Interdisciplinary dance works giving artistic voice to Asian Americans

Lenora Lee Dance tours to New York City, December 2018!

 

12/12/2018 : Museum of Chinese in America

215 Centre St, New York, New York 10013

Wednesday, 6:30pm – 7:30pm MOCAtalks

 

Within These Walls by Lenora Lee Dance
artist talk & performance excerpts featuring Lenora Lee & Hien Huynh

In 2017, Lenora Lee Dance launched a world premier of Within These Walls an immersive, multimedia performance work integrating dance, film, music, and research, which premiered in a two-week run 9/9-9/17/17 at the Angel Island Immigration Station. Inspired by experiences of those detained and processed at the Station, Within These Walls transformed and animated these historic spaces into sites for remembrance, as part of a community-wide commemoration of the 135th Anniversary of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, speaking to the power of individuals and communities to transcend. The Exclusion Act tore families apart and resulted in a mass incarceration experience that forever stamps the experience of Chinese in America. The piece will be re-mounted at the Immigration Station along with a sequel in May 2019.

Join us on this special evening at the Museum of Chinese in America, for an in depth conversation and live performance by Lenora Lee and Hien Huynh. 

Tickets are $10 and include Museum general admission. MOCA members receive complimentary tickets. Not a Member? Join today here: MOCAmembership

Photography: Robbie Sweeny

Dancers: Lynn Huang & Hien Huynh

 

 

 

 

12/17/2018 : Chen Dance Center New York City

70 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013

Monday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

 

LIGHT (2017), 57 minutes
by Lenora Lee and Tatsu Aoki

film screening, artist talk with Lenora Lee, Tatsu Aoki & Larry Lee

performance excerpts featuring Hien Huynh, Lenora Lee & Wayne Tai Lee

Awarded Best Experimental Film at the Canada International Film Festival

Inspired by the life of Bessie M. Lee, who, after migrating to New York City, spent two years in indentured servitude, LIGHT is a film in which dance, memory, music and poetry collide in a visual and aural landscape; a meditation on women being propelled into the unknown by courage and faith to risk their lives and everything they have for freedom. In LIGHT, Aoki and Lee highlight the lives of women, including Bessie M. Lee, who through the resilience and triumph over unimaginable experiences, were grounding forces in the creation of the New York Chinatown community in the early 1900s.

Join us for a free special dance film screening, talk back, & performance excerpts from LIGHT (2017)

In association with Lenora Lee Productions, Innocent Eyes and Lenses Films, and Asian Improv aRts, powered by Asian Improv Nation

In memory of Bessie M. Lee 
(1894 – 1955)

Photography: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang

Dancer: Wei-Shan Lai

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Tatsu Aoki (director and filmmaker) is a prolific artist, a filmmaker, composer, musician, felloweducator, and a consummate bassist and shamisen lute player. Based in Chicago, Aoki works in a wide range of musical genres, ranging from traditional Japanese music, jazz, experimental, and creative music and producing experimental films. Aoki studied experimental filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now adjunct associate professor in the Film, Video, and New Media Department, teaching film production and history. He has produced more than 30 experimental films and is one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, appearing in over 90 recording projects. www.tatsuaoki.com

Hien Huynh (dance) was born in Da Nang, Vietnam. Through embodied practice, Hien endeavors to access channels with the inner and outer to circulate awareness and human compassion. He is honored to have performed in the works of Lenora Lee Dance, Kim Epifano, Robert Moses’ Kin, Kinetech Arts, PUSH Dance Company, The MoveMessenger(s), Christy Funsch & Nol Simonse and punkkiCo.

Larry Lee, MSW, recently stepped down as the Executive Director of Womankind, formerly the New York Asian Women’s Center. Womankind is the largest domestic violence agency in the country focused on Asian Americans. It is a premier agency serving survivors of human trafficking and a national model for culturally-centered sexual assault services. Womankind is one of a few victim service agencies funded nationally to dedicate services to survivors of DV age 50 and above. Womankind provides a 24/7 helpline, counseling, case management, advocacy and shelter to survivors and their children. It offers employment, financial literacy, ESL and immigration and family legal services. Larry wrote MAP (Moving Ahead Positively), perhaps the only practice model organized to help survivors of violence in their recovery from trauma. Among other features, MAP utilizes the relationship between the survivor and counselor as the nexus for change and employs Asian wellness techniques – including acupuncture, tai chi, yoga and meditation. In October 2015 NYAWC received the Social Work Image Award from the National Association of Social Workers – NYC for the design and implementation of MAP. Larry successfully proposed and led a collaborative of Asian DV agencies to change Asian community attitudes toward domestic violence. He inspired an art therapy program that successfully engages and creates a community for teen children of DV survivors and a wellness program for highly probable human trafficking survivors. Womankind has collaborated with health, legal and child abuse prevention programs on many funded programs. Larry is a distinguished social work administrator, community leader and civic advocate. He is the founder of the first Mandarin and English dual language and dual culture public school in the Nation. Larry has been honored as a leading New Yorker; a top social worker; and outstanding alumnus of Hunter College.

Lenora Lee (producer, choreography director) Lenora Lee has been a dancer, choreographer, artistic director, and producer for the past 20 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. She has been an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum, a Djerassi Resident Artist, an Artist in Residence at Dance Mission Theater, and was a Visiting Scholar at New York University 2012-2016. She is a 2018 recipient, along with the Chinatown Community Development Center, of the Creative Work Fund award. Her work integrates contemporary dance, film, music, and research and has gained increasing attention for its sustained pursuit of issues related to immigration, global conflict, and its impacts, particularly on women and families. www.LenoraLeeDance.com

Wayne Tai Lee (dance) received a minor in dance from UC Berkeley and works as a professional statistician.  Wayne enjoys learning all matters related to statistics and dancing.

World Premiere of “Beneath The Surface” 10/6 – 10/14/18!

 

Asian Improv aRts and API Cultural Center present

The World Premiere of

 
Beneath The Surface

A new underwater, multimedia experience by Lenora Lee Dance

 

Saturday, 10/6 – 8:30pm

Sunday, 10/7 – 6:30pm & 8:30pm

Saturday, 10/13 – 8:30pm

Sunday, 10/14 – 6:30pm & 8:30pm

Performances will begin on time, please arrive early.

 

Lenora Lee Dance (LLD) celebrates its 11th Anniversary Season with the World Premiere of Beneath The Surface, LLD’s first underwater, multimedia experience premiering in a two-week run 10/6 – 10/14/18. Beneath The Surface serves a meditation on forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption, speaking to the power of individuals to transcend.

Audiences are reoriented for a unique perspective that merges memory, contemporary reality, and social commentary, experiencing epic storytelling inside an underwater world.

 

 

Conceived, Produced & Directed by Lenora Lee

Choreography by Lenora Lee in collaboration with performers Yi-Ting (Gama) Hsu, Hien Huynh, SanSan Kwan, Johnny Nguyen

Music Score by Tatsu Aoki, with Kioto Aoki, JoVia Armstrong, Rami Atassi, Suwan Choi, Coco Elysses, Jamie Kempkers, Edward Wilkerson Jr., Avreeayl Ra

Media Design by Olivia Ting & Lenora Lee

Videography Directed by Lenora Lee

      Filmed by Lenora Lee, Shannon Preto, Joel Wanek

Text by Carl Irons

Voiceover by Hien Huynh

In Water Consulting by Edward Goo

 

LOCATION:
YMCA of San Francisco Chinatown Branch
855 Sacramento (between Stockton & Grant)

 

SUGGESTED PARKING:
Portsmouth Square Parking Garage
733 Kearny (between Clay & Washington)

 

ADMISSION:

There are a VERY LIMITED number of tickets available. Purchase your tickets early!

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Arts Patron – $60 (reserved seating & invitation to VIP celebration with the cast on 10/22/18)

General Admission – $40

Seniors 65+, Students with Valid ID – $30

Standing Room Ticket – $25

You can sign up online on the Waitlist if General admission tickets are sold out, however we are filled to seating capacity for almost all shows.

If a show is completely SOLD OUT, there may be a limited number of tickets for sale at the door, depending on availability. Those arriving without a ticket can put themselves on the Waitlist at the venue. The tickets will be released by Waitlist order and ONLY if space allows.

If there are Standing Room tickets, but no seated tickets available online for a show, we recommend purchasing the Standing Room tickets, rather than arriving with no ticket at all. We cannot guarantee admission if you arrive without the purchase of a ticket beforehand.

For more info: www.LenoraLeeDance.com
For questions or high resolution images, email LenoraLeeDance@gmail.com, (415) 913-8725

We encourage guests with special needs or questions to contact us in advance.

 

 

 

Press Coverage for “Within These Walls”


“‘Beneath the Surface’ may be the hottest ticket in town…The world premiere is another bold undertaking for San Francisco choreographer Lenora Lee…”
– Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle Datebook, August 22, 2018

“As it unfolded, I spun my own narrative from the fragments of spoken text and the poetic grappling of the dancers—on video, live on the pool deck, and underwater.”
– Carla Escoda, KQED Arts, October 2, 2018

 

“What struck me most was how Lee managed to embed the narrative into the installation’s structure. It shows how carefully Lee wove the narrative into everyone’s experience, including the viewer’s.” – Heather Desaulniers, Dance Commentary, 2015

“It starts with one dancer and eventually blooms to six and looks as if the dancers are exploding out of the film and into the world.” – John Wilkins, KQED, 2016

 

Audience Feedback for “Within These Walls” (2017) by Lenora Lee Dance

“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.”

“I was deeply affected and moved by the performance.”

“It was brilliant and emotionally powerful.”

 

 

BIOGRAPHIES

 

LENORA LEE DANCE
LLD’s work integrates contemporary dance, film, music, and research and has gained increasing attention for its sustained pursuit of issues related to immigration, global conflict, and its impacts, particularly on women and families. The company is directed by San Francisco native Lenora Lee, who has been a dancer, choreographer and artistic director for the past 20 years in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. In 2013 she was an Artist Fellow at the de Young Museum, a Djerassi Resident Artist, and was a Visiting Scholar at New York University 2012-2016. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Dance Mission Theater. LLD 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. For the last ten years, LLD has been pushing the envelope of large-scale multimedia 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. www.LenoraLeeDance.com

 

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 San Francisco dance Center, San Francisco Performances, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. www.olivetinge.com

 

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. www.tatsuaoki.org

 

Carl Irons (text) is a writer, poet, and actor who performs public readings and is occasionally privileged to collaborate with some very talented people. Carl also holds a BA in Political Science and has completed significant post graduate work in the field of Public Administration.

 

Yi-Ting (Gama) Hsu (dance), was born and raised in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and loves to create and share. She has trained in various techniques in dance such as 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 moved to San Francisco in 2015 and has danced with Hsu Chen Wei Production, Les Petites Choses Production, David Harrera Performance Company, Lenora Lee Dance, Alyssandra Katherine Dance Project, Epiphany Dance Theater and Kinetech Arts. She’s choreographed “Shi-Ben-Jao-Tu”, “Goodnight Mom”, “Allow”, “coinciDance” and “Arcane keys”. Yi-Ting has produced shows during her studies in Taiwan.  www.gamahsu.com

 

Hien Huynh (dance) was born in Da Nang, Vietnam. Through embodied practice, Hien endeavors to access channels with the inner and outer to circulate awareness and human compassion. He is honored to have performed in the works of Lenora Lee Dance, Kim Epifano, Robert Moses’ Kin, Kinetech Arts, PUSH Dance Company, The MoveMessenger(s) and punkkiCo. 

 

SanSan Kwan (dance) teaches dance and dance studies at UC Berkeley.  She has performed with Jonathon Appels, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Chen and Dancers, Maura Nguyen Donohue/In Mixed Company, and composer Scott Rubin, among others. This is her seventh year with Lenora Lee Dance.  

 

Johnny Huy Nguyen (dance) is a dancer, performance artist, and hip hop educator. In 2007, he was on course to complete a graduate degree in mechanical engineering, but dance completely changed the direction of his life. In addition to Lenora Lee Dance Company, Johnny is a member of Embodiment Project, and has completed productions with Kularts and the Global Street Dance Masquerade. In all of his work, Johnny’s vision is to use his craft and creativity to activate dialogue, healing, and action in ways that are raw, vulnerable, and honest.

 

 

Beneath The Surface is supported in part by San Francisco Arts Commission, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Asian Improv aRts, Asian Improv aRts Midwest, Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Portsmouth Plaza Parking Corporation, DAE Advertising, Donaldina Cameron House, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, and Generous Individuals. Special thanks to Alson & JoAnn Lee, Andy Chu & Aquatics Staff at the YMCA of San Francisco Chinatown Branch.

Sponsored by the YMCA of San Francisco Chinatown Branch. Our mission is to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities by enriching the lives of all people in spirit, mind and body. The Chinatown Y serves over 4,900 individuals a year of all ages with offerings in after school, health and wellness, teen, enrichment, aquatics, and community services. We are committed to building equity through our diversity, inclusion and global engagement efforts. We work to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability, age, cultural background, ethnicity, faith, gender, gender identity, ideology, income, national origin, race or sexual orientation has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.

 

 

PHOTOS by Robbie Sweeny & courtesy of Lenora Lee Dance, featuring:

  1. SanSan Kwan
  2. Yi-Ting Hsu
  3. Hien Huynh
  4. Hien Huynh & Johnny Nguyen
  5. Yi-Ting Hsu, Hien Huynh & SanSan Kwan
  6. Johnny Nguyen & Hien Huynh
  7. SanSan Kwan

December 2017 Performances

 

Upcoming Performances:
 
–     Thursday, 12/7, 7:30pm – LLD principal dancer Yi-Ting Hsu & Idaho State University (ISU) dance students perform Voices and excerpts from LLD’s repertoire as part of the Surviving Voices Symposium, Frazier Hall, ISU
 
–     Sunday, 12/10, 12-12:30pm – LLD performs excerpts of Within These Walls as part of the Chinese Historical Society’s Sunset Project, featuring Lynn Huang, Hien Huynh, Eric Koziol, Chloe Luo, Johnny Nguyen, Shannon Preto, at  Sunset Rec Center – 2201 Lawton St, SF.
 
 
Photo of Hien Huynh, Eric Koziol, Lynn Huang, by Robbie Sweeny

In Gratitude

 

Dear Friends,
 
On this #SmallBusinessSaturday to #GivingTuesday, we invite your participation!
 
2017 marks our 10th Anniversary and has been our most productive year by far. We celebrated with the creation, production, world premiere and national screenings of our 57-minute film LIGHT, which was awarded Best Experimental Film at the Canada International Film Festival. We launched and are selling the beautiful LIGHT DVD and CD soundtrack Box Set.
 
We are deeply grateful for your support of the September world premiere of Within These Walls, a new multimedia, immersive performance at the Angel Island Immigration Station Barracks. This work transformed and animated these historic spaces into sites for remembrance and healing, as part of a community-wide commemoration of the 135th Anniversary of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and as the highlight of LLD’s 10th Anniversary Season.
 
Within These Walls was LLD’s strongest and most ambitious work, and has become one of LLD’s signature pieces. It was an exhilarating experience and brought many to tears, including us. Some say it is the best production they’ve ever seen. Some saw it multiple times, and one person saw 5 out of the 8 performances. The content is so relevant given the current day anti-immigrant climate in this country. It puts forth a compassionate lens on the experiences of immigrants.
 
We feel extremely thrilled about Within These Walls, coming to you with our plans to make a film and DVD box set based on the project, and to share our desire to remount the performance at the Immigration Station during 2018-2019.
 
We deeply appreciate your support and invite you to make a contribution today! 
 
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Your gift will directly support the:
–        Creation of the Within These Walls Film
–        Creation of the Within These Walls DVD Box Set
–        Remounting of the Within These Walls Performance at the Angel Island      Immigration Station
–        World Premiere of Beneath The Surface Underwater Immersive Performance in 2018
–        National Screenings of the 57-minute film LIGHT in 2018
 
We seek to share a sense of gratitude for life and our lived experiences, no matter how challenging, we are here, not just surviving, but thriving. The power in sharing these truths is boundless and with your support, we will continue to envision the possibilities and bring them to life.
 
WIth much appreciation,
Lenora
 
email: LenoraLeeDance@gmail.com
 
 
Audience Feedback:
 
“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, and of course, 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.”
 
“Your performance was indeed historic, an opportunity to trace, embody and heal the wounds of time, and honor the spirits of those who passed through the Immigration Station. The meta for me was the ever present questions of acceptance, inclusion and belonging, true for all of us, but especially now in these difficult times. By allowing us to be with the dancers/immigrants, you and your troupe created a space of resonance. We are all still waiting, aren’t we, for some kind of deeper belonging and transformation….  But in the performance, we could accept each other.”  
 
“It was brilliant and emotionally powerful.”
 
“Scenes at the water’s edge were particularly touching. Four women danced in unison as sailboats floated by, driving home the proximity but intangibility of freedom. The dancers then returned to their dormitories, stoically passing through their first audience of the day as if we were invisible witnesses to an injustice we couldn’t control.
 
No matter which dancer one was following, Within These Walls culminated in a heartbreaking finale in the recreation yard, a sun-drenched acrobatic feat that left just about every performer covered in sweat. The dancers took a bow and were excused to prepare for the day’s second performance. The rest of us made our way to back to the island’s docks, onto ferries and back to freedom.”
 
From the Director:
“It is not enough to live our lives in the safety of our own experiences, as what we’ve known as our foundation can be taken away in the blink of an eye if we are not exercising our voices for justice, equality and compassion.”  – Lenora Lee
 
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Lenora Lee Dance is sponsored by API Cultural Center: a non-profit tax-exempt organization – EIN: 94-3295968. Contributions can be made by credit card at www.LenoraLeeDance.com/donate or sent by check. All donations are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law.
 
Photo of Hien Huynh & Lynn Huang, by Robbie Sweeny