RF: My roommate’s asleep so I didn’t want to bother her...
sentation is a major celebration/ exploitation of this musical. There was nothing left to say– for me, it was a matter of reading the verdict, being disgusted, and then know- ing all of my closest Black friends would feel it, have nothing more to say about it, and go on with their lives being Black in America. There are memes circulating right now re-posted by @embracingblackcul- ture that are like, “You don’t want to talk about black liberation? - lmao this is a Wendy’s.” In my clos- est circle, I know my friends on an emotional level; knowing they are tired, we didn’t even talk about it that day, everyone was just half-en- ergetically posting one-liners about the verdict. Rebecca : One of the reasons Veron- ica and I are so close is because of our shared experience of anti-Asian racism during our undergraduate experience at Florida State Uni- versity, a “land grant” university situated on the ancestral and tra- ditional territory of the Apalachee Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida (Tallahassee, FL). The experience weighs heavy. We also acknowledge that as Asian Amer- icans, we can only know so much and continue our self-education in solidarity and celebration with Black lives. VJ: We’re supposed to have a “Break- ing Bias” workshop soon and I’m already on high alert. Because the classism that exists within this cast is ridiculous. Ri-diculous. and like it–It’s like, when we went to South Carolina, I had to put a chat like– I was like, “Don’t come for my state.” But I did it nicely. I was like, “Chad- wick Boseman, Patina Miller, and Danielle Brooks are all from less than an hour outside of the city we’re going to; the arts are active here but
sign of white supremacy in the workplace, but for those newly recognizing whiteness in the work- place: hair texture/length/style is part of every indigenous culture in some way, sacred in most. Stipulations on hair style & length seems to be one of the most com- mon anti-Black/anti-indigenous workplace practices in the States, especially in dance & theater workplaces. For me, I’m so used to having my hair length and color dictated by contracts outside of dance theater spaces, that as long as the company provides the maintenance, I’m complicit in the practice; however, I say this as someone whose relationship to my hair is currently in flux, and as a newcomer who landed a big contract for my first musical theater credit. VJ: ... disheartening is not the right word because like that also has like a connotation of disappointed, but like at this point, it’s just expected that that shit’s gonna happen RF: Yeah, yeah. I mean, how do you get an impartial jury? If they’re going to take people out of the jury who protested and like, what is it, starts with a c, wow my brain is so tired, complicit behavior–silence or lack of action is complicit behavior like if you didn’t protest you are complicit. VJ: right that yeah, that was wild. Like seeing the clips of the judge like it’s so...why...like I can’t form words, I literally just want to say it’s so KKK. Like. Yeah, that man. Yeah, white supremacy to white supremacy to white supremacy. Veronica: I couldn’t form words on this day. I still had to go to work, and it wasn’t acknowledged in our workspace, where Black repre-
VJ: Yeah…. I’m wearing my hat.
BY REBECCA FITTON & VERONICA JIAO
RF: Your hair is getting long!
VJ: It’s getting super long. Very diffi- cult to put in pin curls for wig prep…
MAKING PUBLIC OUR PRIVATE: exhaustion, gossip, and unfinished sentences
Rebecca : Veronica and I frequently talk about our hair. To me, my style represents my queer identity and the texture is where my mixed-race identity shines. Most of my hair is thick, brown-black, straight and wiry, but recently one perfect ringlet has sprung forth from underneath my bangs. My English ancestors are showing up! Veronica: Oh, I didn’t know we had started the “thing” yet and this was on record. Wig prep includes many hair pins, and after my last dance contract that included hair length stipulations, I’ve kept my hair at shoulder length to resist what that contract entailed. Before that con- tract I kept it butt-length, and it was a huge part of my identity. But now it’s at a weird length that’s be- coming too difficult for wig prep be- cause both sides of my family have very thick silky hair, what’s consid- ered stereotypical “Asian hair.” The current contract I’m on does note that, contractually, we have to get approval to change our appear- ance, but they provide haircuts and our lead hair/makeup person seems very willing to give us fun styles if it doesn’t affect our wigs or look for the show.
THE FIRST THING you should know about our friendship is that when we are together, we get off-topic immedi- ately. We are excellent at tangents. So, when Bhumi emailed us, we imme- diately were engaged by the idea to further develop and expand upon our already ongoing conversations that respond to the proposed questions: “if not us, who; if not now, when?” But between Veronica perform- ing on her first national Broadway tour and Rebecca navigating her first semester of graduate school, our schedules rarely align and conversa- tions often only occur via text. We tried twice to connect on Zoom to discuss our thoughts for this article, witnessed each other’s bleary eyes and brain fog, and decided to reschedule. Despite this, our text conversations sustained. Our blue and white bub- bles found each other in our respec- tive breaks and allowed for flexible response times.
We thought about sharing our texts with In Dance , but this opportunity felt like a moment for growth. Veronica is interested in developing a podcast that addresses navigating other-ness in pre- dominantly white theater and dance spaces, and Rebecca is grateful for the opportunity to write outside of grad school.
off-topic. We experiment with how our contributions can reflect our cur- rent contexts and multi-cultural iden- tities. We purposefully ask you to dance through our pause-filled mess- iness as a direct resistance to the lin- ear clarity that whiteness demands. This conversation is a peek into our ten years of friendship and familial shorthand that traverses emotional support, meme creation, and criti- cal conversations. We gently share this offering that touches briefly on the topics of hair, whiteness, systemic injustice, and gossip and that grows from our ability as friends to check each other’s bullshit and celebrate each other’s joys.
What we conjured up for this issue of In Dance is a nonlinear conver- sation–part transcribed Zoom con- versation (our third Zoom meeting was successful) and part pre-and- post-asynchronous text interventions into that dialogue. It is a nonsequen- tial offering, it does not have a clear beginning nor a clear end. It goes
RF: My computer is sitting on my washing machine.
Contractual control over appear- ance should be a glaringly obvious
VJ: That’s amazing.
in dance WINTER 2022 50
WINTER 2022 in dance 51
In Dance | May 2014 | dancersgroup.org
u n i f y s t r e n g t h e n amp l i f y u n i f y s t r e n g t h e n a p l i f y
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