July Feature: An Interview with General May Yang!

8c315801-9c0c-4ebe-a09b-dc5b18d17d0cHey folks, welcome back. This is the second installment of my interviews with the performers in Hunny Bunny and Her Hot Toddies. This time around I had the great experience of interviewing General May Yang.

I have to say I never had an interview like that before. Conducted guerilla style at a park chess table, we flagrantly and ignorantly flouted some tightwad’s sense of decorum and rules because “no filming is allowed on site so you better shut it down.” I felt like a real rebel. And now for the actual interview, brought to you from the perils of being mildly inconvenienced by a bureaucrat.

Brian Vo: I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to be interviewing the beautiful and talented General May Yang, and here we are at the picturesque Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.

So hello May, good to be chatting with you and thank you for your time.

General May Yang: Thank you for your interview I’m so excited about your blog.

BV: Thanks! So first of all how are you doing? Everything ok?

GMY: I’m doing great, yeah, this year has been really great for me.

BV: Ok, so why has it been so great for you?

GMY: Because um, I just got into the group called Coven Dance Company, it’s a tribal belly dance based, fusion dance company and Zoe Jakes is directing this group … and I just became a member of this company.

[People who] are into tribal dance, they will know this name!

BV: Congratulations! Glad you made it in. Are you going to be having a performance for that soon?

GMY: She’s directing a lot of different projects, so I’m going to be in two projects. The first one is House of Tarot, I’ve been doing it since 2014, we’re going to have a House of Tarot show in September in Southern California and a show in San Francisco.

BV: Alright, I hope to get more announcements from you on that as they come! So, for those who haven’t seen you perform, how would you describe your style of dance?

GMY: So I am doing a belly dance form called tribal fusion belly dance. It’s created in Bay Area, it’s a pretty different than typical current style of belly dance which is from Middle East, we kind of fuse other forms of dance … for example we can use any kind of music. The dance is just a style, the belly dance movement is a base, that we can add everything I think.

BV: So, all this stuff is really cool. How’d you get into dancing?

GMY: I started my dancing life when I was really young. I started with Korean traditional dance but I never got the chance to go to dance schools. I always wanted to be a dancer but … I got a lot of opportunity to perform because of church activities, performances, acts…

I was in chorus my entire life, so I had a lot of chance to perform but I wanted to be a professional dancer but I couldn’t go to the school or anything like that… I was just doing for fun a lot of dance classes, and I found belly dance classes, and my teacher convinced me so hard to be a professional belly dancer.

BV: And you’ve pretty much stuck with it since then?

GMY: And it has already been 12 years. … only for belly dancing. You know, there’s a lot of great dancers they’ve been doing this for 5 years for 3 years, I’ve been doing it for this long (holding out hands) but I’m still like a baby dancer so I shouldn’t say… But, I got to know belly dancing for 12 years. That makes more sense

BV: So, for a more present question, how long have you been working with Hunny Bunny?

GMY: So when I first moved to San Francisco 4 years ago, I met her 3 years ago and then I found her, she was auditioning for belly dancers for her show, and I applied and I got to audition in front of Hunny Bunny and a lot of dancers in her group, which is hot toddies! And now I’m in her hot toddies.

BV: Has it been fun?

GMY: Yeah, always! She dragged me to this burlesque scene and it was a really opportunity to know all those talents in bay area. Not just San Francisco, she introduced me to so many shows, so many talents, not just dancers, like comedians, acrobatics, contortionists… It was good opportunity that she showed me this community.

BV: What would you say you’ve gotten out of this?

GMY: I’ve got more chances to perform at the burlesque shows, because I’ve seen a lot of burlesque shows in the bay area, I think it is more than other parts of the United States, a lot … is going on in the bay area…. I’ve gotten to know [a lot of actors and performers] through Hunny Bunny, and I’ve chance to perform at their shows, and get more friends!

For example, they had a show a few weeks ago, the San Francisco Centennial Celebration. There was a huge festival in front of city hall, and I got invited, and I performed three shows, at three different stages. It was organized by one of those burlesque dancers I met, and I got to see other friends I knew already. It’s really good being a part of this community.

BV: Ok some silly questions now: What is your favorite day of the week? Or do all the days blend together?

GMY: Well everyone loves weekend but I have to work on weekends…you know. I love the days I can dance. So maybe Tuesday kind of my favorite because I can dance all day long. I have a class, rehearsal, sometimes a show on Tuesdays. I have a show on Tuesday once a month. I also like Friday because the Skylark show is on Friday.

BV: Another really weird one…

GMY: That one wasn’t really that weird!

BV: Ok it wasn’t that weird but get ready for this one. If you were a food item at a Las Vegas buffet, what would you be?

GMY: What?! Am I the food?

BV: Yes, you are the food.

GMY: Hmmmm…. food….

BV: Or a drink!

GMY: Hmmm, I wanna be a blueberry margarita. They are my two favorite things.

BV: Oh, have you ever had a blueberry margarita?

GMY: I used to be a bartender, so I think I can make one.

BV: Ok, so, some normal questions to finish, so what would you say to people who haven’t seen you perform yet, and why should they see you?

GMY: I’m telling my story, what I love, and what I’ve been through and it is whole package of arts including myself. I’m drawing myself not something else, I’m drawing myself on the canvas and I want to share.

Sometimes people can feel something. I don’t know what people should feel, but I want to share something. If I feel something sad I want to share these sad feelings, or I want to show how I can express those feelings so people can feel something.

Or… oh this is important! My teacher told me when you dance on the stage…it’s not just you dancing. You are having a special moment. As a group we are sharing this special moment, we are creating a special moment.

This is one amazing moment in our life, your life, that you can’t have again because dancing is not like a movie, it is not continuing, its just moments that will be gone after the show! I want to share this moment with people who are watching.

BV: That’s great. Thanks May.