Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor: 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award
In her dancing and choreography, Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor draws on more than just physical strength and technique from her background in classical ballet. She is inspired by history, Asian cultures, storytelling, and community organizing. She draws on her Japanese-Filipina heritage and Buddhist faith, incorporating Asian-American theater and classical Japanese dance in her pieces. Her deep and wide mixture of influences echoes the multidisciplinary undergraduate experience she had at Western.
“At Western, though I continued to dance, I was a journalism major. I explored storytelling in a collaborative, multidisciplinary way that is present in my work today. My cultural anthropology minor is also at play in my work.”
Though a journalism major seemed like an anomaly in her dance-centric path, she enjoyed exploring the precision of writing and learning how to synthesize what was happening in the world around her.
“To Western’s credit, that broad liberal arts education gave me a place to pursue all of my interests, to customize my own learning, and to envision how I would ultimately contribute as an artist and journalist. I want to create change on the stage and in the world—dance and writing are my tools.”