“Celestial” was a term used often in 19th Century American media to describe China and Chinese people. Based on the “Celestial Empire,” an old name for imperial China, the word became adopted as a slur used ironically to describe the newly-emigrated Chinese who worked in laundries and other menial jobs. Phoenix Dance Chamber presents Celestial 21 in response to the current and recent climate of racial tension in the United States. As an Asian settler organization in Hawai`i, we stand in solidarity with those who have suffered or continue to live in fear of being targeted due to their heritage or skin color.
We offer this concert as a celebration of Chinese identity with performances by Phoenix Dance Chamber, along with guest performers SheenRu Yong, Dancers Unlimited, Saam Fu Chinese Cultural Arts, and Tau Dance Theater. We have forged new celestial identities but we have not forgotten how we got here.