The Struggle Is Real: Voices from
the Asian American Pacific Islander Dance Communities

Originally Aired on:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 4:30-6pm EDT
Free for NDEO Members and Non-Members

Moderators: Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox and Daniel Gwirtzman

Panelists: Kawika Alfiche, Phil Chan, Jessica Chen, and Joel Jacinto

This recording features AI live captioning, ASL interpreters,
and will be accessible to audio-only attendees.
Now, suddenly, a year into the pandemic, the longstanding discrimination toward the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities is being discussed outside of these communities. The silenced struggles, all too real, are being amplified. The voices largely not at the table are being heard. The myth that the AAPI is a model minority is being dismantled in a broader light. The reality is that AAPI communities include some of the most economically and educationally distressed in the United States and were among the highest mortality rate of Covid-19. Systemic implicit bias has been woven into the fabric of US culture for far too long.
According to the Asian Pacific Institute, a definition of AAPI includes "all people of Asian, Asian American or Pacific Islander ancestry, who trace their origins to the countries, states, jurisdictions and/or the diasporic communities of these geographic regions."

NDEO is proud to present an exceptional panel of Master Teachers within the Asian American Pacific Islander communities. Come hear these educators talk about their perspectives, and personal and professional journeys. This session will focus on creating cultural awareness, sensitivity and accountability and bringing to the forefront thoughtful conversations on equity from world dance. Participants can ask questions of the panelists through the Chat and Q&A function of Zoom.

Join us and let’s engage in this needed conversation in pursuing the quest for Dance Education for All!

Additional Resources
Bios of Panelists
Kawika Keikiali'ihiwahiwa Alfiche is the Kumu Hula (Master teacher) for Hālau o Keikiali’i and is the Executive Director for the Kaululehua Hawaiian Cultural Center in South San Francisco and Napa, CA, and has been teaching hula and Hawaiian cultural arts for over 28 years. With a mission to preserve and perpetuate all things Hawaiian, Kawika spends his life learning, teaching, and sharing his culture through the hula and cultural arts and continues to teach throughout the globe.  Kumu Kawika is also a composer and recording artist and has released 4 CDs since 2005. 
Phil Chan is a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, and most recently served as the Director of Programming for IVY, connecting young professionals with leading American museums and performing arts institutions. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of the Ailey School. As a writer, he served as the Executive Editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Business Weekly, and the Huffington Post. He was the founding General Manager of the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival, and was the General Manager for Armitage Gone! Dance. He served multiple years on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel and the Jadin Wong Award panel presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance. He serves on the International Council for the Parsons Dance Company, and the Advisory Board of Dance Magazine. He is the author of Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact, and was a 2020 New York Public Library Dance Research Fellow. Photo by Eli Schmidt.
Jessica Chen is choreographer and Artistic Director of J CHEN PROJECT, a modern dance company based in NYC. Her work has been supported by LMCC, DanceNYC, Taiwan Ministry of Culture, Gibney Dance Center, and Jerome Foundation. Jessica’s professional theater credits include choreographing INTERSTATE, a musical about inclusivity and trans community, Fiddler on the Roof at Timberlake Playhouse, The Portal at Minetta Lane Theater (Off-Broadway). Other choreography credits include Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, TEDx Semester at Sea, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, World Expo - USA Pavilion in Shanghai, China, and International Human Rights Arts Festival. Jessica is a proud member of SDC.
Joel Jacinto is co-founder and program director of Kayamanan Ng Lahi, a community-based culture organization focused on the performing arts of the Philippines and the Filipinx diaspora. He has extensive experience in non-profit sector in the areas of health and human services and community economic development and is a longtime board member of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA). He is on a lifelong journey of servant leadership, always in all ways.
Bios of Moderators
Daniel Gwirtzman, producer, choreographer, educator, filmmaker, and dancer, directs the NYC-based Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, celebrating its 23rd Anniversary. His repertory has earned praise for its invention, humor, stylistic diversity, musicality, charisma and accessibility. “Mr. Gwirtzman does know that in dance less can be more” writes The New York Times. The New Yorker describes him as a choreographer of “high spirits and skill.” The nonprofit has been committed to education since its inception, operating with the philosophy that everyone can join the dance.
Cory-Jeanne Murakami Houck-Cox (BA), Nikkei, retired prima ballerina, is a Master Teaching Artist, ABT® Affiliate & Certified Levels Primary-5 ABT NTC. She co-created and performed in Winter War & Proud Heritage, both recipients of Irvine Foundation and National Endowment of the Arts, presented at the Kennedy Center. Her blending of ABT curriculum and national standards was published in Dance Education in Practice (DEiP). Ms. Houck-Cox has worked in all sectors as Guest Artist/Lecturer. Due to her work in the arts and marginalized communities she was named an Aspen Institute Scholar Fellow. Ms. Houck-Cox has served on the Board of JACL, the oldest and largest AAPI Civil Rights organization and has been brought in as an Ombudsman for racially sensitive AAPI discussions at the local, state and federal level.

Learn More about NDEO
The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to advancing dance education centered in the arts for people of all backgrounds. NDEO provides dance artists, educators, and administrators of all backgrounds a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy and research, and access to professional development opportunities that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience. 
You will find NDEO members in a variety of environments including, but not limited to, dance studios, K-12 schools, colleges, performing arts organizations, and community centers.

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