Magnolia // 600 Whale

June 8 - 11

One Evening / Two Performances

Mai by Magnolia Yang Sao Yia

Mai is a solo work that explores Hmong girlhood coming into womanhood. How does one begin to transition into becoming a woman? What does it mean to be a woman? Mai, placed in a hostile environment, traces through the archives of her body and memories to comprehend her histories, and to imagine a reality where she can be whole.

How Is It Ever Any Different Than? by 600 Whale

This latest creation by 600 Whale is an exploration of the modern self. Inspired by technologies that manipulate identity such as; the gene editing technique CRISPR, LSD, and the Internet, the performance is a juxtaposition of science, spirituality, and introspection. A vignette driven theatrical wormhole of character, setting, and story, How Is It Ever Any Different Than? coalesces into a mosaic of meaning, delivering the audience into the present with a renewed sense of curiosity and awe.

Magnolia Yang Sao Yia is a choreographer, dancer, and activist passionate in creating at the intersection of social justice, dance, and healing. As a Hmong woman, she explores spirituality, contemporary and diasporic movement to investigate and identify what it means to be Hmong, American, and House. She is a company member of Ananya Dance Theatre, and trains and competes in house dance. Yang Sao Yia graduated with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Asian American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She will be continuing her research on Hmong dance at the University of California, Riverside in the PhD in Critical Dance Studies program in Fall of 2017.

600 Whale is an ensemble-led performance group, specializing in the creation of new theatrical work. Their art investigates the boundaries of performance and life, time and space, and character and identity. Adhering to a philosophy of impermanence, their process consistently presents original and distinct ways of collaborating, existing, and telling stories. Their performances are image based, novel in form and content, entertaining, and humbly prophetic.


Collaborating on Mai are visual artist Koua Mai Yang (Kuab Maiv Yaj) and video designer Laichee Yang.

The 600 Whale ensemble includes Søren Olsen, Ross Orenstein, Jeff Shockley and Paul Stucker.


Support for New Works 4 Weeks is provided by IBM, Jerome Foundation, Kaemmer Fund of HRK Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Target, and by the voters of Minnesota through grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Magnolia Photo: Bill Cameron