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Final Bow for Yellowface co-founder Phil Chan takes us through a history of orientalism in the Western performing arts, and explains why preserving a Eurocentric view of “exotic” people and places on our stages isn’t doing us any favors when serving a multiracial audience. How do we navigate conversations around race and tradition in art? How do we depict other cultures on stage without cultural appropriation? How do we become more inclusive and find new ways to innovate while upholding the traditions that are the foundation of our art forms?
Phil Chan is a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface, and author of Final Bow for Yellowface: Dancing between Intention and Impact. He is currently a ‘21/’22 Visiting Scholar at the A/P/A Institute at NYU, and the Manhattan School of Music’s ‘21’/’22 Citizen Artist. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of the Ailey School. As a writer, he served as the Executive Editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Business Weekly, and the Huffington Post. He was the founding General Manager of the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival, and was the General Manager for Armitage Gone! Dance. He served multiple years on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel and the Jadin Wong Award panel presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance. He serves on the International Council for the Parsons Dance Company, the Advisory Board of Dance Magazine, and was a 2020 New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellow. His next project, the “Ballet des Porcelaines,” will premiere at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 2021.