photography / documentary: chinatown baby boomers: Margaret Yuen, Red Silk Dancers

“How is it to be bold when you get older? Only five years ago I was feeling very old. I'm 63 today. I thought, with all these young people, two generations now in front of me, maybe there is no place for me. It's a different time period, and what Chinese Americans want to see is different. I wasn't sure if what I am doing has any relevancy.”Margaret Yuen found her voice in dance as a child of immigrant parents who struggled to express herself in the English language. Her Red Silk Dancers company is firmly rooted in the folk and classical Chinese traditions, but her latest series features contemporary works: “I want to express about the role of women, traditionally. Women in the past had no voice. My mother was in an arranged marriage. In one generation, the contrast, it's huge! When I was younger, all the stories, the Chinese legends, don’t have a real nice woman model. Until Mulan. Finally! She’s not depending on a man, wait for a prince to come by, to rescue her or to have a life”“I decided that at this age you have to think back to where you were when you were in your twenties. I was 25 years old when I got this space. People looked at me like, ‘You're nuts.’ This space was not livable. I mean, there was no heat, half the windows were cracked, the mouse situation was so bad. I didn't have a lease.... But then, I wasn't crazy, I was just bold. I didn't know better. So now I'm going back to being bold. And that's so satisfying!{quote}
Margaret Yuen, Red Silk Dancers

“How is it to be bold when you get older? Only five years ago I was feeling very old. I'm 63 today. I thought, with all these young people, two generations now in front of me, maybe there is no place for me. It's a different time period, and what Chinese Americans want to see is different. I wasn't sure if what I am doing has any relevancy.” 

Margaret Yuen found her voice in dance as a child of immigrant parents who struggled to express herself in the English language. Her Red Silk Dancers company is firmly rooted in the folk and classical Chinese traditions, but her latest series features contemporary works: “I want to express about the role of women, traditionally. Women in the past had no voice. My mother was in an arranged marriage. In one generation, the contrast, it's huge! When I was younger, all the stories, the Chinese legends, don’t have a real nice woman model. Until Mulan. Finally! She’s not depending on a man, wait for a prince to come by, to rescue her or to have a life” 

“I decided that at this age you have to think back to where you were when you were in your twenties. I was 25 years old when I got this space. People looked at me like, ‘You're nuts.’ This space was not livable. I mean, there was no heat, half the windows were cracked, the mouse situation was so bad. I didn't have a lease.... But then, I wasn't crazy, I was just bold. I didn't know better. So now I'm going back to being bold. And that's so satisfying!"