La migra, Let's run
Ay mga polis, takbo tayo!
La Migra, Let’s Run is a phrase often used when immigrants find themselves in close parameters with ICE ( Immigration and Customs Enforcement ).
La Migra, Let’s Run began as a commentary solo performance materializing the plight of an immigrant and their struggles. This speaks particularly on assimilation and cultural acculturation which often transpires in an immigrant’s life. Bringing the personal to the political, this work is from my personal experience as a Filipino immigrant in the USA.
Drawing from my fear deportation, and separation from my US-born Filipinx daughter, I created this solo in response to the passing of SB1070, a 2010 legislative act that allowed state law enforcement officers to "lawfully" stop and arrest any suspected undocumented immigrant. This law also required immigrants older than 18 to possess any certificate of alien registration issued to him or her at all times. Racial profiling and anti-immigration sentiments heightened during these times. This new awareness of US laws led me to further research historical laws demonstrating nativism in US history, namely the Naturalization Act and the Asian Exclusion Act.
Playing on caricatures, I made statements portraying stereotypes as a method to present what white America sees in an immigrant. Using the symbolism of a mime, an art form that involves clowning, white makeup, and gestural storytelling, I used this modality to express the erasure of the immigrant's voice and portray the pressure to acculturate to whiteness. This was my statement on how immigrants of color have assimilated to white culture for the need of acceptance, opportunities, and even survival.
This work was commissioned in several festivals in the United States from Washington DC’s Dance Place to Bronx Academy of Dance New York.
(a variation to La Migra, Let's Run) 2014
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Play Ball begins with an anthem-- the anthem that serves as a symbol of pride for belonging to a nation. In particular, this anthem is the national anthem of the USA, which in this performance was sung by a half Puerto Rican and half Polish descent performer, Catherine Fazsewski. Discussions on the star-spangled banner's composer, Francis Scott Key, a pro-slavery and anti-abolitionist discoursed. This work is designed to be adapted for community dialogue.
This choreographic work can be deconstructed for various dance class sizes, with creating autoethnographic as the goal. Each time we discuss this work, we will collectively revamp to personal histories and current realities. The entry point to this work is the history of "The Star-Spangled Banner" documentary created by some students at Morgan State University.
This physical theater work shows the many bases that an immigrant must pass to be deemed legal under the US government's standards. From the Form 1-90 Green card application to US Citizenship Application Form N-400, the application process, and the filing fees, this piece discusses who can afford to be a citizen and those who have been here but were never acknowledged as free citizens of the US.
This arrived from an improvisational process. I have not been able to perform this work publicly because this story is not mine to tell. Although, I was once undocumented, I did not experience deportation.
This work was my own process of empathy as I responded to the political sentiments rescinding DACA ( deferred action for childhood arrivals ), signaling restriction, and deportation on family-based immigration. U.S. immigration authorities separated more than 1,500 children from their parents at the Mexico border early in the Trump administration. The solo work is a dedication to mothers who are forced to never see their children ever again due to anti-immigration policies targeting groups of minorities.
In 1948, a U.S. Immigration Service plane carrying undocumented immigrants from California to Mexico crashed. All 32 people on board were killed. Woody Guthrie wrote a poem titled "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos." This eventually became a legendary protest song, "Deportee. " This version by the acapella group Sweet Honey and the Rock is a track I used as the impetus for this solo work.