Stephen Nakagawa Represents Asian-American and Pacific Island Culture in Ballet

The disadvantage of the classical ballet canon—Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker– in that it reflects only the Western world, at least in the way ballets are usually interpreted. Giselle revolves around the town square of her German village; y The Nutcracker, ClaraThe family welcomes guests to a Christmas party at their home, also in Germany.

Plot ballets, which represent non-European cultures, tend to be stereotyped or fetishized. Boyaderkafor example, depicts India as a place of golden idols, opium tributaries and harem. Many companies no longer perform Chinese dance The NutcrackerThe second act for similar reasons.

As the month of heritage of the American-American and Pacific islands ends, Stephen Nakagawa offers timely correction in his new ballet, Rising sun, put to music by a Japanese composer Kiyoshi Yoshida. City newspaper Asked Nakagawa, who was dancing with Washington Ballet since 2015, about his choreography below.

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