For Linda Kuo, food and dance are the ultimate forms of cultural and individual expression.
As such, she has combined the two for a new community program Edible Tales — offered through the non-profit Dancers Unlimited, which explores social justice, community and storytelling through food and dance.
Based in Brooklyn and Hawai’i, the program aims to provide a safe space for dancers and non-dancers alike, to discuss healing, the fight for justice and much more through movement inspired by food, recipe sharing and intimate conversation.
“Part of the company is based in Hawai’i, so there is a huge conversation about sovereignty and topics around decolonization,” co-founder and Director Kuo said. “We’re learning with the community and discovering what food means to people, not just individually, but as a collective culture.”
Currently, the program offers both in-person and virtual classes, where participants are guided through a movement exploration process, before being separated into groups and delving into the topic of the month.
“This is about grounding people, about going into the mud and kind of embodying that idea of growth,” Kuo said. “Growth can be muddy and messy and dirty sometimes. But it’s okay because we’re still growing.”
Edible Tales was created to serve people’s need for connection during the isolation of the ongoing pandemic. Kuo said it was important the program provided space for more than just dance and food, but became a space of community to share experience and cultures.
“This is really how we stay connected. Many of us are separated from our family and loved ones, so we try to make every prompt as personal as possible so it’s not intimidating and it’s easy for people to digest.” Kuo said.
Kuo has plans to expand the program alongside the dancers who are creating work inspired by the explorations they have had in Edible Tales workshops. There are plans to create an app to showcase the discussions of food, sustainability and the garden.
“In the long term, I would love to do a docuseries,” Kuo said. “It would be about everything we’re doing, what the dancers are creating. And whenever we’re all able to get together, I want to have a huge feast, just all different kinds of foods and dancing.”
Where dance provides expression, food provides comfort and healing, Kuo said.
“Every single person in this world has gone through experiences,” Kuo said. “They all use food to provide comfort, whether you’re from another country, or not, everyone is trying to feel more at home and connected to their homeland as much as possible. With that food and culture is a blend that keeps the tradition going.”
You can RSVP for the open rehearsals here.
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