2002, APSC has led programs in prisons, organized anti-deportation campaigns, provided resources to “lifers,” and developed culturally relevant reentry programs. APSC facilitates Ethnic Studies programs in prisons, provides community-based reentry services, and organizes deportation defense campaigns. 



67 Sueños is an Oakland-based youth organizing program with political education, artivism, and trauma-healing work at the center. It works primarily with Latinx undocumented youth and youth from mixed status families (ages 14-24) through a leadership development program that engages them in local campaigns fighting towards ending youth incarceration and militarized policing of BIPOC communities. 67 Sueños was born in 2011 out of the recognition that 67 percent of migrant youth would be excluded from the DREAM Act, a federal bill aimed at providing a path to citizenship for migrants who arrived in the U.S. at an early age.




Tatsu Aoki (music) is a prolific composer, musician, filmmaker, and educator. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental and creative music. Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently an adjunct Full Professor at the Film, Video and New Media Department, teaching film production and history courses. To this date, Aoki has produced and appears in more than 90 recording projects and over 30 experimental films.


Jack Beuttler (light design) is an Oakland based producer and designer. He’s the Director of Production for ODC and the Production Manager for the Sun Valley Music Festival in Idaho. He’s toured nationally and internationally with Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Van Anh Vo, and Flyaway Productions among many others, and is thrilled to have been a part of bringing The Forgotten Empress to Pakistan in 2017. Jack is honored to have received a 2019 Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design for Flyaway’s The Wait Room. Most recently Jack produced the critically acclaimed opera film Goodbye, Mr Chips.


Johnny Cox (dance) is a gay, Guatemalan American performing artist who graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.F.A in Dance in 2019. After college, he ventured to Portland, Oregon where he was an apprentice with the LGBTQ+ affirming Shaun Keylock Company. He recently moved to the Bay Area where he has been working with Shawl Anderson Dance Center and the East Bay Tutu Schools as their only male ballet teacher. Johnny feels joyful to be launching his dance career as an apprentice with Nancy Karp and Dancers and with Lenora Lee Dance for In the Movement. Connect with Johnny on Instagram @johnnycdancing or at 


Felicitas Fischer (dance) is a contemporary dance artist whose practice and interest is rooted in exploring diverse movement forms  that reflect her own polyethnic-cultural background. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a B.A in Performing Arts & Social Justice in Dance (2019), she has had the honor of working with Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations, Dazaun Soleyn, Megan Nicely, Nicole Klaymoon, Amber Julian, Eli Nelson, Amie Dowling, Jennifer Polyocan, Kinetech Arts, and Lenora Lee Dance. She works actively in the community on staff with Bridge Live Arts, contributes annually to the online dance journal Stance on Dance, and runs Artists For Justice, an artistic collective dedicated to supporting diverse emerging artists and local social-justice initiatives. Her latest choreographic work, Lungs of the Earth, was selected for the Bay Area Shorts Film Festival and featured in USF’s Thacher Gallery Art Exhibition: All That You Touch.


Miguel F. Forbes (dance) discovered the passion for dance while attending high school. Began his formal training in Ballet, Jazz, and Modern Techniques at Anti – Gravity School of Dance in Roseville, California. Forbes then attended the Bachelor’s of Art Program in Dance at CSUS (Sac State) where he obtained knowledge in movement, history, philosophy, performance, and artist creation processes. A perpetual learner, Forbes is pursuing many educational and professional pursuits including graduate school to become a Doctor of Chiropractic, Certified Instructor of Katherine Dunham Technique, study in Butoh, Talawa, and Silvestre techniques.


Lynn Huang (dance)  Trained in modern dance, ballet, and Chinese dance, Lynn has performed with Lenora Lee, Cynthia Ling Lee, and Philein Wang, among others in San Francisco, and HT Chen and Dancers, Dance China NY and Ella Ben-Aharon/Sahar Javedani in NYC. She studied at Minzu University Dance Conservatory in Beijing, China on a Fulbright fellowship and graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. She also teaches GYROTONIC​​® and GYROKINESIS®. IG: @lynnxspirals


SanSan Kwan (dance) is Professor and Chair in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, where she teaches  dance and dance studies..  She has performed with Jonathon Appels, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Chen and Dancers, Scott Rubin, and Maura Nguyen Donohue/In Mixed Company, among others.


Lenora Lee (artistic direction) The company is directed by San Francisco native Lenora Lee, who has been a dancer, choreographer and artistic director for the past 23 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. She has been an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum, a Djerassi Resident Artist, a Visiting Scholar at New York University 2012-2016, an Artist in Residence at Dance Mission Theater, a 2019 United States Artists Fellow, and is the recipient of a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project grant award. Lenora is currently artist in residence at Pao Arts Center and ArtsEmerson.


Johnny Huy Nguyen (dance) is a second generation Vietnamese American multidisciplinary dance artist based in Yelamu (aka San Francisco). His practice is centered on the body, recognizing its power as a place of knowing, site of resistance, gateway to healing, and crucible of imagination. Drawing from fluency in multiple movement modalities rooted in a street dance foundation, he weaves together dance with text, ritual, performance art, and other mediums to navigate the intersections between the personal and the political. He has appeared in the works of Lenora Lee Dance, KULARTS, and Embodiment Project and has performed nationally in Oregon, Boston, and NYC. His work has been presented by APAture Festival, the United States of Asian America Festival, and SOMArts, and his most recent solo work, Minority Without A Model, premiered in 2021. IG: @johnny.huy.nguyen


Sawako Ogo (dance) is a freelance dancer based in the San Francisco Bay area, originally from Tokyo, Japan. Upon graduating from San Francisco State University with a BA in Dance, Sawako had the privilege to work with choreographers and directors, such as David Herrera, Natasha Adorlee, Erin Yen, Christian Burns, Joe Landini, Jennifer Gerry, Kristin Damrow, as well as numerous others., IG @sawako_horsemackerel


Helen Palma (music) is a graduate of San Francisco State University, where she received her  Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music with an emphasis on Vocal and Jazz Studies. Her vocal styles range from Brazilian to Latin Jazz, Salsa, Swing, Blues, R&B and Pop. During Helen’s time at SF State, she studied with John Calloway in the Afro Cuban Ensemble and later performed professionally with his latin jazz septet at the Redwood City Salsa Festival in 2017 and 2019. She was also a part of the 2020 Hispanic Heritage Concert under Calloway’s direction. Helen’s own group, The Helen Palma Trio, performs in venues throughout the Bay Area with an emphasis on Latin and Brazilian jazz, R&B and pop. She is also pursuing a certificate in audio engineering and video editing.,,


Moyra Silva Rodriguez (dance – Lima) is a Peruvian interdisciplinary and performing artist with a background in contemporary dance and theatre. Her artistic research explores the intersections between public space, dance community, hybrid identities and ancestry, through an interdisciplinary approach (film, dance, installation). Her academic study focussed on the overseas Chinese community in Europe and the Americas, as fourth generation Tusan (Chinese-Peruvian). Her work has been supported by the Instituto Cultural Peruano NorteAmericano (PE), El Centro Cultural de España (PE), Performing Arts Festival of Lima (PE), German Federal Foreign Office and Goethe Institut (DE), Trondheim Municipal Council (NO), and NOoSPHERE Arts (USA)., IG @moyra_silva


Olivia Ting (media & graphic design) is interested in the role of digital technology in the fabric of contemporary lives and how our perception of recorded media (film, photography, audio) as “reality” has shifted as technology becomes more sophisticated. Olivia has done design work for Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Jose Children’s Museum, and collaborated with various dance companies in the Bay Area. Her work shifts between video projection and altered 360 VR film experiences. She holds an MFA in Art Practice from U.C. Berkeley.


Francis Wong (music) was dubbed one of “the great saxophonists of his generation” by the late jazz critic Phil elwood. Few musicians are as accomplished as Wong: for over two decades he has performed his innovative brand of jazz and creative music for audiences in North America, Asia, and Europe. A prolific recording artist, Wong is featured on more than forty titles.




Borey “Peejay” Ai is the Community Advocate for Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) and a former juvenile lifer. He was incarcerated at the age of fifteen and served 20 years in prison. After his parole, Peejay spent 18 months incarcerated in ICE jails, while fighting his deportation case. Peejay was released from ICE jail in May 2018 after a grassroots campaign, #BringPJHome. Peejay’s work includes serving as APSC organizational representative in meetings, coalition spaces, lobby visits, and events related to reentry, in-prison programs, and anti-deportation defenses. Peejay also conducts workshops around APSC programs and missions to youth, students, and community organizations.


Enrique Cristobal Meneses was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and lived in Los Angeles California since the age of 14. He is an advocate, artist, counselor and organizer. Enrique was detained at Golden State Annex (GSA) for 15 months as he fought his immigration case. After a long fight, and thanks to his resilience and community support, Enrique won his case in February 2022 and returned home after 18 years away. He got involved in the organizing and advocacy inside of GSA because of the injustices he saw happening inside. People were not being treated with humanity. Enrique is motivated, by his daughter and by his own journey through the criminal system, to keep on standing up to injustices and inequality. This is why he used his voice to stand up to the inhumane treatment inside of Golden State Annex. Enrique is currently working as a substance abuse counselor and is excited to continue to work alongside our communities to bring the change we need. 


Rhummanee Hang is a poet, dancer, and community organizer from Oakland. Rhummanee’s experience with racial equity work, culturally specific programming, youth leadership development, and community organizing has spanned two decades. Rhummanee is Co-Director of AYPAL, an API youth leadership development and movement-building organization based in Oakland Chinatown. She is also a consultant and facilitator with World Trust Educational Services. She earned a BA in Sociology at UC Davis and an MA in International & Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco. Rhummanee is an Aquarian dragon, earring maker and collector, and most importantly, Mommy to the amazing kid, Noreak!


Melanie Kim is the State Policy Director at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Melanie is a leader in ICE out of California, the statewide coalition moving the VISION Act (AB 937) authored by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, which would stop all ICE transfers from local jails and state prisons. Before venturing into policy work, Melanie worked as an deportation defense attorney providing direct legal service in private practice and, most recently, at the Asian Law Caucus where she focused on representing individuals who faced deportation due to criminal convictions. At the Caucus, Melanie represented the first and second Cambodian refugees to ever return to the United States from deportation. 


Cindy Liou, the daughter of Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants, is currently the State and Local Policy Director at Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), advocating for unaccompanied immigrant children. Previously, she was the Director of the Human Trafficking Project at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, where she practiced immigration, family, and victims’ rights law for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, elder and child abuse. She is currently on the Advisory Board of Training in Early Abortion for Comprehensive Healthcare (TEACH) and the Steering Committee of the Freedom Network to Empower Trafficked and Enslaved Persons (USA).


Jessica S. Yamane is a co-director at Pangea Legal Services. At Pangea, Jessica’s goal is to support directly impacted community members who are developing alternatives to deportation and detention. As a person of both Chinese and Japanese ancestry, Jessica has been to enough memorials to recognize that the US immigration regime we live under has always been inherently racist. This country once recognized its errors in shuttering all concentration camps of Japanese Americans during WWII, and it can do so again. She firmly believes that we should be working towards that day when all immigration detention centers—today’s concentration camps—are permanently and forever closed.  


In the Movement  is supported by Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, ODC Theater, Cal Humanities, California Arts Council, Fleishhacker Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Phyllis Wattis Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, and by Generous Individuals. Special thanks to Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, 67 Sueños, Golden Gate National Recreation Center.

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