Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Gabrielle Nomura Gainor Interview
Narrator: Gabrielle Nomura Gainor
Interviewers: Ana Tanaka, Dr. Kyle Kinoshita
Date: December 17, 2021
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-29-1

<Begin Segment 1>

AT: Well, to introduce myself, I'm Ana, I'm an undergrad, I'm a junior at U Dub. I am studying American Ethnic Studies along with Medical Anthropology. And so I'm really excited for this interview. I think my Zoom is lagging a little bit. It kind of looks like it is, so let me know if it gets kind of like spotty and stuff. Kyle, would you like to introduce yourself? I guess you guys have met.

KK: Oh, yeah.

AT: Okay. All right. So, Gabrielle, I would, just to start, would you want to tell us a little bit about yourself?

GG: Yes, I would love to tell you about myself. So I am -- what can I tell you? I am Gosei and I'm Gosei Japanese American, I'm also multiracial and Filipina. And I am the granddaughter and great grandchild of forced incarceration survivors. I'm a dancer and a storyteller and an Asian American activist. I know Kyle through our work with the Japanese American Citizens League. And I'm also a mom of two little kids. And I identify as Asian American. And I'm Director of Engagement at the U Dub School of Drama. So, in addition to my own dance and choreography, I also work in the arts, I'm an arts advocate. I previously was at Seattle Opera for eight years and did a lot of work on kind of centering, not just Asians, but BIPOC in the art form, and opera is a tradition that's really ripe with a lot of racism and just white supremacy and colonialism. So a lot of my work was examining these historic works through a contemporary and equity lens and centering BIPOC in those art forms. And I'm also a dancer and grew up studying ballet. So that's... the dance world and the opera world are very similar. And now I'm also in theater and that has a similar link. So I'd say I'm really all about using... I'm a person who really exists at the intersection of community activism and arts and storytelling and Asian Americanness. In the choreography I do, I work with... all of my dancers are, for the most part, they are all Asian American, different types of Asian. And a lot of my stories have... a lot of the stories I tell have been related to Japanese American incarceration. But I've also been, I have a grant currently to work with the Nihonbuyo, traditional Japanese dance, teacher. So I've been incorporating some traditional Japanese dance into my choreography as well. And, yeah, and I'm actually working on a duet with my friend, Truong, that's based on Shinto mythology of the -- Truong is going to be,  Truong is also a drag artist. So he's going to be the sun goddess and I'm going to be the moon god [Laughs]. And I'm gonna incorporate traditional Japanese fan dancing. And it's going to be sort of about the breakup of night and day. And I'm actually -- I'm excited about it because I was kind of chuckling slash making fun of myself, but this is like the first piece I've done that doesn't involve healing from our shared trauma or whatever. I'm excited about that. So that's me.

AT: Wow, that's awesome. Thank you for sharing that.

GG: Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2021 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.