Dancing Moons Festival 2025 – Angel Island Project

 

Angel Island Project

A Dancing Moons Festival Production

Featuring works by Natasha Adorlee, Phil Chan, Lawrence Chen, Ye Feng, Elaine Kudo, and Ashley Thopiah!

“Bites of the immigrant experience served tastily” 
….a program packed with diverse and punchy snippets by Asian American choreographers – a sampling well worth seeing…
Rachel Howard

San Francisco Chronicle

 Full Performance in 2025

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Based on Huang Ruo’s composition, Angel Island, which took its inspiration from the poems carved into the walls by detainees held at the immigration station between 1910-1940, OBC will realize this 70-minute oratorio for 4 voices and string quartet in a two-year phase.

In spring 2024, several selections will be presented as “works in progress” as part of the Dancing Moons Festival 2024Next year, 2025, the rest of the choreography will be realized and the entire work performed with live music.

Lawrence supporting Jasmine as she lifts her leg high facing the front.

Meet the Angel Island Project Choreographers

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NATASHA ADORLEE is an Emmy Award-winning choreographer, filmmaker, composer, and educator in San Francisco, CA. A first-generation Asian American woman, she is currently the Artistic Fellow with Amy Sewiert’s Imagery. Natasha began choreographing in 2014 while maintaining an award-winning dance career with Robert Moses’ Kin, ODC/Dance, Kate Weare and Co., and The San Francisco Symphony. After winning over ten international awards for her acclaimed short film “Take Your Time” in 2018, she has been a sought-after filmmaker, choreographer, and composer ever since. After attending SUNY Purchase and graduating from UC Berkeley, Natasha was invited to join ODC/Dance. As a performer, Natasha has danced a vast repertoire of works and contributed original choreography, sound design, and art direction to over 20+ ODC/Dance repertory works. In addition, Natasha has created over 20 original dance-based works- spanning stage, film, and immersive performance mediums. Most recently, she was commissioned to create for Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works, Ceprodac (Mexico), Kawaguchi Ballet (Japan), Ballare Carmel, Ballet22, and Imagery. In addition to working for dance companies, Natasha has created original work for Pixar Animation Studios, Occulus, National Geographic, and New Yorker Magazine. Natasha founded Concept o4 to create multimedia dance-based experiences advocating for more accessibility to the arts. Awarded an NEA Grant, Dresher Fellowship, and Jacob’s Pillow Choreographic Fellowship in 2023 and a Kansas City Ballet and BalletX commission in 2024, Natasha is pursuing a prolific creation period while sharing her deep knowledge of movement and film with the greater community through Dance on Camera workshops. She is also an Artistic Advisor for Ballet22.

Natasha Adorlee

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Phil Chan, a ‘21/’22 Visiting Scholar at the A/P/A Institute at NYU and the Manhattan School of Music’s ‘21’/’22 Citizen Artist, 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, the Advisory Board of Dance Magazine, and was a 2020 New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellow. He was just named a Next 50 arts leader by the Kennedy Center and is the co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface.

Phil Chan

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Lawrence Chen (he/him) grew up in Southern California, studying ballet, contemporary, and hip-hop under the care of Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky and their faculty from the age of thirteen. He went on to compete in the YAGP, placing in the Top 12 Pas De Deux in the New York Finals of 2014 as well as in the Top 3 soloist at regional venues for several years. At Pomona College, Lawrence obtained a BA in chemistry with mathematics, took on collegiate ballroom, and performed as a principal dancer for the Inland Pacific Ballet under the watchful eye of Victoria Koenig. In addition to dancing with the Oakland Ballet Company, Lawrence teaches ballet and tutors high school STEM subjects. At OBC, he has performed as the deer dancer in Graham Lustig’s Luna Mexicana and in the title role of The Nutcracker. Lawrence has also been featured in new works by choreographers Caili Quan, Megan and Shannon Kurashige, and Phil Chan, a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface. Lawrence received an Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance by an individual for his work in OBC’s 22-23 season and is a contributing choreographer to OBC’s Angel Island Project. Lawrence received an Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance by an individual for his work in OBC’s 22-23 season and is a contributing choreographer to OBC’s Angel Island Project. This is Lawrence’s third full season with the Oakland Ballet.

Lawrence Chen

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Feng Ye is a “National First-Class Dancer” in China. She was a seasoned professional, serving as Artistic Director and President of the dance company in the China National Song and Dance Troupe. As performer, choreographer, and artistic director, her works were presented in the Olympic opening & closing ceremonies three times in 2004, 2008, 2014 respectively. In the South Bay Area, Feng Ye launched the Feng Ye Dance Studio and Feng Ye Dance Troupe and successfully produced and performed a grand annual gala
entitled “ENCOUNTER” at the San Jose Art Center Montgomery Theater in 2018 and “DANCE WITH NATURE” at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco in 2019. For three consecutive years, the Feng Ye Dance Troupe was selected as the only representative of Chinese dance to participate in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Feng Ye has emerged as an important figure in the region, promoting the integration of dance cultures from multiple ethnic groups.

Ye Feng

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Elaine Kudo raised in New York City, received her early ballet training at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, later spent six years at the School of American Ballet and was a scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School.

Ms. Kudo was a member of American Ballet Theatre from 1975 – 1989 was promoted to soloist in 1981. She danced soloist and principal roles in a wide range of works mostly in the contemporary repertory. She has had the honor of working with choreographers Anthony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Eugene Loring and Sir. Kenneth MacMillan on featured roles in their ballets, and has had roles created for her by Twyla Tharp, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Chu San Gogh, and David Gordon.

In 1982 Ms. Kudo along with other members of ABT performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy in a group assembled to recreate the Jerome Robbins Company Ballet USA. She also toured extensively during the summer seasons as a member of Baryshnikov & Co. from 1983 – 1986, and was Mr. Baryshnikov’s partner in “Sinatra Suite” and “Push Comes to Shove” in the PBS Great Performances special “Baryshnikov by Tharp”. In 1987 – 88 she joined the Tharp Dance Co. for a national tour and tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Directly after her retirement from the stage in 1990 Ms, Kudo began staging the works of Twyla Tharp, both nationally and abroad, with eight pieces in rotation, she continues to be one of the primary stagers of Tharp repertory.

Ms. Kudo assumed the position of ballet master for the New Jersey Ballet 1994-97 & American Repertory Ballet 1997-2003. Most recently the Washington Ballet from 2011 – 2020.

She with partner Buddy Balough founded and directed Theatre Arts Dance America – located in Verona NJ.  from 1997 through 20I0. In addition to teaching at TADA, Ms. Kudo has served on the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive program from 1998 – 2003, Ballet Tech, Jacob’s Pillow – Contemporary Traditions in July 2007 as well as guest teacher at Princeton Ballet School and Steps on Broadway in 2011.

Ms. Kudo was given her first opportunity to choreograph at the New Jersey Ballet in 1997. That piece was later staged at the Carolina Ballet for its inaugural season in 1999. She choreographed four ballets for the American Repertory Ballet during her tenure as ballet master. One for director Septime Webre, three as part of director Graham Lustigs’, Dancing Through the Ceiling project designed to promote women choreographers. In addition to these works for professional companies she has choreographed a number of solos for her students receiving a choreography award from the Youth America Grand Prix. She has also contributed three ballets for the ABT summer intensive program and five pieces for TWB summer intensive as well as numerous pieces and a Pas de Duex for Theatre Arts Dance America.

Elaine Kudo

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Ashley Thopiah (she/her) received her BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University. She began her dance training at the Christine Rich Dance Academy and furthered her training in summer programs at State Street Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. At Butler, Ashley performed corps, soloist, and principal roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Bayadere, Cinderella, and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. As a choreographer, Ashley has created two works for Butler University’s dance department, Jyoti and Ekta. Using both modern dance and Bharatanatyam, a form of classical Indian dance, she expresses the two distinct but intertwined aspects of her identity. During the summer of 2018, Ekta was performed in the National Opera House in Warsaw, Poland, across Prague, Krakow, Poznan, and Bratislava. Joining Oakland Ballet in 2019, she created the role of Coffee in The Nutcracker, as well as featured roles in The Birthdays, 4 Parts Jazz by Alyah Baker, Club LC by Bobby Briscoe, and Phil Chan’s Quartet and Seyong Kim’s Duet from Exquisite Corpse. She is a contributing choreographer to OBC’s Angel Island Project.

 

Ashley Thopiah