Hailing from Half Moon Bay, CA, J.P. is a dancer and choreographer recently graduated from Columbia University, with a bachelor's degree in dance and physics. As a child, J.P. toured with two productions of Billy Elliot the Musical before attending the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts. In New York, J.P. has performed in works by Lucinda Childs, Molissa Fenley, Andrew Harper, and Colleen Thomas. He continues to dance and perform in the New York area, and can be followed at @jpfriday on Instagram.
A couple weeks ago, I went to see New York City Ballet's Tribute To Robbins, which featured Warren Carlyle's lovely restaging of Jerome Robbins' Broadway choreography. But as the number from The King and I began, I felt a familiar discomfort.
I rolled my eyes at the faux-Thai headdresses and the "exotic" musical motifs—irritations transferred from the musical, whose Orientalist tendencies are well-documented. But my disappointment doubled as I realized that I have never seen a ballet choreographed by an Asian American on that stage.
I left frustrated and confused. As a young dancer and Filipino American, I look up to performers and choreographers who share my Asian-American heritage. Where are they?