In July of 2010, dNaga was invited to the Chen Dance Center in the heart of Chinatown, New York City to perform Noodle Women. It’s a dance that explores cultural practices, developmental disability, noodles, and being a girl in a Chinese family. When Pamela Wu, Producing Director of the San Francisco based Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, invited me to work with Flo Oy Wong, there was no hesitation in agreeing. Being half Chinese with a Hong Kongese mother, I jumped at the opportunity to make a work about this acclaimed Chinese American visual artist. Seeing Wong’s art make no apologies for its cultural content, gave me permission and encouragement to create this work, coming full circle as an Asian American artist. Noodle Women premiered in May 2008 during the San Francisco opening of Flo Oy Wong’s visual art retrospective 70/30: Seventy Years of Life, Thirty Years of Art. Noodle Women was also performed with Ms. Wong’s exhibit “Raising the Voices” in October of 2008, and again in March of 2009 in the greater Bay Area. Noodle Women was created for Ms. Wong’s piece about her developmentally disabled sister, Li Hong.
Within the traditional Chinese culture, children (especially girls) are not encouraged to present themselves in the way that I have choreographed for these young dancers (especially when creating movements that suggest imperfection, or being different). My hope is that awareness of the important themes the dance addresses can lead to more communication, acceptance and support within our own families.
Silly, serious and deep, Noodle Women incorporates personal stories captured in interviews and crafted with live music on the Marimba Lumina, composed and performed by Joel Davel.
The dancers: Catalina Jackson Uruena, Lucie Jerome, Allison Naganuma, Julia Milani, Lihong Chan, Julia Yoshino, Mana Hayakawa and Chaityn Isaacson-Brewster, and Artistic Director Claudine Naganuma.