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Museum of Chinese in America, 215 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013

Free Admission | Open to General Public

As the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) has been hosting a wide range of programming to celebrate AANHPI Heritage Month this May, June marks National Immigrant Heritage Month. In a similar manner, we honor the contributions of immigrants to our great nation and acknowledge their profound impact.

On Monday, June 12, we are proud to present MOCA CINEMA: Never Fade Away, a short film featuring the history making dancer Chun Wai Chan. Written, produced, and directed by pianist Donna Weng Friedman, Never Fade Away is the true story about her Chinese immigrant father who came to this country in the 1940s with nothing but his hopes and dreams, and how a radio and a waltz changed his life. It is a story told through narration, music, and dance, and has already touched the hearts of audiences throughout the Tri-State area in live musical performances as part of Heritage and Harmony concerts. Weng Friedman created Heritage and Harmony programs to promote understanding and tolerance among people of all backgrounds by bringing them together through stories, music & dance.

Following the screening, Weng Friedman will be joined by her production team – editor Siyi Chen, choreographer Ariel Grossman, cinematographer Garrett Parker as well as featured ballerina Xiaoxiao Cao, for a discussion on the creative process of making Never Fade Away. This conversation will be moderated by Neil Wu-Gibbs, MOCA’s Director of Programming.

June 12, 2023
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

About Donna Weng Friedman

Award winning pianist Donna Weng Friedman enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, curator, producer and app developer.

Donna is the inaugural winner of the Women Who Innovate Grant 2023, awarded by the International Alliance for Women in Music, Global Initiatives committee.​ Her album Heritage and Harmony: Silver Linings, featuring exclusively AAPI/BIPOC artists, was presented with two Silver Medals at the 2022 Global Music Awards. Intended as a response to the wave of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals, her pandemic EP aims to promote understanding and tolerance among people of all backgrounds

In collaboration with WQXR, Donna created and produced Heritage and Harmony, a virtual concert series in celebration of Asian Pacific Heritage Month. Her story was featured on  Asian Americans of New York & New Jersey | WLIW21, a segment of which has been aired on PBS numerous times. Donna was awarded a 2022 New York Women Composer’s grant. She is the co-creator and co-host of HER/MUSIC;HER/STORY with soprano Allison Charney, a mini-series on WQXR as well as a concert series that shines a light on women composers, past and present.

Donna has performed in concert halls worldwide, appeared as soloist with major symphony orchestras and has collaborated with world-class artists. The curator of the Donna Weng Friedman ’80 Master Class Series at Princeton University, she is a member of Princeton University Music Department’s Advisory Council.

About Xiaoxiao Cao, Dancer

Xiaoxiao Cao was born in China and began her professional ballet training at age ten at Guangzhou Art School. After graduating at age sixteen, she joined the Guangzhou Ballet in 2005 and became a Soloist in 2011. In 2012, She joined Roxey Ballet and moved to New York. Two years later, she joined the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, based at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 2018, she joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. In 2019, she made her Broadway debut with the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She is a dancewear designer as well and launched her leotard product line called Xiaoxiao Designs in 2015.

About Siyi Chen, Editor

Siyi Chen is a journalist-turned documentary filmmaker based in New York. She holds a BA in World History and Chinese Literature (dual degree) from Peking University (Beijing) and an MA in News and Documentary from New York University. Her films have been supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures (US), the IDFA Bertha Fund (the Netherlands), the Asian Cinema Fund (South Korea), among others. Her directorial feature debut Dear Mother, I Meant to Write about Death screened at Busan International Film Festival and received a special mention from the Wide Angle Documentary Competition. It was also selected for IDFA 2022 and was nominated for the Best First Feature award. Chen is also the winner of the SFFILM’s 2019 New American Fellowship and a former artist-in-residence at the Jacob Burns Film Center.

Inspired by her cross-cultural background, Chen’s work explores migration, identity and the diasporic experience, with a special focus on creating lyrical and poetic portraits of women. Besides making documentaries, Chen also writes poems in both Mandarin and English and is working on a collection of fictional stories about millennial Chinese women living outside of China.

About Ariel Grossman, Choreographer

Ariel Grossman, a native New Yorker, trained at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts and Joffrey Ballet School. She earned a B.S. in Dance, with honors, and a Minor in Women’s Studies from Skidmore College, and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. In 2008, she founded Ariel Rivka Dance.

Ariel’s work has been presented worldwide, including BAM Fisher, NJPAC, Bryant Park, NYLA, and in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Houston, Cleveland, Florida, Oklahoma, Detroit, and Memphis, and Istanbul, Turkey. In 2023 she will bring her work to Bari, Italy and Perigord, France. Dance Lab NY, Konverjdans, Ballet Vero Beach, and Skidmore College have commissioned Ariel. She has collaborated with Rioult Dance NY, Taylor 2, Heidi Latsky, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, and Sean Curran. Ariel is a past recipient of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (New) Moves Fellowship, Monira Performance Residency, and a Nimbus Arts Center artist residency. She has received grants from DanceNYC, Dance NJ, Jersey City Arts Council, and New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Ariel received a 2023 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

About Garrett Parker, Cinematographer

Garrett is a Brooklyn based dance artist, filmmaker and advocate for people with disabilities. Garrett is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His work has been shared at NYC venues including Judson Church, Baruch Performing Arts Center, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Sheen Center, Actors Arts Fund Theater, the International Human Rights Arts Festival, Dixon Place, Last Frontier, Create Art and Arts on Site. Garrett is committed to telling stories and sharing the healing qualities of dance with the world.

MOCA has been creating new content through multiple platforms, always free of charge—because history matters. We hope you’ll consider making a gift to become part of a continuing lifeline for MOCA. No amount is too little, and we greatly appreciate your generosity. Your contribution helps sustain our beloved institution and supports the creation of new programming that will bring comfort and inspiration to more communities.


This program is brought to you by MOCA friends and partners, including Bloomberg Philanthropies.

This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Special thanks to Other Half Brewing Company for its generous sponsorship of beer.