The executive director of a dance company in Salt Lake City is vowing the troupe will make changes to its Redux Nut-cracker after a TV appearance sparked accusations of racism and the perpetuation of Asian stereotypes.
The company appeared as a live guest on KSL-TV. During a promotion of their show, White members of the company mimicked what they considered to be Chinese gestures while wearing conical hats and Chinese dresses.
Annie Van Alstyne told AsAmNews that the group’s artistic director and founder, Derryl Yeager, “will re-work the piece to the approval of the Asian American Community, and the new, re-worked piece is the one that will be included in upcoming performances.”
A meeting between Odyssey and members of the Asian American community in Salt Lake City is scheduled for today.
A petition launched just Sunday morning on Change.org demanding changes to the show has generated nearly 500 signatures.
Odyssey has apologized for what happened on KSL, but at the same time defended its performance.
In the petition sponsored by a number of groups ranging from the Utah chapter of OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates to the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and the NAACP-Salt Lake Branch, the groups say Odyssey “, clearly demonstrated their ignorance of the harm such negative and false stereotypes through their non-apology apology. Regardless of their intent, reinforcing these stereotypes dehumanizes people and reduces them to exaggerated caricatures instead of three-dimensional people. Our shared history is replete of examples of very real harm when we don’t see each other as people and single out a group for ridicule and shame.”
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