MINNEAPOLIS — With more than 100+ dancers waiving on stage and 600+ audiences cheered non-stop, YIYUSA (Youth International Youth USA) has successfully closed its world première on Feb. 24 at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, St. Paul.
This 120-minute YIYUSA show interweaved acrobatics, amazing costumes, and dazzling dances, and combined elements of different Pan Asian Dance traditions to tell a love story between a Dragon girl and the Hunter, and how Dragon dreaming to become a real girl that can finally dance with the Hunter. Then she meets the Circus Ring Master – KEKU, and he entertains her with various circus acts, and makes YIYUSA wants even more to be a real girl, he tells her that he would grant her wish to become a real girl in exchange for her soul.
Presented by a full youth cast (where YIYUSA’s name coming about), the Dance Choreographer Iny Xiong has mixed with diverse Pan Asian dance styles to create YIYUSA. Such Asian Fusion Dance style is not categorized to any one particular dance style and has played a major role in innovations of many contemporary Asian American Dance Studios. Often Asian American immigrants are strong supporters of these Asian American Dance Studios for their children to learn the traditions of their homelands. In a market dominated by Asian Indian and Chinese dance studios, Hmong Dance troupes rise up quickly, particularly in Fresno, CA and St. Paul — the two major cities of Hmong American concentration.
After the show the Producer Ange Hwang, excitingly explained where the production idea coming about, “Hmong Dance has transformed even more rapidly into the Asian Fusion dance style. In short, every year, the New Year celebrations drew tens of thousands of Hmong across the United States. At these events, one can see the incredible transformation—that is, hybridity—of Hmong dress style, music, and dance as discussed earlier. Such hybridity is seen not only among the men and women engaging in ball tossing at the celebration but also in the beauty pageant contestants and dancers on stage. Beauty pageant competition has long been a part of the New Year traditions.
In recent years, because of the incredible transformation of Hmong music and dance styles, dance competition has also become a central part of the New Year Celebration. Dancers, of all gender and age, can be seen performing a variety of dance styles—Lao, Thai, Indian/Bollywood, Chinese acrobatic, and break dance—on stage in front of a live audience and a panel of judges at the New Year Celebration. And such competition opportunity has truly inspired Hmong Americans to be creative and innovative. A large group of Hmong dancers are trained, and excelled in the field without mainstream’s recognition.”
This Pan Asian Dance Drama – YIYUSA is the 1st of its kind to showcase Hmong American Artists’ talents and collaborated with the well-established Chinese American Dance Troupe – Twin Cities Chinese Dance Center, to put on a show that roots in traditional Asian dances, but transformed and integrated into an Asian Fusion Dance Style. Such Fusion Style reflects in the Chinese old saying, – “Only by Deepening the Roots, We Can Expect the Lush Leaves.” And YIYUSA is truly the lush leaves from the deepest Asian dance roots.
Led and Choreographed by Acclaimed Hmong Artist, Iny Xiong, Iny Asian Dance Theater has successfully served more than 120 students annually. Its mission is to broaden students’ ability and the general public’s appreciation of Asian Dances through teaching and performance.
The two major focus of Iny Asian Dance Theater are: 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; and 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.