Performing Diaspora 2018 artists Cynthia Ling Lee and Melissa Lewis in conversation. Cynthia Ling Lee: I’m excited to chat about your work today! Tell me a little about the initial inspiration for your work. Where did it come from? Melissa Lewis: I had this wild and weird dream some time ago. Bruce Lee (or some version […]
Cynthia Ling Lee
About This Artist
Cynthia Ling Lee (concept and choreography) instigates postcolonial, queer, and feminist-of-color interventions in the field of experimental performance. Trained in North Indian classical kathak and US postmodern dance, she is committed to intimate collaborative processes and foregrounding marginalized voices and aesthetics. Cynthia’s interdisciplinary performance work has been presented at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop (New York), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Painted Bride Arts Center (Philadelphia), Links Hall (Chicago), SZENE Salzburg (Salzburg), Taman Ismail Marzuki (Jakarta), and Chandra-Mandapa: Spaces (Chennai). Cynthia was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Exchange Fellowship, a NET/TEN grant, and a Taipei Artist Village Residency. Influential teachers and mentors include Simone Forti, Eiko & Koma, Judy Mitoma, Pallabi Chakravorty, Bandana Sen, Kumudini Lakhia, Anjani Ambegaokar, and the contact improvisation community. Cynthia is an assistant professor of dance in the Department of Theater Arts at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Post Natyam Collective, a transnational, web-based coalition of dance artists whose work triangulates between art-making, activism, and theory. www.cynthialinglee.com
Shyamala Moorty (direction) is dedicated to collaborative and transformative art making practices drawing from dance, theater, multimedia and community engagement. A founding member of the Post Natyam Collective (www.postnatyam.net) and the Dancing Storytellers (www.dancingstorytellers.com), Shyamala has toured her solo and collaborative work across the U.S. as well as to Canada, Europe, and India. Her work was acclaimed as a “tour de force” by the Los Angeles Times, and applauded for “that special kind of healing that art can accomplish” in the book Contemporary Indian Dance by Ketu Katrak.
Anna Friz (sound design and composition) is a Canadian sound and media artist. Since 1998, she has created and presented new audio art and radiophonic works internationally. She also composes atmospheric sound works and sonic installations for devised theater, contemporary dance, film, and solo performance that reflect upon public media culture and historical memory, political landscapes and infrastructure, the body and signal space, and critical speculative fictions. She has worked with choreographers such as Ame Henderson of Public Recordings, Dana Gingras of Holy Body Tattoo/Animals of Distinction, and Gerald Casel Dance and is a regular collaborator with Toronto-based Public Studio on multi-channel film installations. Friz is Assistant Professor in Film and Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz.
Scott Trafton (dramaturg) is a cultural historian specializing in American racial and ethnic history, critical race theory, performance studies, and archive research. He has provided dramaturgical research ranging from nineteenth-century Asian American communities in California to twenty-first African American performance art and the works of William Shakespeare. He holds a Ph.D. from Duke University and has held teaching, research, and fellowship positions at the University of South Carolina, George Mason University, the National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Library of Congress.
Clarissa Dyas is a dance artist who was born in Berkeley, CA. She graduated from San Francisco State University in 2017 with a B.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Health Education. Clarissa is a company member of Flyaway Productions and ka·nei·see | collective along with being a collaborating member of bananrama. Additionally, she was a company member of Robert Moses’ Kin during the 2017-2018 season and has performed in works by Brenda Way, KT Nelson, Raissa Simpson, Sarah Bush and many others. Clarissa is excited to be a part of Lost Chinatowns!
Lynn Huang trained in modern dance, ballet, and Chinese dance and has performed nationwide for dance companies based in New York and San Francisco including HT Chen & Dancers, Philein/Ziru Productions, and Lenora Lee Dance. 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 with a BA in English Literature.
Zoe Huey is an Oakland based dancer, choreographer, and visual artist. She recently received her BA from Bennington College in Vermont, where she studied with Dana Reitz, Terry Creach, Susan Sgorbati, Samuel Wentz, and Dai Jian, and danced for Elena Demyanenko, Rebecca Brooks, and Stuart Shugg. In the summer of 2017 Zoe was in residence at Lake Studios Berlin with her visual art and movement practices. In June 2018 she premiered two works: a collaborative piece PUSH and a durational piece Nearly in the Martha Hill Dance Theater in Bennington, Vermont. Over the summer she was in residence with Nina Haft at the Milkbar farm in Cotati, CA, exploring improvisational site specific work.
About this Project
Lost Chinatowns is a dance-theater work exploring the destruction, lost vibrancy, and historical erasure of Santa Cruz’s Chinatowns from 1860-1955. Santa Cruz, now known for being the ultra-liberal “leftmost” city of the US, was once the center of virulently xenophobic anti-Chinese racism in California in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lost Chinatowns aims to make connections between the historical othering of Asian bodies and current xenophobic regimes in the era of Trump as an act of interracial solidarity between people of color; the work is being developed in part through Borders Resurfacing, a transnational creative exchange by the Post Natyam Collective.
Cover photo by Crystal Birns
I dreamed Bruce Lee was my father by Melissa Lewis (顾眉) runs Thu-Sat, Dec 6-8 and 13-15 as part of a double-billed performance with Cynthia Ling Lee. Get tickets to Performing Diaspora 2018 at counterpulse.org/performing-diaspora-2018
Throughout the month of November, I hosted a birthday fundraiser in service of the CounterPulse Fellowship for Arts Workers. I want to extend deepest gratitude for all who contributed. Your efforts will support two bright and aspiring young professionals, Maya Nixon and Samantha Kuykendall, through the first full expression of the program–a paid learn-work opportunity, […]
Performing Diaspora 2018 artists Melissa Lewis (顾眉) and Cynthia Ling Lee on Cynthia’s work, Lost Chinatowns. Original conversaiton on Oct 27, 2018 Melissa Lewis: I love hearing about how your work began. Can you share the story of where things started with this piece? Cynthia Ling Lee: It all started with the search for groceries. Asian […]
By Jeanne Pfeffer, Director of Producing & Advancement Interview on September 7, 2018 I’ve known Charles for over ten years now. I helped him launch his company FACT/SF from 2009-2014 and now serve as President of their Board of Directors. I caught up with Charles recently over a beer to learn about his current […]