Magnolia Yang Sao Yia


Artist2Artist Fellowship


Magnolia Yang Sao Yia (she/her) is a daughter of Hmong refugees and a former undocumented immigrant living on Tongva and Chumash lands (Inglewood, CA). She is a dance artist, scholar and educator.

As a contemporary dance theater choreographer, she works to activate performers’ bodily histories and knowledges, including her own, on stage (the stage as an expansive term). Her work ranges from self-performed solo works and ensemble works and often centers the Hmong American woman subject as the site of feminist inquiry and critique. She has presented her dance work in L.A. (CA), Albuquerque (NM), Chicago (IL), and more widely in Minnesota such as the Walker Art Center, Cowles Center, Pillsbury House + Theater, Carleton College, and TU Dance School, to name a few. Although trained in many dance forms and techniques, Magnolia primarily moves in Yorchha™ (Ananya Dance Theatre’s contemporary dance technique), House dance, and modern dance techniques and aesthetics.

Featured Image: Mai, 2017. Photo by Bill Cameron. Courtesy of the artist.

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We got sunrise, we got sunset (MIXTAPE 2017). Costume by Ka Oskar Ly. Photo by Laichee Yang. Courtesy of the artist.

remembering: tais, 2023. Choreographed, performed, sound editing and installation by Magnolia Yang Sao Yia. Photo by Steve Rosa. Courtesy of the artist.

Choreographed, performed and sound editing by Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Costume design by Kuab Maiv Yaj, Projection installation and filming by Laichee Yang, Sound in excerpt, “They’re Not Sure It Is a Baby” by Michelle Kinney. New Works 4 Weeks presented by Red Eye Theater, Minneapolis, MN. June 8-11, 2017. 

Mai is a solo work that explores Hmong girlhood coming into womanhood. Mai, placed in a hostile environment, traces through the archives of her body and memories to comprehend her histories, and to imagine a reality where she can be whole.

Choreographed by Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Dancers: Itly Thayieng, Kealoha Ferreira, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Nakita Vang, Nancy Xiong, Prescillia Yang, and Rachel Miller, Sound: "Blackbird" by Nina Simone, "Graphit" by Thomas Brinkmann, "Pussy Trak" by Bok Bok & Tom Trago. Circulation: Connection Through Embodying Rhythm curated by Erinn Liebhard Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis, MN, April 8-9, 2016.

she can be seen walking alone, 2016. Choreographed, performed and sound editing by Magnolia Yang Sao Yia. Photo by Bruce Silcox. From left to right, Dej Txiaj Ntsim/Kuab Maiv Yaj, Magnolia Yang Sao Yia, Laichee Yang.
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