United Tribes Technical College hosts Ai Dance Theater
On Wednesday September 14, 2022 at Noon, the United Tribes Technical College will host Ai Dance Theater in an outdoor site-specific live music and dance performance at the Education Building Courtyard at the United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, ND. The performance will be a half hour and is free.
This site-specific performance is to commemorate the Issei (first generation Japanese) men who were interned at Fort Lincoln (now The United Tribes Technical College) during WWll. The performance will take place on the site that will become a memorial plaza for the Japanese Americans who were interned at Fort Lincoln.
Janet Aisawa (dance), Veronica Aisawa (guitar) and Kimi Aisawa Romportl (taiko drum) are sisters whose grandfather, Hiroshi Aisawa was taken to Fort Lincoln as an enemy alien. He was taken from the streets of Brawley, CA where he had lived, worked and raised a family for over 35 years.
This event will honor these Issei who were not allowed to become citizens and to acknowledge that they were the first Japanese Americans. The three sisters are all third generation Americans and Sam Aisawa, a fourth generation American, will read the names of some of the men who were at Fort Lincoln. The program will include original music by Veronica Aisawa and
Kiku Taura, with choreography by Janet Aisawa. This performance is the brain-storm of Veronica, who has always wanted the three sisters to perform together even though the genres are so different. Each sister has performed for over 20 years in each of their individual modalities–dance, guitar, and taiko drum. This is the debut of their collaboration.
The United Tribes Technical College hosts
Ai Dance Theater
Site-Specific Performance by Janet Aisawa, Veronica Aisawa, Kimi Aisawa Romportl
When: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at Noon
Where: United Tribes Technical College
Education Building Courtyard
3315 University Drive, Bismarck, ND 58504
The program will include original music by Veronica Aisawa and Kiku
Taura, with choreography by Janet Aisawa. This performance is the
brain-storm of Veronica, who has always wanted the three sisters to
perform together even though the genres are so different. Each sister
has performed for over 20 years in each of their individual
modalities–dance, guitar, and taiko drum. This is the debut of their
Janet Aisawa is a choreographer and dancer based in New York City. She has created several full length performances, the most recent, “Them”which is about the Japanese and Japanese American experience during WWll. She is also a founding member and aerialist with Fly-by-Night Dance Theater for over 20 years and also danced with many choreographers in the NYC area.
Veronica Aisawa, AKA Ronnie Lake has been playing guitar since she was 16. In recent years she has had her own bands under the name of “Ronnie Lake”. She has been in bands playing Blues, Zydeco and Instrumental Surf Music.
She not only plays cover music but has written her own songs. She has played many venues in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis, MN and has also played in NYC. Her music has been heard on several college and public radio stations around the country.
Her music can be heard at
https://ronnielake.godaddysites.com/ or on YouTube under “Ronnie Lake”.
Kimi Aisawa Romportl has been playing the taiko for over 20 years. She started taking classes in Minneapolis at Theater Mu and became a performing member with Mu Daiko until 2001 when she joined a Twin Cities taiko group, Kogen Taiko. She has performed for a variety of community, cultural, and corporate events throughout Minnesota as well as an annual cultural event in Chicago.
Sam Aisawa performed in Ai Dance Theater’s production of “Them” in 2017. She is a Yonsei, fourth generation Japanese American.
“Them” is a performance of stories of Japanese Americans interned in camps during WWII when the constitution was disregarded.
“I” and “You” became “Them”
In 1942, at the beginning of World War II, many Japanese American citizens and Japanese nationals (Japanese people living in the United States who were not allowed to become citizens) were interned in camps in the United States. This piece combines sound scores of interviews with some of these individuals with short dances to convey the experiences of racism, group thinking, hysteria, and murder as Americans of Japanese descent became “The Other”. The piece tells the stories of what happened to these individuals when the Constitution was disregarded and “I” and “You” became “Them”.One of my inspirations for “Them” was Mrs. Yokota……….READ MORE
A NOTE FROM JANET
“This project is important to me because I not only want to pass down these stories but I also hope it will start conversations and questions about what it means to be “Them” and “Us” and is a reminder that we have all once been labeled “Them”.
Thanks for the support that’s made it all possible!