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

Post-Performance Panelists 

Sunday, 9/4 –  Borey “Peejay” Ai, Guisela Ramos Guardado, Rhummanee Hang

Sunday, 9/11 – Ericson Amaya Bonilla, Enrique Cristobal Meneses, Jessica S. Yamane

A heartfelt and explosive dance piece, “In the Movement” in part highlights the stories and experiences of individuals subjected to incarceration, ICE detention and deportation. This new work helps to illustrate systematic cycles of oppression, one such cycle keeping many immigrants either incarcerated, detained or cycling between the two. “In the Movement” serves as a meditation on reconciliation and restorative justice, speaking to the power of individuals and communities to transcend.

One of those interviewed is Community Advocate for Asian Prisoner Support Committee (APSC) and a former juvenile lifer Borey “Peejay” Ai, who recounts: “ICE detention is worse than prison. I couldn’t believe a system in America could treat people that way, regardless of your circumstances, your background…. It was heartbreaking.”

In addition to Ai, Artistic Director Lenora Lee interviewed advocates working with: 67 Sueños, an Oakland-based youth organizing program with political education, artivism, and trauma-healing; Cindy Liou, the daughter of Chinese-Taiwanese immigrants, attorney and immigrants’ rights advocate; Jessica S. Yamane, co-director at Pangea Legal Services, directly supporting impacted community members who are developing alternatives to deportation and detention; advocate, artist, counselor and organizer Enrique Cristobal Meneses who was born in Mexico City, Mexico; Rhummanee Hang, Co-Director of AYPAL, an API youth leadership development and movement-building organization based in Oakland Chinatown; and Melanie Kim, a State Policy Director at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and a leader in ICE out of California.

In the Movement features excerpts from a total of nine interviews in the sound score, which includes recorded music and vocals, as well as video filmed on Alcatraz Island. We strongly believe in the impact of this performance experience and the power of its emotional, and timely message.

CLICK HERE to view the video teaser 


Melissa Lewis Wong writes:

“The ugly underbelly of nationalism (saran-wrapped and suffocating) ruptures and emerges through a palette of perspectives; these voices (from Borey “Peejay” Ai, Ericson Amaya, Guisela Mishel Ramos Guardado, Rhummanee Hang, Melanie Kim, Cindy Liou, Enrique Cristobal Meneses and Jessica S. Yamane) meet our ears like beacons of truth: both hard to look at or away from.”

Click here to read full reflection by Melissa Lewis Wong


Jen Norris writes:

“In the Movement is a masterful example of how art can be used in support of social justice.”

“The nine narratives we hear are personal, heartrending, and enthralling…”

“Moyra Silva Rodriguez, with fists clenched, performs a powerful solo.”

“In the Movement is a rich and sometimes overwhelming experience, worthy of a second viewing.”

“May what we learned make powerful ripples through our community as the work to create immigrant justice continues.”

Click here to read the full review by Jen Norris


Here’s what audiences are saying:

“Amazing performances!”

“The work was so impactful.”

“Beautifully done”

“Heartfelt and compassionate” 

“A fervent call to action.”



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 (in order of appearance): Felicitas Fischer, Johnny Cox, Miguel F. Forbes, Moyra Silva Rodriguez, Sawako Ogo, Johnny Huy Nguyễn, Lynn Huang, SanSan Kwan. Dance Collaborators (video): Keanu Brady, YiTing Hsu, Hien Huynh

Recorded music directed by Francis Wong & Tatsu Aoki, with Kioto Aoki, JoVia Armstrong, Mwata Bowden, Suwan Choi, Deszon X. Claiborne, Coco Elysses, Jamie Kempkers, Melody Takata, Edward Wilkerson Jr., Michael Zerang

Vocals sung by Helen Palma include the songs “Gracias a la Vida” written and composed by Chilean Violeta Parra in 1966 and¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” (“The people united will never be defeated”) composed by Sergio Ortega with text by Quilapayún in 1970. Both songs are part of the Nueva canción chilena (New Chilean Song) movement.

Interviewee Voiceover (in order of those speaking in the audio): Guisela Ramos Guardado, Ericson Amaya Bonilla, Anonymous, Borey “Peejay” Ai, Melanie Kim, Cindy Liou, Rhummanee Hang, Enrique Cristobal Meneses, Jessica S. Yamane

Media Design by Lenora Lee & Olivia Ting

Media Programming: Lucy Tafler

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

Artwork in Projection by (in order of appearance): 

  – Salvador Moncada 

     – “Dreaming and Changing” mural lead artist Francisco Amend Sanchez, assistant artist James Pops Delgado, 67 Sueños youth artists Alan, Alina, Angel, Areyto, Ayshah, Camila, Cassandra, Daniel, Evelyn, Genesis, Ime, Jade, Jessica, Jesus, Karla, Lili, Luna, Lyna, Mikayla, and Yajaira, 67 Sueños mural staff leads Jacqueline Garcia-Martinez, Ericson Amaya, Guisela Ramos, Edith Cercado, Daniell Lopez, Felix Amaya.

   – “Warrior” & “The Aztec” by Adan Castillo Moreno

    – Enrique Cristobal Meneses

Photos in Projection courtesy of Borey “Peejay” Ai and Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Enrique Cristobal Meneses

Resource Partners: Asian Prisoner Support Committee, 67 Sueños

Light Design by Jack Beuttler

Production Manager: Lenora Lee

ODC Technical Crew: Jackson Fields, Cole Johnson 

Production Assistants: Edward Kaikea Goo, Q. Quan


LLD Staff & Consultants

Artistic Director: Lenora Lee

Project Consultant: Lucy Tafler

Marketing: Sawako Ogo

Development Consultant: Francis Wong

Graphic Design: Olivia Ting

Photography: Robbie Sweeny

Public Relations: Mary Carbonara



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 and is currently working with Shawl Anderson Dance Center (SADC). He served East Bay Tutu Schools as their only male ballet teacher and taught a modern class for 4 to 6 year old boys at SADC. 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 and 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. Graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.A in Performing Arts & Social Justice in Dance (2019), Felicitas 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 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 Associate 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 Nguyễn (dance) is a second generation Vietnamese American multidisciplinary somatic artist based in Yelamu (a.k.a San Francisco) and son of courageous refugees. Fluent in multiple movement modalities including myriad street dance styles, contemporary, modern, and martial arts, Nguyen weaves together dance, theater, spoken word, ritual, installation, and performance art. He creates immersive, time-based works that recognize the body’s power, as a place of knowing, site of resistance, gateway to healing, and crucible for new futures. His recent works are Minority Without A Model (solo, 2021) and HOME(in)STEAD (duet, 2022). In addition to being an individual artist, he has been a core member of Lenora Lee Dance Company since 2017 and has appeared in the works of KULARTS and the Global Street Dance Masquerade to name a few. As an arts professional, he works as a development and program associate with Asian Improv aRts (AIR), helping to nurture the viability and sustainability of Asian American artists and organizations both locally and nationwide. 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 (9/4 panelist) 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.


Ericson Amaya (Lead Organizer at 67 Sueños, 9/11 panelist), known as “E”, is an Oakland native dedicated to serving migrant youth justice. E started off as a high school intern where he was able to build his political awareness, uncover his passion for art, and engage in community advocacy towards migrants and system impacted youth. Years later, E became a youth mentor which further allowed him to access his passion for teaching and spoken word. He took his skills and knowledge to other programs and schools across Oakland and neighboring cities, while handling his BA in Latino Studies at San Francisco State University. E has also served a term for the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission, a leadership training and civic engagement platform for youth focusing on education, employment, public safety, environment, and health for the city of Oakland.


Guisela Mishel Ramos Guardado (Program Coordinator at 67 Sueños, 9/4 panelist) a Guatemalan born, Oakland raised, young womyn. Oldest of 4, a plant lover who enjoys sunset walks with her dog Luna. During her High school career she was involved in many youth led groups and community organizing, a 67 Sueños Alum. A program that gave voice to undocumented youth and allies with students in mixed status families, through political education in the form of organizing and activism. She was part of The Anastacio Project by NAKA Dance Theater, through Eastside Arts Alliance, a project that shines light on the similarities in state sponsored violence against Black and Brown bodies, through police and border patrol. She started working at E.B.A.Y.C. in 2016 as an Academic Mentor at Urban Promise Academy. She recently left this position to join 67 Sueños as Program Coordinator. Guisela is passionate about being a positive mentor in Oakland youths lives, and hopes to have a lasting impact with the youth she serves, like her mentors had with her.


Rhummanee Hang (9/4 panelist) 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).


Enrique Cristobal Meneses (9/11 panelist) 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 continuing to work alongside our communities to bring the change we need. 


Jessica S. Yamane (9/11 panelist) 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.  




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. Today, AIR continues this legacy supporting the next generation of artistic leaders in the field. 



The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center’s (APICC) mission is to support and produce multidisciplinary art reflective of the unique experiences of Asian Pacific Islanders living in the United States. APICC was founded in 1996 by representatives of five nonprofit arts groups: Asian American Dance Performances, First Voice, Asian Improv aRts, the Asian American Theater Company, and Kearny Street Workshop. Since 1998, the center has promoted the artistic and organizational growth of San Francisco’s API arts community by organizing and presenting the annual United States of Asian America Festival as well as commissioning contemporary art for and by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. 


In the Movement  is supported by Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, ODC Theater, California 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, Ny Nourn, Ben Wang, 67 Sueños, Pablo Paredes, Jacqueline Garcia-Martinez, Golden Gate National Recreation Center, Marty McGee.

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