A Stage of Our Own envisions and creatively constructs our shared surroundings to include, uplift, and encourage the fullest creative life force that all people have within themselves. In providing and nurturing the space for gathering, creative practice, and honoring our ancestries, we hope to cultivate healthy relationships between one another, our natural environment, and the native peoples of where we reside.
Our name, A Stage of Our Own, is inspired by Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own”, and the premise that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” We widen the spectrum of creativity to include multi and inter disciplinary art forms. We also attribute money and a room (or space), as resources. By drawing attention to resources, we intend to cultivate a deeper understanding, appreciation, and collective social responsibility for art and its presence on Turtle Island, USA. While Woolf speaks of the 1920s and 30s English experience of exclusionary and marginalized financial, educational, and social treatment against womxn, we in our present context empathize with the marginal treatment and documentation of womxn and non-binary peoples around the world, particularly as people of color and of island heritages.
Mission, Services, Establishment
A STAGE OF OUR OWN (ASOO) is a Philippine and Pacific Island collective of artists, organizers, educators, and researchers, creating multi-disciplinary contemporary works centered on the experiences of those who identify as womxn and non-binary. Our performances are compilations of small works that manifest each members’ cultural and creative practices in the diaspora.
Our mission statements are as follows:
– To encourage and foster Philippine and Pacific Island culture and gender empowerment through arts development;
– To foster our tangible decisions of allyship between one another and among our global and local communities through our art practices;
– To maintain a respectful reciprocity between elder and younger generations through our cultural art practices.
ASOO was established in Honolulu, Hawai’i in April 2017 from a call-out to womxn artists on O’ahu to come together and produce a performance of healing and empowerment. ASOO is founded, produced, and facilitated by Toni Pasion, and was assisted in production and establishment by Lilian Kong in Honolulu. Currently, ASOO is based in Los Angeles, Tongva lands, California, and is under the direction of Toni Pasion.
Who We Are
Toni Temehana Pasion is a dancer, curator, and educator from Los Angeles, California. Toni’s creative process particularly draws from her hula, Philippine, and contemporary dance practices. She engages with the body as a vessel to activate time:space, her genealogical lineage, spirit and culture. Toni is a founder and producer of A Stage of Our Own. http://www.tonipasion.com
Leilani Banday is a Tongva territory based artist taking strides for truth, beauty and indigenous recognition. Also a mother of two boys, Leilani draws inspiration from the wisdom that parenthood provides as well as her experience as an Island Womb*an. “A Stage of Our Own captured me instantaneous. Not only is the platform for Pasifika voices extremely needed at this point in our world but these womxn have become my sisters… this is a family. And from that familial relationship sprouts an inconceivable love which fuels our creative fire almost uncontrollably…. I’m so lucky to be part of this,” she says.
Micki is a Chamoru artist based in Los Angeles. She produces videos, books, performances, sculptures and installations within the gallery and beyond. Her work explores, experiments with and expands notions of artistic collaboration in the contexts of personal, family, and community memory. She has recently presented her work at the inaugural Honolulu Biennial (2017), homeLA: Rose Hill (2016), the Festival of the Pacific Arts: Guåhan (2016), and the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum (2015). Her work has been supported by collaborations with Dashboard in Atlanta, The Range in Saguache, Oceanside Museum of Art’s Exploring Engagement Project, The St. Claire in Philadelphia, There Goes the Neighborhood in San Diego, Gravity and Trajectory Books, as well as grants and fellowships from the Russell Foundation, Visual Communications, and Creative Time. She received a BFA from the University of Georgia (2006), and an MFA from the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego (2011). See more of Micki’s work at http://www.mickidavis.com/
Noelle Marie Falcis is a creative and academic that has centered her life around the intersection of narrative and performative praxis with cultural theory. Most interested in re-memory, indigenization, and intergenerational language, she pursues storytelling through fictive writing and movement artistry. She uses these dual forms to better understand the diasporic, post-colonized life, and how it has affected her as a Filipina-American. Her fiction explores her heritage and both the desert and city landscapes in which she grew up. Her work has been published in Kartika Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Riksha Literary Magazine, and VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, amongst others. She is a VONA/Voices Fellow and forthcoming Tinhouse Writer’s Workshop participant. She is the founder and creative director of Gunita Collective, a movement based artists group focused upon the exploration of communal memory.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Leolani has over 23 years of dance experience competing, performing, and teaching internationally. She started out as a student of Hula at the age of 7 years old. As a teen she began her long journey in to learning the cultural art of Ori Tahiti. Tahitian dance opened her up to freestyle/improvisational work, lead her to learning and training with the best Tahitian masters inside and outside of Tahiti, and, eventually lead her to lots of performances and projects in the entertainment industry. Over the years, Leolani found her calling in teaching Ori Tahiti basic technique and choreography to anyone who wanted to learn how to express themselves in a way they never have before. It became her goal to empower women globally through Tahitian movement. Leolani is especially known for being a touring artist teaching Ori Tahiti workshops in Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Indonesia, and Barcelona. This year Leolani started her first and very own Ori Tahiti dance school based in Mid-City Los Angeles called TE AHO NUI, which means, breath deep. Her curriculum focuses on the technique, language, and culture of Tahitian dance.See more of Leolani’s work at http://www.dancewithleolani.com/
Paru is an astral messenger born in 1995 (Virginia). Raised between London & Manila, she continues to traverse this 3D ancestral weaving through poetry, experimental music video, breaking (dance), and alternative culinary art. Currently based in LA, Paru is in the midst of cultivating her psychedelic poetry mixtape + zine (The Impermanent Abode || The Invisible Landscape). In her more grounded hours, she manages a micro~catering and intentional delivery service (@parudelivers) to heal through art and ingredient. She is of Ibaloi descent.
Vero, born in the San Fernando Valley, is a channel, reminding commUnities that food is medicine, earth is medicine, and that we can be our own medicine. She is a Writer// Gardening Teacher// Budding Nutritionist// Heals though the Culinary Arts. She is fullest when she co-creates spaces that awaken consciousness to the divine nature that exists within each of us and the deep connection we have with our ancestors and our mother islands. Vero uses spoken word to inspire soulful movements and free thinking.
Leah Ramos is originally born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She found a natural love of dance and received her BFA in Ballet at the University of Cincinnati. She performed with companies in Florida and Ohio and now resides in Los Angeles where she continues to dance, video edit, and create with others in her newfound community. Leah is half Filipino and half Korean. She currently is getting in touch with her Filipino heritage as a new member with Kayamanan Ng Lahi and is excited to show her work with A Stage of Our Own!
Born and raised in Culver City, California, a Los Angeles native. The half Costa Rican and half Okinawan Kimiko Yení Rojas grew up as an artist from a young age. Starting in fine arts and then moving to Hawaiian dance where she spent the next decade competing around the world and in 2007 and in 2008 represented Keali’i O Nalani as their soloist for the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo HI. She has spent the last 15 years as an actor is LA and has been very blessed with work. 2017 is a year of change, Kimiko and her husband are expecting their first child. She has taken this opportunity to create and paint projects she has been working on for years as she brings a new life to this world.
Christine is an LA native and cultural dancer. She started Filipino folk dancing at the age of 9 with Kayamanan ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts (KNL) in LA for a couple years. Throughout high school she danced hula with Halau Hula O ‘Imi ‘Ike in Culver City. She attended California State University, Northridge and was involved in CSUN’s Filipino American Student Association’s Pilipino Cultural Nights. Through this, she rediscovered her interest in Philippine dance and rejoined KNL in 2009. She’s been active ever since and has had the opportunity to travel with KNL to dance in France & Hawaii. In 2015 she started dancing Tahitian with Te Varua Ori in Buena Park and is now participating in solo competitions.
Malialina is a Filipino/Black poet from Kalihi who graduated from Farrington High School and worked for the Returning to Our Roots program at Kokua Kalihi Valley as a story collector and capacity builder. In 2016 she became the first woman to represent Hawai’i at the Women Of The World Poetry Slam in Brooklyn New York. Malialina is currently one of the four members on the Hawai’i Slam Team that will be competing at the National Poetry Slam in Denver Colorado this upcoming August.
Lilian feels fullest when they can malama `āina and when they make food to share with others. Their work focuses on transforming our food system into one that is built on relationships—with the people who grow our food, with the `āina, and with the indigenous people of that `āina. Lilian believes that if we heal the `āina that sustains us, we can heal ourselves—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Camille has recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with an MFA in dance. She is a passionate and motivated dance teacher and choreographer with experience working with students of all ages, in the US and in the UK, at the university level, as well as in grade schools, studios, and professional community settings. She is a dance and movement advocate that enjoys educating others, young and old, about the need to move, dance, create art and be healthy.
Grace is a second generation Illokana and Kankanay Igorot, poet, playwright, producer, community builder, and sexual health educator. Residing in Kapalama and ever loyal to Kalihi, she is called to restore kinship and connections through helping those around her remember the places and stories from where they call home. As an advocate, she works to support public policy and safe spaces that uphold the dignity, bodily autonomy and self-knowing of those identified with the feminine.
Caterina is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary PhD program in Communication and Information Sciences at UH Mānoa. She came from Italy to Hawai`i nei with a Fulbright Scholarship, after several years of experience in web journalism, photography, communication, and curation of international contemporary art events. She has organized and participated in life art and movement improvisation performances at UH Mānoa, the Honolulu Museum of Art and Honolulu public spaces.