ALYS AYUMI OGURA
Alys Ayumi Ogura is a storyteller through her movement, voice, and quirky humor. Her dance training began in Japan, where she learned from the now late Mika Kurosawa, the famed godmother of Japanese contemporary dance. She earned a BA in Theater Studies from Westmar University, and her theater training concluded with her earning the “most outstanding student” award from the school’s Theater and Dance Department. Her choreographies and performances have been curated for the Walker Art Center’s Choreographer’s Evening by Megan Mayer, and BodyCartography Project’s/HIJACK’s Future Interstates. Ogura has worked since 2010 with various talented theater and dance artists in the Twin Cities’ thriving arts community. As a way of giving back to this arts community, Ogura serves as a DanceMN steering-committee member, and she supports MN Artist Coalition efforts.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A SHORT ASIAN WOMAN WITH AN ACCENT
Directed by Sarah Myers
Never Underestimate a Short Asian Woman with an Accent is a collection of stories that have been percolating in Ogura’s inner landscape while establishing herself as an adult in U.S. mainstream culture. While learning English as a second language, she experienced parallel universes where her thoughts and expressions would run wild, but her limited English proficiency led others question her life experiences and expertise. Through this piece, Ogura challenges the positive and negative stereotypes about people who look or sound like her: a short Asian woman with an accent. These are her stories, but they could easily be versions of other’s stories, maybe even yours. Ogura has taken advantage of the Naked States fellowship to generate, develop, and solidify her stories and share them with audiences through her movements and enthusiastic narratives.
Ogura wants to extend her thanks to the countless number of strong, Asian women who’ve made their voices heard; to her dance parents, Mika Kurosawa and Rob Scoggins; to the special performers who have given Ogura the inspiration for making this work: Gabriel Mata, Julia Gay, and Katie Ka Vang; to the generous curators/directors who gave her space to develop earlier versions of her work, to Patrick’s Cabaret, Raw Sugar, Laurie Van Wieren, and Charles Campbell; to Trista Baldwin and her special cheerleading lecture; and to the Naked Stages Program Director Pramila Vasudevan and Director Sarah Myers.