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OneTON Collective  is a collaboration between dance artists Jasmine Nunn, Lai Yi Ohlsen, and Kayla Tomooka. During the Breaking Ground Residency, they will be investigating Asian American identity when isolated or distanced from Asian community. Phoenix is a large city with a relatively small Asian population, and they are looking at their own relationships to their varied heritages and how this affects their identities. Race relations and identity are current topics of much debate with such recent events as the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, an extremely divisive election cycle, and the continued lack of diversity in Hollywood. This tension pushes us to thoughtfully consider our projected racial identities in the present context, often heavily reliant on the digital world, while considering the weight of the past. 

Jasmine Nunn comes from a background in classical ballet, and primarily studied postmodern contemporary styles while earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Arizona State University. She is fascinated by the intersection of culture and identity in the context of dance, and she explored a facet of this idea in her thesis project for Barrett the Honors College through examining modern dance culture in China versus in the US. Since graduation, she has performed in work by Dirty Buckle Dance, Alyssa Brown, and Jennifer Cafarella, as well as in some of her own choreography. Last Spring, she created two pieces for the ReCurrence Dance Collective performance, and she was also one of [nueBOX]’s inaugural resident artists, creating and performing a one act solo called “Gray Matter.” This project focused on the process of decision-making and finding purpose, and it culminated in a 20 minute piece presented at Phoenix Center for the Arts. She also is currently creating a collaborative work for an independent performance at the Nanogram Studio shipping container in Downtown Phoenix.


Kayla Tomooka is a native to Arizona, born and raised in Sierra Vista, AZ, she began her dance training at the age of two. Her dance instructing career started at the age of sixteen and at the age of eighteen she was directing her studio’s competition teams. As of June 2016, she completed her BFA in Dance as well as minors in Communication and Asian Pacific American Studies from Arizona State University with Magna Cum Laude. While at Arizona State University, her primary focus was on the Urban program, studying urban history and movement. Her secondary focus was on participating in post-modern contemporary works in Undergraduate Project Shows.


She created many smaller works in her Undergraduate career, but her most prized possession was her Senior Capstone Project, Hāweo. Hāweo was a fully immersive evening length work leading the audience down the rabbit hole into a world filled of movement, spoken word, video, set design, and light design. Each element of Hāweo was created in conjunction with ASU School of Dance professors, local artists, and Kaua Dance Company. Since graduation, Kayla has received a job teaching Urban and Jazz dance instruction at Dance 101. Kayla has also began to reimagine Hāweo in hopes to premiere the sequel in 2017.



Lai Yi Ohlsen is a twenty three year old, multidisciplinary artist focused upon intersections of space, process and their relation to identity. She graduated from Barrett, the Honors College in May 2016 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a Minor in Art History. She has performed in works by Julie Akerly, Gina Jurek, Grace Gallagher and Melissa Britt. While heavily invested post-modern contemporary dance concepts, the foundation of her movement is embedded in the Arizona Urban scene. As Vice President of Hip Hop Coalition at ASU, she worked to use Urban culture as a gateway to community.


As an artist, Lai Yi seeks to expand the space in between. Her completed Honors Thesis ‘complexMovement’ explored the intersection between algorithmic design and improvisational movement as a way to bridge the gap of understanding between of her two passions. She is drawn to moments of understanding and interpretation amidst pride and acceptance of individual identities.

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October 22 @ 2pm

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio



November 22 @ 8pm

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio



December 10 @ 2pm

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio


December 10 @ 4pm

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio


January 7 @ 2pm

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio


Breaking Ground Dance & Film Fesival

January 27 & 28

Tempe Center for the Arts


Reshaping Expectation

December 10 - FREE

Mesa Arts Center, Acting Studio

Have you ever identified with something, only to realize you don’t really understand it? How we see and understand ourselves and others is shaped by innumerable factors. As we create this piece on heritage, value, agency, and community, we welcome you to join our exploration. We want to know what these things mean to you, as well as to investigate our understanding through movement.

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