Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

Convergent Waves: NYC 5/25-5/27 on Seaport Museum’s tall ship Wavertree


The award-winning Lenora Lee Dance, in collaboration with the South Street Seaport Museum, presents the World Premiere of the immersive, site-responsive, multimedia dance performances


Convergent Waves: NYC


1885 tall ship Wavertree at the South Street Seaport Museum
Permanently moored at Pier 16 (Fulton and South Streets), New York City
Saturday–Monday, May 25–27, 2024
1pm & 3:30pm shows


FREE admission, reservations required, limited capacity
Performances will begin on time, please arrive early.
Tickets and more information:

Additional images by Alice Chacon

“Convergent Waves: NYC” video teaser


Come aboard the Seaport Museum’s 1885 tall ship Wavertree, where the contemporary dance performance will unfold against the backdrop of this historic vessel. Choreographed by award-winning dancer-artistic director Lenora Lee and the talented performers, this slate of dance vignettes has been inspired by and created specifically for Wavertree to artfully showcase an interactive journey through different areas of the ship, while delving into the rich history of this international cargo vessel—the last of its kind. Dance will take place in the massive cargo hold, the forecastle where the crew ate and slept, the captain’s saloon, and more. The piece will provide insight into the unseen lives of the laborers who helped to build New York City into the global hub it is today and the unexpected role of the sea as a site for freedom from the racial and gender barriers of the era.

Sign up today to ensure your spot for a unique experience that weaves together movement, history, and maritime spirit.

The audience will not be seated during the one-hour event and will actively move throughout the ship to witness this site-specific performance to experience intimate and engaging moments with performers that include video projection, recorded original music, and text. Access to Wavertree for this program involves climbing a few stairs, walking up an angled gangway, and descending a few stairs onto the deck. The lower decks are accessible via stairs, while the upper deck requires navigating steep ladder-like stairs.

In the interest of safety for our dancers, performances will not take place in the rain. Advanced registration is encouraged for this free event but walkups will be accommodated as possible.


Audience Feedback from previous LLD immersive performances:

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

“It was brilliant and emotionally powerful.”




by Johnny Huy Nguyễn


Who are the people that have built the United States? What are their stories? 

In the U.S. today, we are seeing the chasm of wealth inequality widen and the cult of personality grow for singular figures like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. In 2022, CEOs on average received 344.3 times the annual average salary of production workers in the key industry of their firm in the U.S. Within the next decade, economists estimate that the world is on course to see its first trillionaire.  

Yet how has this wealth been attained? On the back of workers; those who must labor to survive and endure dehumanizing labor conditions with little recourse. In researching for this piece, we learned that many of the ship’s crew generally consisted of men from economically poor regions of the world for whom employment aboard a sailing vessel was not an adventure, but a necessity. They worked long days tending to the needs of the ship for low pay. Who were these men who were gone months to even years at a time, struggling to keep their souls burning in the ubiquitous damp freeze, as the sea battered their bodies without a doctor on board?

Convergent Waves: NYC seeks to give these workers lost to time voice – to share not only their struggles, but their humanity, their dreams, and their lives. To honor their role in building New York City as a center of trade and connecting it to the rest of the globe. To acknowledge those who labor unrecognized in the modern day and recognize their right to humanity.



Tall Ship Wavertree was built in 1885. Only 20 years out from the abolition of slavery and 3 years out from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. From 1885 to 1910, Wavertree circumnavigated the globe at least three times and called at ports all around the world, including: Ireland, Germany, France, and Belgium; Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina; Sri Lanka, India, Burma, and Singapore; Australia; Canada, and the United States— landing here in New York in 1895.

Black men who found opportunities in the harbors as sailors were heavily integrated despite American laws restricting employment for Black people even after abolition. Life at sea was a way to escape enslavement and earn a free living in free states and in foreign ports.

Women also found their way aboard ships, but in secrecy. Disguising themselves as men, women sought better wages or to live a life without gender-based restrictions. The life of a sailor, though harsh and unforgiving, gave many men and women opportunities that were forbidden to them on land.

It was not uncommon for the ship’s Master to bring his family aboard. With many voyages lasting months or years, the only way to keep the family together was to bring them on the journey. While captains’ wives typically had no official duties, there are a number of examples of women learning navigation, and in one case even taking command of the ship after the captain had fallen ill.



Yuri Tang played by Naoko Brown

陳加恩 Chan Ga Yun played by IJ Chan

Sailing Master Tang played by Peter Cheng

Violet Kim Preto played by Flora Hyoin Kim Han

Lynette Preto played by Lynn Huang

Charlie Retcho played by Nelson Enrique Mejia Jr. 

First Mate Salcedo played by Miguel Miranda

Mikaela Preto played by Mikaela Morisato

Rigger Dỗ played by Johnny Huy Nguyễn 

Boatswain Patterson played by Caleb Patterson

Captain Preto played by Shannon Preto

Carpenter Woods played by Brandon Woods



Captain Preto. Oversees the daily operations of the ship and brokers deals in the tramp trade. He’s fallen ill on this leg of the journey and finds himself needing to delegate his duties.

Lynette Preto. Captain Preto’s wife. In her time on the ship, she has learned navigation and with Captain Preto ill, helps take command of the ship. In the eye of the storm, she aids in bringing the ship, crew, and her family towards safety. 

Violet Preto. Captain Preto’s eldest daughter takes responsibility for the family’s chores and assists her father with any of his additional duties on the ship. She misses the mainland but feels a great duty to her family and the ship.

Mikaela Preto. Captain Preto’s youngest daughter born on a ship, she knows little of life on the mainland and has a strong attachment to the Wavertree and its crew.

Yuri Tang. An ethereal presence of the sea calling out to the crew of the ship as they long for loved ones and their hearts ache for home. She appears to Sailing Master Tang in the form of his wife back home.

First Mate Salcedo. Hailing from Peru and the son of a fisherman. Often at odds with Sailing Master Tang, his pride gets the best of him as he steers the ship into a storm. 

Sailing Master Tang. Coming from a long line of sailors, his father and grandfather worked for the East India Company. Close confidante to Captain Preto. He dreams of the warm seas of the Pacific and his beloved wife. 

Rigger Dỗ. Coming from a family of peasants, he works to send the little money he makes back to his wife and children. He cares deeply for the wellbeing of his peers.

Boatswain Patterson. Straightforward in manner with no deep ties to his former life on land. Finds himself drawn to the captain’s daughter, Mikaela.

Charlie Retcho. Chose to exchange the harsh work of the factories for the harsh work of the sea. A newer crew member looking to leave his past behind and live in the present.

陳加恩 Chan Ga Yun. Rejecting the roles assigned to women of her day, she has joined the crew disguised as a man. Her choice leaves her at odds with her family, as she longs to see the world.

Carpenter Woods. With few opportunities for Black men on the mainland, he works hard saving money to start his own trading business in Brazil, hoping to find true freedom.

Conceived, Produced & Directed by Lenora Lee

Choreography: Lenora Lee in collaboration with Performers / Dance Collaborators: Naoko Brown (Boston), IJ Chan (Boston), Peter Cheng (NYC), Flora Hyoin Kim Han (Boston), Lynn Huang (SF), Nelson Enrique Mejia Jr. (NYC), Miguel Miranda (NYC), Mikaela Morisato (NYC), Johnny Huy Nguyễn (SF), Caleb Patterson (NYC), Shannon Preto, Brandon Woods (NYC)

Recorded Music Composed by Vijay Iyer, Tatsu Aoki, Francis Wong

Text: Genny Lim & the cast

Media Design: Lenora Lee & Olivia Ting

Stage Managers: Shannon Preto & Lucy Tafler

Production Consultant: Hannah Pascoe

Production Assistant: Rebekah Joy Herrera

Translation: Jacinta Wu Goo, Mrs. Chan, Miguel Miranda

Photos: Alice Chacon, Victor Lin, Robbie Sweeny

Partner Organizations: South Street Seaport Museum, Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company


Vijay Iyer
“Ascent”, “Proximity”, “Prayer” composed and performed by Vijay Iyer
“Ghost Time” composed by Vijay Iyer, performed by Fieldwork
The following are used by arrangement with ECM Records:
“Chorale” and “Geese” Composed by Vijay Iyer. Performed by the Vijay lyer Trio.
“Passage” Composed by Vijay Iyer. Performed by Vijay lyer and Wadada Leo Smith.
“Mutation X: Time” Composed by Vijay Iyer. Performed by Vijay Iyer, Miranda Cuckson, Michi Wianko, Kyle Armbrust, and Kivie Cahn-Lipman
“The Empty Mind Receives” Composed and performed by Vijay lyer and Wadada Leo Smith, published by Kobalt Music Publishing America Inc. and Kiom Music. (ASCAP).

Tatsu Aoki
“Let it not fall” composed and performed by Tatsu Aoki, with Kioto Aoki, Jamie Kempkers, Edward Wilkerson Jr., courtesy of Asian Improv Records. “Movement” composed and performed by Tatsu Aoki, with Mwata Bowden, Robbie Hunsinger, Paul Kim, Hide Yoshihashi, courtesy of Southport Records.

Francis Wong
“Revolutionary Process 1.0” (2013) BMI, from the “Trio SF” album (to be released in 2022). Composer and leader: Francis Wong. Performed by Francis Wong, Deszon X. Claiborne, Tatsu Aoki. Courtesy of Asian Improv Records.



LLD Staff & Consultants

Artistic Director: Lenora Lee

Project Consultant: Lucy Tafler

Rehearsal Director: Johnny Huy Nguyễn

Choreographic Assistant: Sawako Ogo

Graphic Design: Olivia Ting

Convergent Waves: NYC is part of a multi-city project made possible in part by National Endowment for the Arts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Companion pieces by Lenora Lee Dance include Convergent Waves: Boston April 2022, Convergent Waves: SF June 2022

The Convergent Waves companion pieces in Boston, San Francisco and NYC are supported by ArtsEmerson, Asian Improv aRts, API Cultural Center, Asian Art Museum, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center / Pao Arts Center, California Arts Council, Chinatown Community Development Center, Fleishhacker Foundation, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, National Endowment for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, South Street Seaport Museum, and by Generous Individuals. The creation, presentation of and production residencies for Convergent Waves: Boston were made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Its creation was also supported in part by an award to Pao Arts Center from the National Endowment for the Arts, and artist residencies at ArtsEmerson, Pao Arts Center, and Bunker Hill Community College.





Lenora Lee Dance
For the last 15 years Lenora Lee Dance (LLD) has pushed the envelope of intimate and large-scale multimedia, immersive dance performance connecting various styles of movement/dance, film, text, research and music to culture, history, and human rights issues. LLD’s works are set in both public and private spaces, inspired by individual stories as well as community strength. From the proscenium, to even underwater, the company’s pieces are site-responsive and immersive calling audiences into deep engagement with the work and environment. Through partnerships locally and nationally, LLD’s work has grown to encompass the creation, presentation and screening of films, museum and gallery installations, civic engagement, and educational programming signifying the power of art as a movement for change., @LenoraLeeDance


About the South Street Seaport Museum
The South Street Seaport Museum, located in the heart of the historic seaport district in New York City, preserves and interprets the history of New York as a great port city. Founded in 1967, the Museum houses an extensive collection of works of art and artifacts, a maritime reference library, exhibition galleries and education spaces, working 19th century print shops, and an active fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of “Where New York Begins.”
#SouthStreetSeaportMuseum #WhereNewYorkBegins
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