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CHEN DANCE CENTER Celebrates The First “Chinese American Heritage Week” and The 150th Anniv. Of The First US Transcontinental Railroad
October 4, 2019 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PMRSVP
On Friday, October 4th at 6pm, Chen Dance Center will present a film screening of H.T. Chen’s Transparent Hinges (1996) whose title refers to the “hyphenated Americans” of dual heritage. “This is a filmed presentation of the dance performance,” stated Associate/Education Director Ms. Dong. “The full work has not been seen in over 20 years. We no longer have the enormous set pieces and sadly, this film cannot capture the full experience of the live performance.” Based on extensive research, personal interviews, and visits to the “Ellis Island of the West,” it is a tribute to the perseverance of Chinese American laborers of the Transcontinental Railroad and the adversity faced by immigrants detained at Angel Island. A post-screening talk-back will feature cast members including Renouard Gee, who appeared in both the stage and film project. “My father came to America in 1929 from Taishan, Guangdong,” said Mr. Gee. “Due to the Exclusion Act, my father’s first steps onto US soil were at Angel Island as a “Paper Son.” He was detained for almost a year, although the average stay was a few months. I learned about his difficult period at the immigration station by performing in Transparent Hinges. I visited Angel Island and began to realize the harsh conditions my father endured. I saw the lonely writings etched into the walls by detained Chinese immigrants. In 1961, my dad became a naturalized U.S. citizen and regained his real name and identity.” Ms. Dong will moderate the discussion on first-hand accounts of courage and resilience from descendants of the railroad workers and immigration station detainees.