Asian Media Access, along with the African American Guzheng musician Jarrelle Barton, and Unity Dance Company, an Asian fusion dance group, successfully debuted the dance drama – “Resonance” on July 11th at the beautiful Grand Rapids’ Wilcox Theater. Check out our beautiful photo collages from the show.
As the COVID-19 virus spread across the world, an increased number of people of Asian heritages in Minnesota, and more broadly, in many other parts of the U.S. have reported experiencing racism over the past two years. Because COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China, some people felt justified in spreading xenophobic messages that blames people of Asian heritages for this deadly virus. The anti-Asian racism we face only escalated as national leaderships continued to use terms like “Chinese Virus” and “Kung Flu Virus” toward Asians. Racist actions ranging from using xenophobic and racial slurs, to refusing customer services, to deadly physical assaults had all increased. WE HOPE our newly created dance drama RESONANCE CAN help slow and REVERSE THE TREND, and to highlight the beauties of cross-cultural collaboration/understanding to support inter-cultural harmony. The Dance Drama highlighted the pandemic impacts on families, and incorporated 3 new Guzheng music in reflecting the composer’s experience with COVID: from just learning about COVID, not paying much attention, to realizing the disaster it created, to feeling angry and frustration, then learning to adapt, and end with appreciation and hope for all of us. Not only was the music were beautifully played, and the 22 dancer ensemble from the Unity Dance Company clearly illustrated how pandemic progressed as virus evolved, along with sacrifices of many, to where we are now – a new normal.
One of the dances is to highlight the struggle of Asians during the Anti-Asian hate crimes. Dancers used traditional body movements like twist, tilt, round, curve, lookup, stoop, turn, roll, etc., to express emotions of being labelled and pushed way. Another dance followed, using a clock’s ticking sound to portray the virus multiplying and mutating every second. The precise body techniques stressed such evolutional process in various forms – simply just so amazing to watch. The finale came with the live performance of the Guzheng accompanying the last dance piece, Dancing Phoenix, that emphasized the inner spirits of resiliency and hope for intercultural harmony, and successfully closed the show.
Throughout the whole performance, dancers not only needed to showcase the techniques of Asian fusion dances, but also to perfect their moral characters and willpower in order to portray the fundamental inner meaning of “Resonance,” to appreciate the collective power working together to bring a better tomorrow.