A4 Announces Recipient of the 2024 Jadin Wong Fellowship for Dance

By A4 Staff
May 9, 2024

Asian American Arts Alliance (A4) is pleased to announce the selection of Kanon Sugino as the 2024 Jadin Wong Fellow in Dance. The fellowship includes an unrestricted cash stipend of $7,500 each and eight months of professional development training and career support to foster the next milestone of her career. Luna Beller-Tadiar and Nikaio Thomashow were named as 2024 Jadin Wong Artists of Exceptional Merit.

As a tribute to the life and work of renowned Chinese American actress, dancer, and comedienne Jadin Wong (1913–2010), a pioneer and innovator of Asian American performing arts, the Jadin Wong Fellowship is awarded to an early-career, New York City–based Asian American dance artist whose work shows outstanding promise and who may benefit from further professional artistic development. This award is made possible by the Jadin Wong Educational Fund at the New York Community Trust, established to continue her dream of supporting aspiring artists, musicians, and dancers of Asian descent.

The 2024 Jadin Wong review panel was composed of respected leaders in the field of dance: Broadway Dance Center and Steps educator Karla Puno Garcia, artistic director of Barkha Dance Company Barkha Patel, BARE Dance Company founder Mike Esperanza, Battery Dance festival manager Amy Santos, and former A4 Jadin Wong fellow Shannon Yu.

“A4’s Jadin Wong fellowship in Dance is such a gift, not just to the fellow, but to the dance community at large,” says panelist Amy Santos. “The fellowship paves a clear pathway for the artist and their collaborators for the immediate future of their work, as well as provides the precious financial and emotional support necessary for a young creator to thrive. Furthermore, the fellowship’s deeper offerings of mentorship and technical support help to build bridges across AAPI generations and disciplines.”

“On behalf of the A4 team, I am thrilled to administer this prestigious award in the memory of Jadin Wong,” said Lisa Gold, A4’s Executive Director. “Kanon is an exceptional artist who shares Jadin’s passion for uplifting her community and holding space for their unique experiences. I look forward to supporting and engaging with Kanon and her work for a long time to come.”

About Kanon Sugino
Kanon Sugino (she/her) is a Japanese American dancer and choreographer born and raised in New York. After attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and graduating Summa Cum Laude from Purchase College, SUNY with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Arts Management, she joined Nimbus Dance as a company dancer. She has performed in works choreographed by Bill T. Jones, Jie-Hung Connie Shiau, Jesse Obremski, Norbert De La Cruz lll, Gregory Lau, Frederick Earl Mosley, Peter Chu, Darrell Grand Moultrie, MICHIYAYA, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and more. During her time at Purchase College, she took on the role of co-leader of the Conservatory of Dance’s Racial Equity Group, and was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award for her work. As a choreographer, she has presented work at the We Belong Here: AAPI Festival curated by Jessica Chen, a split bill performance curated in collaboration with Arts On Site, and a self-curated show at the Puffin Room Art Gallery. Her works mainly focus on the uplifting of marginalized voices and the celebration of minority groups and their cultures. @kanonsugino

Luna Beller-Tadiar
Luna Beller-Tadiar (she/they) is a Manila-born, US-raised, queer mixed-Filipinx multi-media artist and performer who works in choreography, video, text, and comics. Her work excavates a body language made up of fragments: remnants of lands, communities, and machines. Drawing on movement training in capoeira, Argentine tango, and almost two decades of Aikido, she takes inspiration from queer collaborative fabulation; from postcolonial Filipino practices of mimicry and re-use; and from contemporary interfacing of the body and technology. Luna’s choreography-performance work has been featured at Mark Morris Dance Center; the 92NY’s Future Dance Festival; American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers film festival; in New Haven, Durham, NYC, Buenos Aires, and La Union (Philippines). Her video work has been exhibited in installation form at Duke; shown at CICA Museum; and featured in Alon: Journal for Filipinx American and Diasporic Studies. Her work with queer Argentine tango has received support from Yale; McGill; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. @lunalunabt lunabellertadiar.wixsite.com/luna

Nikaio Thomashow
Nikaio Bulan Sahar Thomashow (they/he) is a mixed Jewish and Filipinx-American dancer, composer, and educator originally from the Adirondacks in Northern NY. They graduated from Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences in 2018, where their thesis on performative identities explored the bounds of how quality and production of movement are affected by a person’s history. Following graduation, Nikaio taught as the Oberlin Shansi Fellow at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia. They spent 2020 working remotely with Daloy Dance Company (Philippines), for whom they created the dance film, MAMAHAY, and organized the digital dance intensive, Ugnayan. In 2023, Nikaio completed their second and final season as a company member with EMERGE125, served as the AAPI Artist in Residence at TOPAZ ARTS, and started KAōS Dance Collective. KAōS creates collaborative, interdisciplinary, and site-specific dance works by centering artists’ individual voices and talents. KAōS has presented works for organizations including Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, Green Space, and Maven Art House. Nikaio is also part of the inaugural cohort of teaching artists for the Misty Copeland Foundation, where they continue to provide accessible ballet education to students of color through the BE BOLD program. @nik.ai.o

Information about the fellowship is available on A4’s website.

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