Finding the InBetween

An exploration of being Mixed-Race in America.

Interview voices:

Liz Fumiko Parker

Leanna Keith

Alyza DelPan - Monley

Angel Moonyeka Alviar-Langley

Mama Amelia the LovePunk Clearheart

Fune Tautala

Francesca Betancourt

Zenaida Smith

Amy Escobar

It started with interviews. I sent out a call to the internet - facebook, twitter, tumblr, emails. Tell me your stories. Talk to me about how it was for you. Is it the same as mine? Do we share the same feelings - the lack of belonging, the shame, the pain, the fear, the openness of mind, the love?

I gathered them all. All of the feelings and found that the same themes were true throughout.

"I never felt like I fit in anywhere."

"What are you, anyway?"

"Can I guess?"

"They called me a mutt."

Talking about being mixed is not something that we do often as a society. We talk about race (or at least, we should, and tend to do so in more liberal states) - but we don't talk about being mixed. It's a bit of a taboo. 

Loving V. Virginia was a landmark decision that finally legalized the marriage between interracial couples. This was passed in 1967. The generation of mixed children who were born immediately after the ruling are known as the "Loving" generation. What a beautiful title. 

We have not had a lot of time to legally exist. We've existed for much longer, in the United States, mostly from rape and slavery. It is hard to talk about being mixed in the US without addressing that history of trauma. 

There is so much history here that my piece, which is only 20 minutes long, couldn't possibly encompass it all.

I initially planned to make a piece based on my own experiences. Being half-Chinese, half-white. Being raised in the midwest, in a sea of white bodies and conservative backgrounds. But I quickly realized that this was not the story I wanted to tell. I wanted to talk about joy. The joy of finding each-other, here in the Pacific Northwest.

So I started contacting people. Other, beautiful, creative, stunning, brilliant, mixed-race people. Angel Moonyeka Alviar-Langley was the first to jump on board. Quickly followed by Mama Amelia the LovePunk Clearheart, who brought both movement and poetry to the table. Finally, Alyza DelPan-Monley, who believed in the piece before it even existed. I am so grateful to be working with their voices, their ideas, their movement. 

In this work, you'll see dance describe our feelings of isolation, of what it is to be fetishized, of anger, of self-love. You'll hear voices, all the voices that were submitted to me through email interviews in a chorus of emotions. You'll hear the flute in ways you may not have heard before. You'll even hear some singing.

Together, we'll talk about the taboo. We might make you uncomfortable. But I hope that you'll feel the joy that we share when we are in a room together. 

© 2019 by Leanna Keith. 

Seattle, Washington

leannakeith@gmail.com