Friday & Saturday, October 12th & 13th, 8pm and
Sunday, October 14th, 3:30pm
Dance Mission Theater
3316 – 24th St @ Mission, SF, CA 94110
Admission: $15-25 in advance online, $20-25 at the door
Info: www.LenoraLeeDance.com or email Lenora@asianimprov.org
with Kei Lun Martial Arts & Enshin Karate, South San Francisco Dojo
Artistic Direction by Lenora Lee, media design by Olivia Ting, music by Francis Wong, text by Genny Lim, and videography directed by Tatsu Aoki / filmed by Ben Estabrook & Eric Koziol
Co-presented by Asian Improv aRts, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, and Cameron House. Community Partners: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Asian Women’s Shelter, Asian Anti-Trafficking Collaboration, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women
Support: Zellerbach Family Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, Grants For the Arts/SF Hotel Tax Fund, WKK Donor-Advised Fund, San Francisco Foundation, and Individual Donors.
LLD’s 5th Anniversary performances share a breadth of Lenora’s large-scale interdisciplinary work. This program of three pieces represents a trilogy of works addressing key experiences in the Chinese American narrative.
Passages: For Lee Ping To (2010) tells the story of Lee’s grandmother’s immigration through Angel Island during the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act. It utilizes historical documents as source material and includes transcripts of Lee Ping To’s interrogation during her incarceration on the island. Passages was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.
Reflections (2011), delves into the experiences of 3 generations of men in their search for a sense of place in American society. It addresses the struggle for dominance and survival, the pursuit of wisdom, and ultimately the quest for peace. Reflections was developed through the support of the CounterPULSE Artist Residency Commissioning Program.
The Escape (2012), is inspired by stories of women who had become vulnerable upon arrival into the U.S. during the early 20th Century. The project seeks to shed light on the experiences of these women in the context of the social history of the period for Chinese in America as well as for women in the society as a whole with the struggles and achievements of the 20th Century Women’s Movement, which took on such issues as child labor and human trafficking.
The integrated movement language of the work will bring together contemporary modern dance, Chinese and Japanese martial arts, Chinese classical dance, dragon and lion dance. The multimedia projection will highlight site-specific re-creations of experiences in Cameron House, a historic five-story building in SF Chinatown from the period explored in the work. From its founding as the Mission Home for Girls in 1874 until the 1930s, Cameron House assisted over 2,000 women who sought shelter and education or sought refuge from forced domestic labor or servitude. These women came through CH to recover their lives and realize positive contributions to the community and society.
The recorded voiceover text will be drawn from newspaper articles, community accounts, and original poetry. The music will refer to the multiple cultural influences that make up the Chinese American experience including traditional Chinese music, the Presbyterianism of Cameron House, and the emerging cultural expressions of the music in the 1920’s such as Jazz and Chinatown / North Beach street band music. The Escape is part of a larger commissioned work to be performed at the de Young Museum as part of their 2013 Artist Fellows program.
Building community through sharing stories
Chinatown has existed as a community since the Gold Rush, and yet our community stories have not been fully told. In fact there are many aspects of our history that have been hidden. These stories must be recovered, re-told and interpreted for our current generation and for generations to come. Through Lenora’s unique artist vision rooted in her and her family’s experience in Chinatown, these stories are being shared in a compelling way within the community and with the broader multicultural audiences of the Bay Area. What has been particularly powerful is the feeling in the Chinese community that the time has come for the truth of this community’s ordeal during the period of Exclusion. With the visibility of our community at an apex with the election of San Francisco’s and Oakland’s first Chinese American mayors, it is a particularly appropriate learning moment to promote an appreciation of the sacrifices that have been made in the journey of our community.
About the Artists
The mission of Lenora Lee Dance (LLD) is to give artistic voice to the experiences of Asian Americans. LLD pursues this through the creation and presentation of interdisciplinary dance works integrating movement, music, video projection, and text that tell untold stories of family, community, and transformation in the face of the challenges of building a life in America. www.LenoraLeeDance.com
Kei Lun Martial Arts is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the cultural legacies of the lion dance, dragon dance, and martial arts. Some members also practice Chinese healing arts, painting, calligraphy, and making/restoring costumes and equipment used in the Chinese lion dance. www.keilun.com
The mission of Enshin Karate, SSF Dojo is to engage in rigorous karate training as a means of developing our abilities as martial artists and as a way of improving on our character as human beings. 100% of the Dojo’s proceeds are contributed to various agencies that are engaged in social justice and/or community organizing.
Lenora Lee (artistic director, dancer, choreographer) is a native San Franciscan and has been creating and performing work since 1998. For the last 14 years she has been an integral part of the San Francisco and New York Asian American contemporary dance and creative music communities and has directed, choreographed, and produced her own works performing nationally and internationally. In the past three years, however, she has pursued the realization of large-scale interdisciplinary works integrating dance, media design, martial arts, music, and text that share the still largely untold story of how Chinese struggled to immigrate to America and built a viable community under the extremely hostile conditions of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Lenora’s projects have been presented by the de Young Museum, CounterPULSE Artist Residency Commissioning Program, Asian Improv aRts, Chinese Historical Society of America Museum, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, and Cameron House.