The 2022 CounterPulse Performing Diaspora program presents Try, Hye! by Vera Hannush/VERA!
and Dwelling for Unsettling by Unsettled/Soiled Group.
In Try, Hye!, Armenian drag king VERA! explores their complicated lineage by learning from their queer SouthWest Asian and North African (SWANA) diasporic dance teachers. Dance, drag, theater, performance, comedy, and art as healing – “Try, Hye!” (“Try, Armenian!”) is Step Up: SWANA Edition. The audience will see and experience the learning process, the void of cultural knowledge that queer SWANA people seek to fill, and celebrate the end culminating achievement.
Dwelling for Unsettling invites audiences into an immersive night market featuring performance altars and audio-visual installation. Part immersive theater and part community gathering, Dwelling for Unsettling interrogates and resists the entanglement of the diasporic and the settler colonial for Asian diasporic communities on Turtle Island. Incorporating performance altars, embodied testimonies, public rituals, and audio-visual installations, Dwelling for Unsettling attends to the stakes of embodiment in a settler colony—How have we inherited settler colonialism in our bodies as a modality of moving/being? What might be the kinesthetic strategies to denaturalize and destabilize the settler body and its movement tradition? Drawing from archival studies, family histories, and movement research, this project is an invitation to imagine new embodied senses of who we are and how we move in Asian diasporas that refuse further incorporation into the settler colonial project.
ABOUT PERFORMING DIASPORA
Counterpulse’s Artist Residency & Commissioning (ARC) Performing Diaspora program is an incubation residency and commissioning program that supports artists whose work is rooted in a traditional art form, yet is also completely contemporary. Performing Diaspora artists draw on tradition as a radical way to carry the stories of previous lives in today’s time and space. CounterPulse’s ARC Performing Diaspora residency program is made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Vera Hannush/VERA! (they/them) is a queer Armenian American drag king, dancer, and community activist. VERA is a member and host of the Rebel Kings of Oakland, a member of SWANA Kings (South West Asian North African drag king collective), board member of Oaklash, the Bay Area Drag Festival, and member of Drag Queen Story Hour – Bay Area. They are the father of the House of Pack and the current Mx. Starsearch 2022.
Unsettled/Soiled Group is a group of East, Southeast, and South Asian diasporic movers, makers, and settlers on Ramaytush and Chochenyo Ohlone land. What brought us together is a shared desire to unlearn and resist Asian settler colonialism on Turtle Island. We aspire to be an open and porous community–we want to build relationships with you.
|VERA!’s collaborating queer, SWANA, diasporic dancers/choreographers/artists:
• Hrayr, Armenian dancer and community activist
• Anoush Ellah, Armenian Drag Queen and belly dancer
• Shady Bee, Iraqi Drag Queen and belly dancer
• Basinah Raqs, Co-founder, Asheq Collective, Queer SWANA bellydance collective
Unsettled/Soiled Group is led by June Yuen Ting and features collaborators:
• Dilpreet Anand
• Emily Engelking-Rappeport
• Cristina M. Ibarra
• Ye Qing Jiang
• John-Mario Sevilla
• Tashi Tamate Weiss