Presenter Statement

The quest to understand each other is a basic human instinct, but the tools we create in order to do so often favor conjecture over empathy. We create boxed in categorizations of people based on our suppositions, and once constructed these divisions are often difficult to topple and dangerous to maintain. One of the many contributions artists make to our society is a disruption of this habitual practice. They broaden our perceptions and reconstruct our thought processes with each event.

Through the cornerstone projects of our 2016/17 season, the A-Squared Festival and the Beyond the Box Series, Links Hall aims not only to highlight the excellence work, and innovative creative practices of Asian American artists; but also to create space for everyone in our community to disintegrate the limits of these categories and explore a wider variety of ways we can understand each other.

In the fall Links Hall’s A-Squared, Asian American Performing Arts Festival investigated our society’s impulse to narrow the definition of what it means to be Asian in America, our tendency to ignore the fact that Asian Americans comes from a broad range of cultural backgrounds, and the betrayal we perpetrate against that diversity when we conflate Asian Americans into a single box.

Our season continues the process of unpacking with Links Hall Curatorial Resident Fujima Yoshinojo (Rika Lin) who will take us all Beyond The Box.

Beyond the Box blends contemporary music and movement practices with Classical ones to liberate performers from traditional confines, and to find the freedom for audiences to dismantle presupposition about this work and our world. Yoshinojo has curated a series that bends and at times breaks the walls of Classical Japanese dance. She has built a platform that champions female performers, who are traditionally limited to subdued expressions; who resist deflation. She has brought together musicians and dance makers who embrace their multi-dimensionality and bring the fullness of their human complexity to life on stage.

We will always be tempted to flatten one another and enjoy the easy comforts provided by our self-directed perceptions of others. Links Hall has collaborated with Rika Lin on Beyond the Box as an act of resistance to this easy impulse, and as an effort to support the women working in this stunning, time-honored form to expand beyond.