November 27, 2022
The dancers take in the Ordway atmosphere in the main lobby.
The dancers take in the Ordway atmosphere in the main lobby.

MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 10, 2016) — With colorful fans waving in the air, audience’s cheers all over the hall, it put a perfect closure for the “Every Day is a Sunny Day” performance on Jan. 30 at the Ordway Concert Hall Stage.

Asian Media Access (AMA) and Iny Asian Dance Theater (IADT) joined hands to showcase the first ever Hmong Dance Drama – Everyday is a Sunny Day at the prestigious Ordway Performing Arts Center in Saint Paul.

The show was directed by Asian Media Access’ visionary artist Ange Hwang, choreographed by acclaimed Hmong dancer and artist, Iny Xiong, and featured more than 80 talented dancers, 24 choreographed dances, to tell the Hmong immigration story – from the homeland, escaping through the jungles, swimming across the river, and settling in the United States.   

With spectacular lighting and sound effects, the show opened up with a trio dance of three sisters looking for water, planting the seeds of HOPE, and leading to the villagers with traditional Hmong and Thai dances to build the atmosphere of a peaceful heaven. Lead dancer Lily Yang plays the Village Story-teller, and acts out the traumatic scene of a Hmong Villages devastated from the war, escaping through the jungles, hiding from various animals, crossing the river to the refugee camp, and eventually settling in the United States.

Young Hmong men show their acrobatic and artistic abilities.
Young Hmong men show their acrobatic and artistic abilities.

A couple of the most memorable dances are the Hmong Heroes’ Monkey King and the Ocean’s Tibetan Dance; one portraying the jungle scene, while the other showcasing the Multiculturalism in the United States. Hmong Heroes successfully portrayed the monkeys playing around, fighting with one and another, and united by the legendary Monkey King. Not only did the all-male dancers showcase the highest-level of acrobatic skills, but successfully demonstrate each dynamic move leading to the victory.

The Tibetan dance portrayed the worship calling in the morning by the Tibetan girls, how they wake up the town, and dancing through the streets. Their long sleeves waving in and out to showcase their joys, and each dance formation expressed the beauties of their friendships. The Ocean dancers all stepped in sync, portraying different levels of emotion, and with the sweetest smiles on every dancer’s face, presenting a strong girls’ power to move the audience.

Young Hmong women dance in costume at the Ordway.
Young Hmong women dance in costume at the Ordway.

Saving the best for the last, the Finale Fan Dance displayed a field of colorful fans waving in midair, highlighting each dance. The show successfully closed with a standing ovation from the audience. One of the audience member expressed her exhilaration saying, “Your show has changed my life; I have been disappointed by the arts scene, but I see hope now with your performance!” If you miss this wonderful performance, check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3O0DKsTrKA.

This performance was supported by the Knight Foundation, MN State Arts Board, Target Foundation, and the St. Paul Cultural STAR. For more exciting events, please check our websites at www.amamedia.org and www.inyasiandancetheater.org.

Incorporated in August 1992, Asian Media Access, Inc. (AMA) is a comprehensive, multimedia based, community advocacy agency.  AMA is dedicated to using multimedia arts and technology as tools for social betterment.  AMA recognizes that multimedia and technology are essential for advocacy, communication and education, in order to mobilize communities, and young people; to engage in understanding and communicating of Pan Asian issues; and to arrive at a participatory decision making process for a safe, supportive environment for all.

Hmong girls show their flexibility in dance.
Hmong girls show their flexibility in dance.

As multimedia is defined by the Oxford Dictionary – using more than one medium of expression or communication including film, dance, video, audio, design, drama, acrobatics, and stage effects”.   By effectively utilizing these different tools, AMA creates as well as presents programs that educate and enrich the communities.  We believe the multimedia arts and information technology empower all of us with critical thinking and promote good citizenship—especially important as we prepare young people to be tomorrow’s leaders.  Our thought-provoking multimedia education, productions, exhibitions, stage performances, resourceful educational products and youth programs encourage deep reflection, challenge previous assumptions, provide solace, and allow participants to develop their own way of connection in timeless works of creation, communication and community building.

Iny Asian Dance Theater has successfully served more than 200 students annually.   Its mission is to broaden students’ ability and general public’s appreciation of Asian Dances through teaching and performance, and their major projects include: 1) Bringing the Asian Traditional Dances to Life, with a special focus on Asian Indian, Chinese, Hmong, Laotian and Thai dances through weekly dance classes and community engagement performances; 2) Sharing Asian cultures and talents with mainstream audience to build a better community of appreciation of diverse arts with Annual Recital and newly created Dance Drama Performance series.   Currently, Iny Asian Dance Theater has 13 different levels and ages groups.   

dancers and choreographers get the last minute details right.
dancers and choreographers get the last minute details right.

Iny Xiong started to dance at age 5, following her folk artist mother’s footstep, and later received training in Chinese classical/folk dances and Thai court dance in China and Thailand. She founded the Iny Asian Dance Theater in 2000, serving as the Artistic Director and Choreographer since.  In 2003, she won the 1st International Hmong Dance Competition and was invited for an International Tour from China to Thailand (performing affront of Royal Court).  Upon returning to the US, Iny created some of her best choreographed works since: Water Bucket Dance (Won the 1st Place at 2009 Hmong Dance Competition); Searching for Mother (Won the Best of the Best at 2012 International Pan Asian Dance Competition), the Awakening in the War (Won the 2nd Place at the St. Paul RiverCenter Dance Competition).  

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