Magnolia Yang Sao Yia

Dancer since 2013.

In November of 2013, I was given the opportunity to apprentice for Ananya Dance Theatre. Since then, the wisdom, knowledge, and experience I have gained from working with Ananya Chatterjea and these amazing group of women has been truly inspiring, and has encouraged me to continue exploring and deepening my understanding of my identity as a Hmong woman and a person of color.

I dance because it is food for my soul. Dance sustains me. It creates a cycling flow of energy and passion awaiting to be felt and to affect others. I dance for Ananya Dance Theatre because I feel that the importance and awareness of this work should be recognized on a grander scale nationally and internationally. The power in this work for me lies in the sharing of the stories of women of color. Stories of unjust circumstances. resulting in resilient acts of courage and love, persevering through difficulty. It is in the sharing of these stories through dance that has disposed me to love and value myself, others, and the earth.

My favorite experience in ADT was being at Tofte Lake for our artist retreat. Two members and I took a boat onto the lake late one night to star gaze. While we were floating, I looked down at the water and the stars we were admiring above us were reflecting in the lake’s black surface. It was as if I was floating in space. The beauty that enveloped us reminded me of the rich relationships I had developed with each company member at the retreat.

My favorite moment within the company’s repertoire was attending my first ADT performance Mohona. I have never responded so strongly or been this touched before by a dance performance. Mohona was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to see the possibilities and power in dance.