“glorious eye-candy… the search for commonalities, juxtaposed with distinct cultural differences which go unrecognized by the West, are bound to make for a rewarding journey for the artists, and their audiences, too.” – Chicago Tribune

“Go: 50 Things to Do” – Chicago Magazine

IS/LAND is a performance collaborative comprised of Asian Pacific Islander American and Asian artists, including movers Trish Abalo, ciale, Catherine Hepler, Chih-Hsien Lin, J. Amber Kao, writer/poet Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, and sound/visual artist Chien-An Yuan.



J. Amber Kao is a choreographer, improviser, and dance artist who has presented work and collaborated with artists in Italy, Portugal, New York, and various other states within the USA.  She was most recently awarded a Fulbright grant to conduct research in dance and music in Taipei, Taiwan.  Ms. Kao has a strong interest in interdisciplinary collaboration across all art genres, and at present, uses her background as a musician and dancer to explore points of intersection between these disciplines.



Catherine is a Chicago based dance performer and activist. Originally from Oakland, CA, Cat began dancing at age three and gained a rich and varied dance foundation. Her background includes a variety of styles, such as ballet, contact improvisation, Bharata Natyam, and Polynesian dance.

Independently, she is interested in somatic movement and the embodiment of concepts, as well as the expression of social messages within dance works.



Alyxandra Ciale Charfauros, known as ciale (they/them), is an enby creatrix healer ritualizing consciousness and co-creating change. ciale is a very soon-to-be U-M graduate from the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance’s T&D department holding a BFA in Theater Performance and a double minor in Asian Pacific Islander American Studies and Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship.

ciale is grateful for their beloveds, including their partner and sister (Michael Yuchen Tong and Natasha Zia Charfauros), for everyone’s faith and care, for their relationships of possibility. ciale would also love to remind you to breathe deeply in this moment.



Chih-Hsien is a native of Taiwan, a mover, choreographer, improviser, registered dance/movement therapist, and Licensed Professional Counselor. She is a Movement Pattern Analyst, looking systematically at people’s decision-making process and interaction styles through their established integrated movement patterns. Her movement language reflects a rich cultural bearing from traditional Asian ethnic dances and martial arts to somatic modern integrations: contact improvisation, Alexander Technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and the Feldenkrais Method



Trish Abalo is a mover, meaning-maker, and the daughter of first generation Filipinx immigrants. Her current interests in dance and movement practice are focused on lifelong somatic inquiry, release-based techniques, and pedagogy/performance for disruptive healing and community space-making.



Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a journalist, essayist, speaker, educator, and poet focused on issues of diversity, race, culture, and the arts. Her writing has appeared at NBC News Asian America, PRI Global Nation, New America Media, Pacific Citizen, Angry Asian Man, Cha Asian Literary Journal, Kartika Review, and several anthologies, journals, and art exhibitions. She teaches courses on Asian/Pacific Islander American media and civil rights law at the University of Michigan, and creative writing at University of Hawaii Hilo and Washtenaw Community College.



Chien-An Yuan is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Ann Arbor, MI.  His work has been featured in The New Yorker, Salon, ArtSlant, Huffington Post, and WNYC.

Past exhibitions include The Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Gene Siskel Film Center, Museum of Chinese in America NYC, Syrup Loft, Zhou B Arts Center, Asian American Cultural Center of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Hyde Park Art Center, and Gallery 312.


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