Asian-American Dancer Attacked En Route To Off Broadway Theater In Apparent Hate Crime

'The Chinese Lady' Courtesy Production

An Asian-American dancer en route to a first-performance celebration at New York’s Public Theater was attacked Wednesday night in what theater officials describe as the latest “disgusting and heartbreaking”  incident “in a long history of violence against Asian Americans.”

The dancer, who was not identified, was attacked near Seward Park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, a short distance from the Chinatown apartment where Christina Yuna Lee was murdered on Feb. 13 in a violent attack that was the latest in a surge of high-profile crimes involving Asian-American victims.

In Wednesday’s incident, a performer with the Chinatown dance troupe Yip’s Dragon Style Kung Fu and Lion Dance was on his way to perform with the group as part of the festivities celebrating the first preview performance of the play The Chinese Lady at the Public Theater. The dance troupe had been invited to perform in the lobby of the Public’s Lower East Side venue (the dancers are not part of The Chinese Lady company).

According to a joint statement from The Chinese Lady co-producers Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Public Theater,  the dance troupe “shared a beautiful performance with us, but what many people might not have realized was that one of the incredible artists had just been attacked on his way to The Public.”

The statement, signed by Ralph B. Pena, Ma-Yi Producing Artistic Director (who directed The Chinese Lady) and Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, says that the dancer’s “glasses were broken, his eye was bruised, and he was kicked multiple times. Because he couldn’t see well, he couldn’t perform his role but insisted instead on playing one of the instruments, and the group insisted the performance go on as planned.”

The artistic directors posted the statement on social media last night. “We are sharing this because the attack on this Asian American artist, which happened near Seward Park not far from where Christina Yuna Lee was tragically murdered, is another incident in a long history of violence against Asian Americans,” the statement reads. “This violence and the hatred that fuels it remain disgusting and heartbreaking and have created an environment full of fear where safety seems scarce for our Asian American neighbors.”

Playwright Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, which runs through March 27, at the Public, is inspired by the true story of the first Chinese woman to step foot in America. The synopsis reads: “In 1834, 16-year-old Afong Moy sailed into New York Harbor and was immediately put on display for a paying public who were mesmerized by her exotic ways and horrified by her tiny bound feet. As audiences follow Moy’s travels through America as a living exhibit for decades, The Chinese Lady shares her impressions of a young country struggling with how to define itself.”

The full statement about the attack is as follows:

Last night, our production of The Chinese Lady began performances. To celebrate the moment, a performance from Yip’s Dragon Style Kung Fu and Lion Dance was organized in The Public’s lobby. They shared a beautiful performance with us, but what many people might not have realized was that one of the incredible artists had just been attacked on his way to The Public.

His glasses were broken, his eye was bruised, and he was kicked multiple times. Because he couldn’t see well, he couldn’t perform his role but insisted instead on playing one of the instruments, and the group insisted the performance go on as planned.

We are sharing this because the attack on this Asian American artist, which happened near Seward Park not far from where Christina Yuna Lee was tragically murdered, is another incident in a long history of violence against Asian Americans. This violence and the hatred that fuels it remain disgusting and heartbreaking and have created an environment full of fear where safety seems scarce for our Asian American neighbors.

We’re sending our love and support to the artist and to the Yip’s Dragon Style Kung Fu and Lion Dance team and their families, and to The Chinese Lady company, and we remind ourselves that what we say to each other, what we say about each other, how we show up for our Asian American neighbors, how we respond when they are scared or in danger, and how we show up as allies makes a difference.

Stop the hate. It has no place here.

Wishing you health and safety,
Ralph B. Peña, Producing Artistic Director of Ma-Yi Theater Company
Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2022/02/asian-american-dancer-attack-off-broadway-public-theater-the-chinese-lady-1234960116/