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Rudi Soriano collaborating with Gay Asian Pacific Alliance and fiscal sponsor LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble

Award: $20,000 Traditional Arts grant awarded in 2011

Premiered: May 2013

Choreographer Rudi C. Soriano collaborated with Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) to create “Pilgrim,” a dance theater work influenced by Filipino ethnic dance traditions that explores Asian American history in a manner that reflects and resonates with the experiences of contemporary gay Asians.

The piece offered a multi-generational viewpoint, by reflecting the history of Filipino immigrants in early 20th century California and incorporated commentary from contemporary community members, who were invited to tell their stories, offer advice, share their coping strategies, and convey the message that lives can improve. The development and presentation of “Pilgrim” was meant to contribute to inspiring and providing hope for new generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Asian and Pacific Islander youth.

Dancer, choreographer, teacher, and researcher, Rudi Sorriano has performed and toured with Bayanihan, the Philippine national dance company. He also studied traditional Philippine folk dance under the late Philippine National Artists for Dance Lucrecia Reyes-Urtula and Ramon Obusan. Soriano founded LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble in 1992 and continues to serve as its artistic director. He conducts annual field research in the Philippines to further LIKHA’s mission.

Gay Asian Pacific Alliance was established in 1988 as a community-based, all-volunteer membership organization whose goals are to create awareness, develop a positive collective identity, and create a supportive community for queer Asian and Pacific Islander men. GAPA worked with Soriano to ensure that a broad range of voices was represented in “Pilgrim.”