Unboxed is a project created and developed by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and made possible through collaboration with our esteemed colleagues.
We are humbled by the work of Yin Yue, Edwaard Liang, and Peter Chu, without whose artistry this project could not exist. We are grateful for the insight of Phil Chan and Georgina Pazcoguin of Final Bow For Yellowface, who have dedicated their careers to eradicating cultural stereotypes from the arts.
Unboxed was created by Jessica Tong, Hubbard Street's Associate Artistic Director, and developed in collaboration with Jonathan Alsberry, Hubbard Street's Artistic Liaison. The project is championed by Artistic Director Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell.
A former dancer with New York City Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater, Edwaard Liang has built an international reputation as a choreographer. Over the last decade, he has created work for the Bolshoi Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Shanghai Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre and Washington Ballet.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan and raised in Marin County, California, Mr. Liang began his dance training at age five with Marin Ballet. After studying at the School of American Ballet, he joined New York City Ballet in 1993. That same year, he was a medal winner at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and won the Mae L. Wien Award. By 1998, he was promoted to Soloist. In 2001, Mr. Liang joined the Tony Award® winning Broadway cast of Fosse. His performance in Fosse was later televised nationally on PBS’ Great Performances series “Dance in America: From Broadway: Fosse,” and subsequently released on DVD. By 2002, Mr. Liang was invited by Jiri Kylian to become a member of the acclaimed Nederlands Dans Theater 1.
While dancing with NDT 1, Mr. Liang discovered his passion and love for choreography. Since establishing himself as a choreographer, his works have been performed by dance companies around the world and he has won numerous awards for his choreography including the 2006 National Choreographic Competition.
In 2013, Mr. Liang was named Artistic Director at BalletMet where he continues to choreograph new works for companies both domestically and abroad. In 2017, he received an Emmy® Award for his short dance film, “Vaulted.” In 2018, he created a new ballet with Roberto Bolle for the opening of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
The founder and artistic director of YY Dance Company (YYDC), Yin Yue is an internationally recognized performer and choreographer. Yin studied at the prestigious Shanghai Dance Academy and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received her MFA in 2008.
In 2018, Yin founded YYDC, a NYC-based, non-profit contemporary dance company dedicated to the teaching, production and performance of original choreographic works by Yin. Yin’s signature FoCo Technique™ represents a dynamic fusion of Chinese folk and contemporary dance. YYDC’s mission is to incorporate Yin’s signature movement style into live performances and choreographic commissions as well as educational endeavor.
Under Yin’s direction, the company has presented its work to live audiences on U.S. and international stages. The company boasts international touring credits, including Schrit_tmacher Festival (Germany), SummerStage in New York City, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, New York International Fringe Festival, The Open Door Dance Festival in Iowa City, Iowa, DancenowNYC at Joe’s pub and many more. In addition, YYDC has performed at venues such as International Choreographic Competition Hanover, BAM Fisher, Joyce SoHo Theater, Peridance Center, Lincoln Center Rose Hall, New York Live Arts and many others. In addition to performance, the company also re-staged repertories at universities, companies and dance studios around the world.
As choreographer, Yin Yue was the winner of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 2015 International Commissioning Project, winner of the 2015 BalletX Choreographic Fellowship, and winner of Northwest Dance Project’s 5th Annual Pretty Creatives International Choreographic Competition in 2013. Through these high-profile successes, Yin was commissioned by all three widely-recognized companies as well as other companies and organizations namely Pennsylvania Ballet, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Limon Dance Company, Alberta Ballet, Balletto Teatro di Torino, Gibney Dance Company, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, Whim W’him, Bruce Wood Dance, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Boston Dance Theater, 10 Hairy Legs, New Dialect, Backhausdance, Tisch School of The Arts, George Mason University, Rutgers University, Point Park University, West Michigan University and Juilliard School for Dance.
Born in the Bronx, NY, and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Peter began his training as a competitive gymnast, later nurturing his artistry at Dussich Dance Studio. Upon graduation from The Juilliard School, he performed with BJM Danse, EZdanza, Aszure Barton & Artists, Kidd Pivot, and in Celine Dion’ s Vegas spectacular, A New Day.
Peter can be seen as the lead in Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts music video.
In 2008, Peter formed a Las Vegas project based dance company, chuthis., which showcases the work of Chu and his collaborators. chuthis. also provides movement education programs which foster technical and artistic development.
Chu has been an honoured recipient of choreographic awards and commissions, including the Hector Zaraspe Prize, A.C.E. Capezio Award, and Hubbard Street Dance International Commission Project. He was also named a Blodgett Distinguished Artist by Harvard University for 2018. Additionally, Chu has served as the Rehearsal Director for Nederlands Dans Theater 2, and as a Guest Rehearsal Director for NDT1.
Chu has created works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Charlotte Ballet, Staatstheater Augsburg, Germany, Orlando Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street 2, Giordano Dance Chicago, Charlotte Ballet II, SYTYCD, Houston MET Dance, New Dialect, SALT Contemporary Dance, HSPro, Harvard University, Point Park University, and The Juilliard School, among others.
Last season, Chu premiered works for Giordano Dance Chicago and Gibney Dance Company, and choreographed for Cirque du Soleil’s Vitori in Malta. He is currently commissioned to create for Paul Taylor Dance Company, and is developing a new work with his own company, chuthis.
Final Bow for Yellowface was founded by Georgina Pazcoguin, New York City Ballet soloist, and Phil Chan, arts administrator and educator, with a simple pledge, "I love ballet as an art form, and acknowledge that to achieve a diversity amongst our artists, audiences, donors, students, volunteers, and staff, I am committed to eliminating outdated and offensive stereotypes of Asians (Yellowface) on our stages." Since 2017, almost every major American ballet company has signed the pledge, and Gina and Phil have advised performing arts groups on how to maintain the integrity of works from the classical Western canon while updating outdated representations of Asians. Final Bow for Yellowface was cited in the Paris Opera’s diversity report as a contributing factor in their decision to climate blackface and yellowface from their stages. Gina and Phil have presented talks on yellowface and orientalism in dance at 92Y, the Guggenheim's Works & Process, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the Museum at FIT, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), The Washington Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, as well as at higher educational institutions such as Chapman University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Goucher College, Harvard, NYU, Princeton, Purchase College, SUNY Buffalo, UPenn, and Yale among others. Phil published a book in 2020 about their work, Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact.
“Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is committed to making our organization and the world a more diverse, inclusive, and anti- racist place to grow and thrive. This commitment includes challenging cultural appropriation and stereotypical norms. When I first came aboard as Artistic Director and learned about the team's work in creating and developing Unboxed, I was thrilled. Dance is the perfect vehicle for change. I cannot think of a better or more beautiful way to help the world understand how important it is to explore and to honor a multitude of experiences and perspectives. On behalf of everyone at Hubbard Street, I would like to thank these three incredible choreographers — Yin Yue, Edwaard Liang, and Peter Chu. Finally, I would like to applaud Phil Chan and Georgina Pazcoguin of Final Bow For Yellowface for leading on this issue for years, and for helping to guide Hubbard Street in this exploration.”