The Guild Dance Company presents IMMIGRATION STORIES
Friday, May 3 @ 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 4 @ 4:00 and 7:30 PM
6520 5th Ave. S., Seattle in Georgetown
Music: Traditional Tai Dam, Saay Fon (Flows of Rain), and a mix of contemporary and alternative music*
Choreography: Alex Ung
Running Time: approx. 65 minutes plus an opening number performed by PRICEarts
*Some graphic language. May not be suitable for children.
Tickets are $25 general and $15 student and may be purchased here online in advance or at the door.
See our Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/575070199623987/
ABOUT IMMIGRATION STORIES
IMMIGRATION STORIES is a choreographic odyssey by Guild Dance Company artistic director Alex Ung that traces the journey of his immigrant Tai Dam family from war-torn Southeast Asia to Iowa, from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Alex Ungs IMMIGRATION STORIES will be told through traditional Tai Dam dance accompanied by drum, string, and pipe. A blend of hip hop and contemporary styles set to contemporary music will add to the narrative as we witness the passage of time and the Tai Dam relocation. The musical centerpiece of IMMIGRATION STORIES will be the song, Saay Fon (Flows of Rain), a recounting of Tai Dam history written by the elders of the Des Moines Tai Dam community and performed by Jimmi Van Luong.
Our story begins with a celebration in the Tai Dam homeland, the Sip Song Chau Tai, or the Twelve Tai Principalities. But with World War II, Japan invaded Tai Country and drove the French colonist army into China. Soon after the war, the Pathet Lao and Khmer Issarak were formed to ultimately defeat and chase the French out of Indochina. The Tai Dam were forced to flee their homeland, which had become a political and military battlefield. Their relocation march, set to a traditional drumbeat, brings them to Hanoi in Vietnam, where they live as refugees, homesick and anxious.
In 1954, with the Vietnamese victory at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Tai Dam were forced to flee again, this time out of fear of persecution by the North Vietnamese Communists. A second relocation march brings them to Laos. Here they re-establish their lives and reclaim their culture. For twenty years, the Tai Dam lived in relative peace, until Laos fell to the Communists in 1975 and they were once again displaced. This time their relocation march takes them across the Mekong River to Thailand. After an easy crossing by a first wave of refugees, a second wave encounters an aggressive military and the dangers of the river itself. Many never reach the refugee camps on the shores of Thailand.
In the camp sorting tents, waiting for interviews and the hope of relocation to the United States or France, anxious families are separated. Some will wait years until they are finally reunited. Some never see each other again. Alex Ungs mother was relocated to Iowa, where Governor Robert Ray welcomed the Tai Dam with the promise of a new home. But once in the United States, new difficulties meet the Tai Dam in the form of mistreatment and intolerance by sponsor families, holding unrealistic expectations of the Tai Dam refugees farming skills and ability to immediately assimilate and meet the demands made of them in a new world.
Finally the Tai Dam families find resolution, and a permanent home, in Des Moines. A new celebration of Tai Dam heritage includes todays generation of youth listening to the Tai Dam story told by an elder. Acceptance and open arms provided the Tai Dam an opportunity to re-establish their lives and save their culture. Today, they wish the same for all who seek peace and a new home.
***We are thrilled to welcome special guests PRICEarts, who will perform an opening number at each show.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Founded in 2018 by Artistic Director Alex Ung, the Guild Dance Company was created as a place for artists to collaborate and create works together, sharing stories, experiences, expressions, and memories with each other and their audiences through contemporary artistry. The Guild Dance Company is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
Alex Ung began his dancer career in college as a hip hop teacher and choreographer while a student at Iowa State University. Now his styles range from crew-style hip hop to contemporary jazz, musical theatre, and contemporary ballet. Alex teaches for Pacific Northwest Ballets Eastside Summer Dance Workshops and is a frequent teaching artist at Seattle Childrens Theatre, where he most recently choreographed Seussical Jr. He was on the faculty of Bainbridge Ballet from 2008-2016, where he made award-winning choreography for Bainbridge Ballet Competition Dance Team and choreographed for Olympic Performance Group. Alex has also taught at Northwest School of Dance, and Momentum Dance. On stage, he has performed with Bainbridge Performing Arts, Jerboa, Olympic Ballet Theatre, Olympic Performance Group, Pacific MusicWorks, Peaches Christ Productions, Seattle Musical Theatre, and Seattle PRIDE Mainstage, among other dance and theater companies.
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