Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

Asian Improv aRts’ 35th Anniversary Celebration: Expansions // Horizons June 30th, 2022



CONTACT: Lenora Lee

Phone: (415) 913-8725



Asian Art Museum in collaboration with 

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


Asian Improv aRts’ 35th Anniversary Celebration


Expansions // Horizons


For 35 years, Asian Improv aRts (AIR) has been at the forefront of the Asian and Asian American movement – advancing artists, activism, and culture on a national level. Come join us for two unique programs of music, dance, and film, bringing together multiple generations of AIR artists, as we celebrate this historic milestone and look forward to the future with radical imagination.




Featuring performances and work by:


  • Kioto Aoki (taiko / percussion), Chicago
  • Tatsu Aoki (taiko / shamisen), Chicago
  • Karl Evangelista (guitar), Bay Area 
  • Marina Fukushima (dance), Bay Area 
  • Ben Goldberg (clarinet), Bay Area 
  • YiTing (Gama) Hsu (dance), Taiwan / Bay Area 
  • Hien Huynh (dance), Bay Area
  • Christopher Lam (Vietnamese Monochord – Đàn Bầu), Bay Area 
  • Jacqueline Lam (Vietnamese zither – Đàn Tranh), Bay Area 
  • William Roper (tuba), Los Angeles 
  • Karen Stackpole (multiple percussion), Bay Area
  • Melody Takata (taiko), Bay Area  
  • Francis Wong (saxophone), Bay Area
  • And additional artists TBA


At Asian Art Museum


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Program A: 6-7pm, and 

Program B: 7:30-8:30pm

Performances will begin on time, please arrive early.



Asian Art Museum

200 Larkin Street (at McAllister St)

San Francisco, CA  94102 or (415) 581-3500

Click here for parking & transportation



$10 plus museum admission

All attendees are required to wear masks following current CDC, city and state guidelines.

For more info:,  

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


The Asian Art Museum strives to be welcoming and accessible to all. Please visit our Accessibility page to see a full list of accommodations, including complimentary assistive listening devices, ASL interpretation, and wheelchairs. Please note that for some accommodations, we require at least two weeks advance notice. 






Asian Improv aRts


Since 1987, Asian Improv aRts (AIR) has built a national cross-cultural, interdisciplinary community rooted in social justice and equity, advancing artists who create innovative works representing Asian and Asian American experiences. AIR’s impact has been far-reaching; building the strength, sustainability and national visibility of Asian American arts and culture, embedded in community-based work with an authentic Asian American voice and grounded in a social justice approach that has deep connections to BIPOC communities. Over its 35 years, AIR has produced more than 100 recordings of Asian American artists, chronicling a legacy of Asian artistic excellence in the U.S. and mentored many artists in their early stages, some of whom are now luminaries in their field, such as Vijay Iyer and Jen Shyu.


(Work in network, co-commission, fellow, record label)






Kioto Aoki // 青木希音


Kioto Aoki is an artist, educator and musician who descends from the Toyoakimoto performing arts family in Tokyo with roots dating back to the Edo period. Studying under her Tokyo-born father, she carries on the artistic family lineage as a taiko artist in Chicago, also playing shamisen and tsuzumi. Musical projects include Yoko Ono’s SKYLANDING, Tatsu Aoki’s The MIYUMI Project, Experimental Sound Studio’s Sonic Pavilion Festival, and Soundtrack at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. 


Tatsu Aoki 


Tatsu Aoki is a community advocate, filmmaker, educator, and prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms. As Executive Director of Asian Improv aRts Midwest (AIRMW), Aoki has initiated several programs to advance the understanding of traditional arts. He is also a founder of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. In 2019, he received the Community Service award from the Asian American Coalition of Chicago and was recently awarded the 2020 United States Artist Fellowship and Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for his work as a musician, composer, and educator. 


Ben Goldberg


Clarinetist / composer Ben Goldberg grew up in Denver. He was a pupil of the eminent clarinetist Rosario Mazzeo and studied with Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano. Since 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music” (SF Chronicle), Ben has shaped a career through curiosity and experimentation. The New York Times says Ben’s music “conveys a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising, the constant usefulness of musicians intuitively coming together and pulling apart.”


Karl Evangelista


Filipino-American guitarist/composer Karl Evangelista (b.1986) ranks among a new wave of musicians pushing the traditions of jazz, experimentalism, and political music into the 21st century. Evangelista has performed with the likes of Andrew Cyrille, Fred Frith, Oliver Lake, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Bobby Bradford, Ben Goldberg, and Francis Wong. Signal to Noise magazine hails Evangelista as “one of the most original instrumentalists and composers of his generation,” and as the creative force behind boundary-breaking group Grex, Evangelista’s music has been called an “otherworldly experience” (Eugene Weekly).


Marina Fukushima


Marina Fukushima is a dancer and choreographer based in San Francisco. Born in Tokyo, Japan, she immigrated to the US in 1992. From a cross-cultural perspective, her creative focus is on the themes of silence, family, and intergenerational relationships. Amongst her projects, she created “Family Seasons” and “Zoom Dinner” in collaboration with her parents (both visual artists). Also, in collaboration with Isak Immanuel, a series of intergenerational dance works like “Festival of Shadows” was developed. Additionally, she has performed with numerous dance companies including KUNST-STOFF, ODC, Lenora Lee Dance, and Tableau Stations and toured across the US and internationally.  


YiTing (Gama) Hsu


Trained in contemporary, ballet, modern, Chinese martial art, Chinese folk dance, Tai-chi initiation, composition, choreography and improvisation, Yi-Ting is a graduate of Tsoying High School, and received her BFA from University of Taipei of the Arts. She has danced with Hsu Chen Wei Productions, Les Petites Choses Productions, David Herrera Performance Company, Alyssandra Katherine Dance Project, Kinetech Arts, and Epiphany Dance Theater. 


Hien Huynh


Hien Huynh was born in Da Nang, Vietnam. Through the sacrifices, courage, and resiliency of his parents’ refugee passage, Hien dedicates his artistic and living practices to share, move, and dance in honor of their story alongside the oceanic journeys of ancestors. His movement practices stem from the spirit of improvisation. He recognizes improvisation as an ancestral form of survival, navigation, clarity, and expression. As a performing artist, Hien was nominated and received an Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Individual Performance (Within These Walls, Lenora Lee Dance 2019). He is a 2020 San Francisco Arts Commission IAC recipient. He is honored to have performed in the works of Lenora Lee Dance, Kim Epifano, Robert Moses’ Kin, Kinetech Arts, Christy Funch & Nol Simonse, PUSH, DSDT, and punkkiCO. 


Christopher Lam


Studying Vietnamese Monochord (Dan Bau) for over a decade under Emmy Award winning master Vanessa Van Anh Vo, he has performed with Asian Improv aRts, Lenora Lee Dance, and Jimi Nakagawa. at venues such as the Legion of Honors, Asian Art Museum, and Kennedy Center. He takes his influences from both traditional and contemporary Vietnamese music alongside improvisational methods. Within Au Co Center, he is a teacher apprentice for beginner students and stage logistics coordinator for performances within the Vietnamese community’s arts and culture. 


Jacqueline Lam


For over a decade, Jacqueline has learned and performed the Vietnamese zither (Dan Tranh) and has been trained by Emmy Award winner master artist, Vanessa Van Anh Vo. Over time, Jacqueline has developed her musical knowledge and skills, from traditional and contemporary Vietnamese music to improvisation. She has collaborated and performed with various ensembles/artists – Asian Improv aRts, Lenora Lee Dance – and has performed for various venues – Asian Art Museum, Legion of Honors, and the Kennedy Center. She is currently a teacher apprentice for beginner students and the Su Viet Ensemble coordinator at the Au Co Center. 


William Roper


William Roper is a Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist concentrating his efforts in music composition/performance, painting, digital and video art. His primary instrument is the tuba. He also specializes in primitive and ethnic aerophones extemporaneous and spoken word performance. He has appeared as soloist and ensemble member in the Americas, Europe and Japan. His visual work has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. Roper heads the record label and arts organization Tomato Sage Consortium. Though he has lived in the same place for three decades, he is always looking for home. 


Karen Stackpole


Drummer/percussionist Karen Stackpole has a long-standing passion for gongs. In her exploration of metals, she has cultivated some distinctive techniques for drawing harmonics out of tam tams with various implements. She specializes in dynamic soundscapes and textures and has contributed gong sounds to more conventional musical genres as well as contributing source material for film soundtracks. In addition to solo work, she performs and records with various projects including Machine Shop: Live Amplified Gong Experience (a duo with electronics master, Drew Webster), Sabbaticus Rex, Ghost in the House, Vorticella, the Francis Wong Unit, and the rock band Steel Hotcakes. 


Melody Takata


Founder and artistic director of GenRyu Arts, Melody Takata is a Japanese Diaspora artist. Takata is a taiko (Japanese drums) composer/arranger, and dancer/choreographer. Takata is trained in classical Japanese dance, and from the Kineya School of shamisen. In her 25+ year career she has engaged in creating new works in these traditions. She has been a recipient of Creative Work Fund, Alliance of California Traditional Arts: Living Culture, Master/Apprentice program, California Arts Council Local Impact, and National Endowment for the Arts to name a few. 


Francis Wong


Francis Wong co-founded Asian Improv aRts with Jon Jang in 1987. Wong is a saxophonist, composer, educator, and community worker, with roots in the Asian American Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.  


Supported in part by Asian Art Museum, Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Lenora Lee Dance, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and by Generous Individuals


Photos for EXPANSIONS // HORIZONS at Asian Art Museum – June 30, 2022
Ben Goldberg by John Rudoff, Francis Wong by Yumi Hatta, Tatsu Aoki by Ken Carl, William Roper by Joseph Mitchell, Karl Evangelista by Lenny Gonzalez, Melody Takata by Crystel Hadley, Marina Fukushima by Isak Immanuel, YiTing (Gama) Hsu & Hien Huynh by Hoa Huynh, Jacqueline & Christopher Lam by Au Co Productions, Karen Stackpole by Peter B Kaars, Kioto Aoki by Ken Carl.



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