- Dana grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and describes it as, "being thrown into this amazing multicultural mix all of a sudden," where he spent his schooldays mostly "in Spanish with a mixture of English."
- The time period he grew up in, Dana describes as "a very conservative Catholic Hispanic community and then an American Indian community. There was the Anglo community and then there was just this tiny Asian community and Asian-American community."
- Remembering this, Dana says that he "often felt like an outsider in a lot of different places." Because of his experience growing up on the outside, he gravitated towards movement and dance in order to communicate what was going on in his head.
- He loved dance so much that he ended up studying at "University New Mexico, then left college to dance professionally and then went back to finish the degree" before attending George Washington University for an MFA in dance.
- Speaking to the experience of being Asian-American, part of what he likes to explore and answer using dance is the question of "what does the hyphen mean?"
- Coincidentally, Dana also feels the most comfortable with the term Asian-American because of the leeway the hyphen provides in exploring his racial identity without forgetting ancestry. Specifically, the hyphen works as a tool to "explore, and [his] family on [his] mom's side are part of the first Korean families to America from Korea." In fact, their family archives are housed at the Smithsonian.
- Which works out really well, considering his role as the Smithsonian's first choreographer-in-residence.
Wanna read more or hear more? Check out the interview in full right here.