Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

LLD’s 15th Anniversary Season February 2-4, 2024 at Dance Mission Theater!


Asian Improv aRts and API Cultural Center present 

Lenora Lee Dance’s 15th Anniversary Season

with World Premieres of In Visibility and Convergent Waves: EP

by the award-winning company Lenora Lee Dance


at Dance Mission Theater – 3316 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Friday February 2nd and Saturday February 3rd @ 8pm, 

Sunday February 4 @ 2pm

Performances will begin on time, please arrive early.


In Visibility (15 minutes) is an immersive piece inspired by the organizing to stop the prison to ICE detention pipeline in California. It  focuses on the separation of families and mass detention of immigrants as forms of incarceration, and serves as a meditation on reconciliation and restorative justice, speaking to the power of individuals and communities to transcend.


Convergent Waves: EP (45 minutes) highlights experiences of Chinese and Latin American migration in El Paso over the decades and as Title 42 came to an end. This piece is narrated through the voices of those living in these cities for generations, as well as those working on the ground providing resources and support for the individuals and families crossing the border.



Dance Mission Theater

3316 24th Street (between Mission & Valencia Streets), SF, CA 94110, (415) 894-1187

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



$25 – $60

For more info:,

For questions email, or call (415) 570-8615‬


Video teasers:

In Visibility 

Convergent Waves: EP 


Content Advisory: The audio score for this performance contains individuals sharing about experiences of trauma, incarceration, and ICE detention. Parts of these stories may be triggering for some audience members. 

Press Responses from LLD’s 2022 In the Movement production: 

”a masterful example of how art can be used in support of social justice… personal, heartrending, and enthralling” Jen Norris Dance Reviews

“Their bodies become pathways for retelling: spiraling, sensing, pressing, balancing, tracing, holding, falling, reaching, rearranging….We need to feel all this depth.”

Melissa Lewis Wong

Conceived, Produced & Directed by Lenora Lee

Choreography by Lenora Lee in collaboration with the Performers / Dance Collaborators

Performers / Dance Collaborators: Victoria Amador, Lynn Huang, SanSan Kwan, Sebastian Le, Gilberto Martínez Martínez, Johnny Huy Nguyen, Catalina O’Connor

Rehearsal Director: Johnny Huy Nguyen

Additional Dance Collaborators (Video): Michelle Pacillas López & Andrea Saucedo of Mountain Movement Dance Company, El Paso

Recorded music directed by Francis Wong & Tatsu Aoki

Vocals by Helen Palma

Media Design by Lenora Lee & Olivia Ting

Videography by Lenora Lee

Light Design by Harry Rubeck

Interviewee Voiceover: Serafin Andrade, Mario Narciso Ávila Melgar, Jon-Michael Blowe, Maddie Boyd, Sami DiPasquale, Keith Fong, Sarah Lee, Melissa M. López, Lori Navarrete, Salesh Prasad, Mae Yee Quon, Lydia Yee Woo, Anonymous

Resource Partners: ABARA, Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc., Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Project Consultant: Lucy Tafler

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 15 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., IG: @LenoraLeeDance





In response to global migration in a polarizing world: Abara inspires connections beyond borders through mutual understanding, education, and meaningful action in pursuit of narrative, systems, and personal change. Abara hosts immersive border learning experiences, supports dozens of migrant shelters on both sides of the border, and is developing Abara House, a Borderland Center for Beloved Community sitting on a historic border river crossing. Abara envisions a global beloved community flourishing through justice, peace, healing and transformation..,


Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc. (DMRS) is the largest provider of free and low-cost immigration-related legal services in West Texas and New Mexico. Established in 1986, DMRS provides a comprehensive range of legal representation and advocacy services to the immigrant community. These services include providing representation in family-based immigration cases, to survivors of domestic violence, trafficking and other crimes, to individuals seeking United States Citizenship, to individuals before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) who are in removal (deportation) proceedings, and to unaccompanied minor children.  Currently, DMRS serves more than 25,000 individuals every year.,,,


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center is a national non-profit organization that provides critical support at the intersection of criminal and immigration law through legal analysis, policy work, trainings, and technical assistance.



Victoria Amador (dance) is a 1st-gen, Chicana, 4th year transfer currently attending UC Berkeley. She is majoring in Psychology with a Dance and Performance Studies minor. Victoria has been dancing since she was 5 years old, is trained in many dance genres, and still continues to explore movement. She plans to continue to dance for as long as she is able and hopes that she can keep dance a diverse, inclusive, and body-positive environment. Finally, she hopes you can enjoy and learn from the show! Instagram: a.victoria99

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.

Sebastian Le (dance) graduated from the University of San Francisco with a major in Business Management and a minor in Dance. He is a contemporary dancer and is a part of Dance Generators, a USF based intergenerational dance company. With Dance Generators he worked with Liv Schaffer and Dazaun Soleyn on Pause to Bridge at ODC. IG:sebastian.l3

Catalina O’Connor (dance) is a modern dancer and teacher. She attended Saint Mary’s College of California and studied modern dance, as well as Mexican Folklórico and Flamenco, along with Hispanic Literature, and Art History. She is currently teaching with HeART with LINES and the Shawl-Anderson Youth Program. She has had the honor to work with Andrew Merrell, Liz Duran/Piñata Dance Collective, Davalos Dance, Chingchi Yu, and Andi Salazar.


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 in New York City with Jonathon Appels, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Chen and Dancers, and Maura Nguyen Donohue/In Mixed Company, among others. In the Bay Area she has danced with Scott Rubin, Chingchi Yu, and Jen Liu.  This is her 11th year with Lenora Lee Dance.  

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.

Gilberto Martínez Martínez (dance) is a Chicanx Queer male-identifying artist originally from the Central Valley. His work integrates nuances of his culture as he works towards an intersectional performance style. He has worked with high school and collegiate levels in choreography and acting studies with a focus on shows in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and modern. He has 6+ years of teaching experience in venues such as Roosevelt High School of the Performing Arts and Fresno City College. Currently, he is substituting experience for learning as he works towards his Theater, Dance, and Performance studies degree at UC Berkeley. He hopes to inspire others to love dance in their body. IG: @sir_gils 

Helen Palma (music) is a graduate of SF State University, receiving 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 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. The Helen Palma Trio performs in venues throughout the Bay Area focusing on Latin and Brazilian jazz, R&B and pop., IG, Linkedin 

Johnny Huy Nguyễn (dance, rehearsal direction) is a second generation Vietnamese American multidisciplinary dance artist based in Yelamu (San Francisco) and son of courageous refugees. His physical works excavate memory, experience, and possibility into the present, while simultaneously interrogating the social, political, and cultural conditions that shape us. Nguyễn’s work has been presented by the United States of Asian America Festival, 500 Capp St, Asian Art Museum (SF) to name a few. Learn more: IG: @johnny.huy.nguyen

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.



Serafin Andrade Lopez is an organizer who was detained in ICE custody for nineteen months. He was fortunate to be released. Now, his experiences motivate him to continue educating himself to fight the injustices our communities face.  He is working towards a degree in Political Science and Sociology. Serafin wants to use his education and experiences to help change these oppressive policies.

Mario Narcisco Ávila Melgar is a Social Services Coordinator and psychologist in Mexico, with a specialty in social justice and social development. Born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, Mario has collaborated with non-governmental organizations working with vulnerable populations such as those living with HIV, substance abuse, migrant populations along the border and LGBTQI+ groups. 

Jon-Michael Blowe is a native El Pasoan, a lieutenant with the El Paso Fire Department and a registered nurse. He plans to retire from the Fire Department in 2023 after 25 years of service to pursue a second career in nursing. He dedicated the last 18 years to training and teaching Capoeira under the direction of world renowned masters. Through this art form, he has traveled extensively, co-founded a samba percussion band and opened a martial arts studio.

Maddie Boyd is an immigrant’s rights attorney based in the Bay Area.

Sami DiPasquale is the executive director of Abara, a nonprofit based on the border in El Paso, Texas. Sami grew up in the Middle East, holds a BA in International Development and MBA focused on International Business. He has spent the past two decades working alongside refugee and immigrant communities in the U.S. and his enduring vision is to join others in bridging divides and moving toward mutual flourishing for all.

Keith Fong is the 4th of Alvalea and Fong Fong’s six children. He has a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering and works as a continuous improvement consultant. He hosts a podcast “Way of the Quality Warrior.” He is married to Maly who also has a Chinese immigrant father and local mother. They have a daughter and son and live in El Paso, TX. His hobbies include photography and hiking and he’s active in professional and alumni organizations.

Sarah Lee (she/her) is a Senior Community Organizer at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Sarah is the daughter of Chinese immigrants from Hong Kong, Venezuela, and Canada. For over 10 years she has organized with student, faith, and immigrant communities on immigrant justice. In her role, she works alongside coalitions that advocate for policies in California that support people criminalized by the immigration and criminal punishment system. Twitter: sleesays

Melissa M. López, Executive Director/Attorney at Law, DMRS, was born and raised in El Paso. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and attended law school at the University of Texas School of Law graduating with a Doctor of Jurisprudence. She returned to El Paso to work as a Staff Attorney at DMRS and has been a practicing immigration attorney ever since. In February 2013 she took on the role as the Executive Director. She regularly presents at the Mexican Consulate and other community presentations. She hosted a weekly radio show, Amor al Migrante, which aired on the Bridge, El Paso’s Catholic Radio Station.

Lori Navarrete, M.P.H.

Lori is a native El Pasoan working as a grant writer and editor in the health sciences. Previously she worked for the U.S.-México Border Health Commission. Before returning home she assisted with a study on nutritional supplements for children in Senegal. During this time she also researched the impacts of Arizona policies on public health services among immigrant populations. She earned her Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Trinity University.

Salesh (Sal) Prasad came to the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident at the age of 6. He participated in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which he became the chairman of. He earned a GED and has taken over 17 vocational trades. His goal is to work for Asian Prisoner Support Committee and be part of immigration reform. He is also part of Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice, Asian Law Caucus. 

Mae Yee Quon was born and raised in El Paso in 1948. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor in Education and received her master’s in educational administration from Sul Ross University. She worked for the Ysleta Independent School District teaching secondary science and as a secondary school administrator and retired in 2011. She is active in her church, El Paso Baptist Chinese Church teaching Children’s Church or playing the piano for worship service. She is also a member of the Chinese Benevolent Society.  

Lydia Yee Woo was born and raised in El Paso and is the youngest of four children. Soon after graduating from the University of Arizona with a BS in Microbiology she moved to San Antonio, Texas where she worked as an environmental real estate specialist. In 2022, she relocated back to El Paso to be closer to family. She is an active member in her local chinese church and her hobbies include gardening, traveling and cooking. 



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. 




Dance Mission connects and empowers diverse Bay Area communities and artists through all aspects of dance and dance theater, including the production of new works, instruction, and performance. We are an artist-driven, feminist organization dedicated to building community, addressing social justice issues, exploring cultural identities, promoting inclusivity, and creating a more peaceful world through collective action.  Many women-identified artists, artists of color, and culturally specific ensembles consider Dance Mission to be their artistic home. Master teachers of dance and music have created a thriving intergenerational community celebrating cultural traditions, welcoming students of all backgrounds. Dance Mission is also the home of Krissy Keefer’s Dance Brigade, San Francisco’s groundbreaking, feminist social-change modern dance company.


LLD’s 15th Anniversary Home Season is supported by Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, Dance Mission Theater, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and by Generous Individuals. 

Special Thanks to: ABARA, Stefanie Block Uribarri of Pearl Properties, Paul de la Peña-Franceschi,  Max Grossman & El Paso History Alliance (Facebook), El Paso Historical Society, University of Texas, El Paso Special Collections, Gloria Espinoza, Maureen Lam, Nancy Lam, Cindy Liou, Aracely López, Melissa Melpignano, Mountain Movement Dance Company (El Paso), Manny Pacillas, Edith Tapia

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