Angry Reader of the Week: Ally Vega

"...swimming in that divine feminine essence and letting it pour out to everyone around me."

Hey, everybody! Gather 'round, because it is time once again to meet the Angry Reader of the Week, spotlighting you, the very special readers of this website. Over the years, I've been able to connect with a lot of cool folks, and this is a way of showing some appreciation and attention to the people who help make this blog what it is. This week's Angry Reader is Ally Vega.

Who are you?

I am a 2nd generation Filipina American who loves to explore the depths of the divine feminine.

What are you?

I am a choreographer, a performer, a movement artist, a dance educator, a dance director, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and lover of coffee, corgis, and cool things like Michelle Obama's audiobook or the occasional mukbang.

Where are you?

I am based in the busy Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.

Where are you from?

I am from Anaheim, CA where going to Disneyland every weekend just to get a Dole Whip and go on one ride is the norm because yes, we all had annual passes.

What do you do?

Nowadays, I like to create what I call "Filipino folk fusion" pieces, where I take traditional Filipino dances and mix in hip hop/street dance/club dance styles with it. I present this work with my dance company, Ancestral Vision Movement. I started exploring this work because back in 2016 when I went to visit my family in the Philippines, my grandfather who has dementia wondered why I was speaking English. In his dementia state, he blurted out that I need to learn Tagalog. I knew he meant well by it, but it sent me on a frenzy of emotions. Not knowing how to speak Tagalog has been my lifelong insecurity, so when I came back to the states, I took the time to sit in that feeling. Eventually that feeling brought me to create my first Filipino folk fusion piece where I did a singkil fusion to the song "La Filipina" by Gingee. Since that moment, we've performed on many community stages and our biggest stage ever, the LAX International Airport.

Besides my work with my dance company, I'm also a dance teaching artist, so I travel from different schools and studios throughout the week to teach different curriculums to students in East LA, South Central, Pasadena, and Duarte. I also teach privates to adults and lately I've been working with adults who are or had experienced trauma and want to use dance as a form of healing.

What are you all about?

I am all about owning your authenticity and sharing that with others. So for me, that's really swimming in that divine feminine essence and letting it pour out to everyone around me. I feel once people just share that abundance of authenticity with people, we start to really connect and empathize with one another. It's definitely a lifelong journey and I do need the constant reminder that my path is unique and that's ok. So I'm here to also remind you that your path is unique and that's more than ok. :)

What makes you angry?

Ohhh... a lot. Haha. Let's start with the fact that today is Larry Itliong Day and yet the mainstream narrative of this country continues to NOT highlight him, resulting in thousands of Filipino Americans not knowing who he was or what he's done for working class Americans. I know California officially recognizes this day, but we need to keep pushing his story to the forefront. It's not just a story for Filipinos and other Asians -- this is an AMERICAN hero. I'm frustrated that after all these years, our stories are still too foreign for people. Even when I present my Filipino folk fusion work to mainstream dance/art spaces, my work gets labeled as "another cultural group just doing the cultural things" (which by the way, is really insulting to all the cultural music/dance groups out there that have been perfecting their craft for years.) It really blows my mind that the minute we start to use parts of our cultural identity in our work, we're automatically labeled as different and it's too difficult for people (white people) to understand.

And like most people, I'm frustrated about the travesty who's occupying the White House right now. I think we can all write a think piece about our feelings towards him, but I'll save that for another day. In the meantime, let's all agree to stop congratulating white men on their mediocrity. White men -- no one cares about your performative woke-ness. Just BE A BETTER PERSON THAN WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY. You don't get to stop and comment on how tiring it is. Keep learning, keep listening, and recognize how much space you're taking up in every room you're in.

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