35th Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival Presents Gen

Article by Xi Lu
Photo credit Niko

“Where are your roots? Here are ours.” is a self -reflective question that we’ve been asked unaccounted times. This performance is inspired by Stories of Asian Americans, conceived and directed by Wan Zhao with original text written by the ensemble. This year Gen performance is helping to support the Arts in Honor of APA Heritage Month, which took place at 440 Studios, located in Lafayette Street.

The dance features 4 young Asian actresses who have studied and lived in New York City for more than 10 years. Their main goal is to have a curated theatrical event in collaboration with several other artist groups in NYC. The show is organized by the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans (CAPA) and AsianInNY is a proud sponsor.

CAPA is a New York-based advocacy organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Their goal is to build partnerships with community organizers as they help various organizations reach new audiences. For 35 years, CAPA has been at the forefront of creating and sustaining personalized opportunities for nonprofits, businesses, artists, and individuals.

AsianInNY is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect the Asian community, using a versatile platform that engages their audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City.

Eiko Kawashima

“Gen” focuses its story on Chinese culture. It draws inspiration from the 145th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad completion and poems in Yellow Pearl, a historical publication from the Basement Workshop. “Gen” is able to weave the history of 150 years of Asian American history into a 90-minute modern theater dance piece. Each actress acts naturally and lets their body flow with the music. Every movement conveys a feeling, whether it be pain, happiness, sadness or nostalgia.

Wan Zhao

The story is told by four young Asian ladies from different cultural backgrounds, including Inner Mongolian, Filipino, Taiwanese and Japanese. The costume and set designer Sohhee Oh is from Korea . Each actress represents a different life stage of the heroine. They involve their own individual emotions and feelings in the story.

Vanessa Rappa

The mix of cultures represents modern Asian Americans, in other words, their “Gen”. Improvisation clearly plays a very important role in the performance. The show concludes with an interrogator questioning each actress, giving them an opportunity to reveal their personality and history. Audiences are left wondering whether the interrogation was meant for the actresses themselves, or the characters that the actresses portrayed.

Shan Y. Chuang

“Gen” was brilliant, engaging and educational. It teaches its viewers about a history that a majority of people may not be aware of. It makes use of powerful choreography, lighting, music and visual projections to create a gripping narrative, and will no doubt leave audiences in awe.

Robert Lee, Stephen Chen, Corky Lee

Stephen Chen, Corky Lee, Wan Zhao

Sohhee Oh, Peter Fanelli

AsianInNY

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AsianInNY.com is New York’s leader in Asian networking and a multi-cultural entertainment site. AsianInNY has established itself as the premier social and cultural authority for Asians in New York City. AsianInNY maintains the highest standards in providing reliable online content and producing live offline events. AsianInNY seeks to inspire, educate, and connect our community, using a versatile platform that engages our audience via a multi-layered digital presence that showcases the best of New York City. Our pages are updated daily with a rich cultural mix of news, events, interviews, and more. AsianInNY: Connect with Everything Asian!