Under City Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ Tree, Dancers Find New Roles,” - The New York Times December 26, 2017
“Connoisseurs of the Balanchine “Nutcracker” should notice a couple of changes that have been made this season. The most discussed has been to reduce the element of racial caricature in Chinese Tea: The male dancer now wears a modified hat and makeup, and neither points his index fingers upward or does rapid little runs. How to represent national or ethnic types within the framework of Tchaikovsky’s score? This is a challenge I hope the company will continue to consider.”

Toning Down Asian Stereotypes to Make ‘The Nutcracker’ Fit the Times,” - The New York Times, November 13, 2018
“It was looking like a caricature and enforcing some negative stereotypes,” said Jonathan Stafford, the leader of City Ballet’s interim artistic team. “We’re kind of in the middle of an evolution right now, a new cultural awareness. While we need to maintain the integrity of the original, we also need to make sure it works for today’s audience,” he added. “We don’t want people walking out offended.”

‘The Nutcracker’ Gets a Makeover,” - PRI’s The World, November 16, 2018
"One sure sign we're nearing the Christmas holidays is when “The Nutcracker” comes to town.  The ballet first debuted in Russia in 1892. But this year, the performance by many American theater companies will look different. The World’s Carol Hills talks with Mikko Nissinen with the Boston Ballet about what changes have been made.”

From Offensive to Inclusive: How Pacific Northwest Ballet Put a New Spin on George Balanchine’s ‘The Nutcracker’” - Q13 Fox TV Seattle, November 22, 2018
“‘In this case, very minor changes created a much broader acceptability, and I think really included many more viewers.’ [Pacific Northwest Ballet Artistic Director] Boal says. He adds, ‘it’s a change intended in the spirit of the original choreographer. In this day and age I think [George Balanchine] would have made changes to anything that would have been perceived as a racist dance - he would not have wanted that...It’s only fair to him not to represent him as he would have been in 1954 - and to really represent him as he would have wanted to be today, in 2018.’”

“‘Nutcracker’ nation: Dancers from 16 countries cast a spell in the holiday classic ballet,” - The Patriot Ledger, November 22, 2018
”While the national dances express traditions, [Boston Ballet Artistic Director] Nissinen this year changed his Chinese dance choreography to eliminate what he felt were stereotypes. ‘I conceived a more neutral Chinese dance, so to say,’ he said. ‘It’s important that these (national) dances are not caricatures.’”

“Louisville Ballet Joins Nationwide Effort to Address ‘Nutcracker’s’ Asian Stereotypes” - 89.3 WFPL Louisville, November 29, 2018
“If you’ve seen the Louisville Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker recently, you’ll see why Chan was a fan. The Chinese Tea dance exudes both power and playfulness. ‘[Chan] thought the Chinese dragons we use are very appropriate,’ [Louisville Ballet Artistic Director] Curran said. ‘Not used gratuitously or inappropriately and he was pleased with what we had done. There are a lot of versions that are very beautiful and respectful of the Chinese tradition.’

Recut: ‘Tis The Season For Cultural Insensitivity?” - 89.3 WFPL Louisville, November 29, 2018
“If you’ve ever seen “The Nutcracker,” you know a good part of the second act takes place in the beautiful Land of Sweets. Clara and the Prince travel there and meet dancing delicacies from around the world — candy canes from Russia, chocolate from Spain, and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy. But one of the sequences, as historically performed, hits a more sour note: The Chinese tea dance. The segment often features stereotyped caricatures of Chinese people.”

NYCB's Georgina Pazcoguin on Her New Initiative to Eliminate Asian Stereotypes in Ballet- Pointe Magazine/Dance Magazine, November 30, 2018
“We thought, if NYCB is open to change, why not everyone else? The pledge is a way for us to consolidate conversations that are already happening in communities all across America and lead by example.”

Georgina Pazcoguin: ‘I Found My Voice.’” - Bleep Magazine, December 3, 2018
“Phil Chan and I didn’t start this discussion, it was already happening, but we’ve asked, 
What if this became a national thing? A place like New York City Ballet was willing to not erase tradition, because Balanchine is important, but to adapt tradition to include all cultures and educate people in all cultures. We didn’t want to slap people on the wrists but come at it with a respectful attitude of education. This is a production that kids go to see and they are being influenced by what’s on stage. This is about how can we be better.”

Balanchine’s Nutcracker: Bright New Era For Trademarked Ballet” - DancePlug, December 4, 2018
“The Miami City Ballet version has eliminated the finger business, All three of the dancers, two women and a man, who danced in Friday’s Tea performance were Asian and danced in recognizably familiar costume without added makeup. In the variation the male dancer arrives in a box, much like the windup toys in Act I. It is another example of how ballet and entertainment can unwittingly disguise identity issues and promote harmful attitudes. Seeing the characters in
 danse chinoise ultimately emerging fully as roles for real people still remains a hurdle left to clear.”

Oregon Ballet Theatre removes 'yellowface' from 'The Nutcracker'" - KATU Oregon, December 7, 2018
“‘As an Asian American in ballet who’s been sensitive to this for a while, seeing this national movement has been really inspiring for me.’ He added, “I would like to commend Mr. Irving as a leader in diversity on this issue. I don’t want to take credit for starting the conversation. We merely consolidated a lot of conversations that were happening around the country already.’”

Episode 77: With Phil Chan & Georgina Pazcoguin” - Dance & Stuff, December 7, 2018
“The queens chat about
The Favourite before being joined by the queens, Georgina Pazcoguin and Phil Chan. Hear how this fierce duo is drawing attention to the complexity of Asian stereotypes in classical ballet.”

Utah’s Ballet West wows crowd with ‘The Nutcracker’ at the Kennedy Center in Washington” - The Salt Lake Tribune, December 7, 2018
“Sklute, who was one of the first artists to sign on to a movement to drop a scene in “The Nutcracker” that used tired and insulting Chinese culture references, including the use of yellowface and pointy hats, said one of the big changes he made in Ballet West’s production was to make that part in Act II more of a ‘celebration, not a mockery. What might have been acceptable as a representation of Chinese culture in 1944 is simply not so anymore,’ Sklute said. ‘And we have to look at how we approach presenting these representations.’ This year’s performance included a Chinese warrior fighting a dragon, a move Sklute says, ‘shows off a strength and a glamour’ of Chinese culture.”

Rethinking cultural stereotypes in The Nutcracker” - KUOQ.org 94.9, December 7, 2018
“Removing yellowface from theatrical productions has been a frustratingly slow process. Now some ballet companies are beginning to address problematic racial overtones found in
The Nutcracker. Dancer Gabrielle Nomura Gainor spoke about the changes with KUOW’s Marcie Sillman, along with Vivian Little and Marie Chong – both former dancers who have gone on to become cofounder of Dance Fremont and artistic director of ARC Dance, respectively.”

NY City Ballet’s ‘Rogue Ballerina’ challenges stereotypes” - Inquirer.net, December 8, 2018
“‘We got teary-eyed the first time we saw the dancers’ new routine, their makeup and costumes. I mean it was incredible. If Peter Martins of New York City Ballet can consider changing and making Nutcracker—a holiday tradition—more inclusive, why not every single production?’”

PA Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ gets everything lavishly right in 50th anniversary production” - The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 8, 2018
“Traditionally, the dancers (almost always Caucasian) have worn heavy makeup and performed movement based on unfortunate, vaguely ‘Asian’ stereotypes. But times are changing: Last year the New York City Ballet, for which Balanchine created this work, revamped its “Tea” — losing the pointy-finger nonsense, among other choreography changes — and the Balanchine Trust, which controls the artist’s oeuvre, now allows other companies to do the same. On Friday night, the performers in Pennsylvania Ballet’s “Tea” (including the excellent Zecheng Liang, who, ironically, is from China) presented the new version, now without the offensive racial caricatures. It was a welcome change.”

Meet the man keeping alive Utah's ‘The Nutcracker’ obsession” - Deseret News, December 9, 2018
“Other revisions include five set and costume redesigns over the past 74 years. Mother Buffoon has been revamped several times for safety reasons, increased sensitivity to racial stereotyping has led to the elimination of certain makeup, and even the Nutcracker doll itself has had several makeovers.”

“'Yellowface' in 'The Nutcracker' isn't a benign ballet tradition, it's racist stereotyping” - The LA Times, December 11, 2018
“Ballet people will argue that all of these elements in “The Nutcracker” are just tradition, that no insult is intended. But in 2018, no one should be able to plead ignorance of stereotyping’s dangers. During my “Nutcracker” research in dozens of backstage conversations, I ran into effervescent young ballet girls, most of them white, who dutifully told me that the Chinese Dance helped them “learn about other cultures.” What I saw them learning was how to flatten anyone of Asian descent into a cartoon.”

The Brooklyn Nutcracker Turns a Holiday Tradition Into an Opportunity to Honor Authentic Expressions of Diversity- Broadway World, December 11, 2018
“There's a company in NYC's most varied melting pot of Kings County-Brooklyn Ballet-who have taken it upon themselves to utilize the opportunity The Nutcracker provides not only to create dances that aren't ethnically offensive, but that celebrate diversity in such a way that it honors both the tradition it comes from and expresses the cultural richness of the borough (as well as the many global cultures who've made it their home).”

VIDEO: Ballet West Redoes a Problematic Part of ‘The Nutcracker’” - NPR’s 1A, December 11, 2018
“New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin and administrator Phil Chan 
started a petition called ‘Final Bow For Yellowface’ recommended we check out how Ballet West, a dance company based out of Salt Lake City, is reinterpreting the section of the show.”

Bringing Down the Curtain on Yellowface - NPR’s 1A with Joshua Johnson, December 12, 2018
“Should longheld traditions change with the times? How has the ultra-white ballet world grappled with issues of race?”

We have to 'be more thoughtful' - How the Odyssey Dance Theatre learned from recent controversy” - Deseret News, December 12, 2018
“Regardless of their intent, reinforcing these stereotypes dehumanizes people and reduces them to exaggerated caricatures instead of three-dimensional people," they wrote in a statement on their website. ‘Our shared history is replete of examples of very real harm when we don't see each other as people and single out a group for ridicule and shame. We hope that with creativity, we can find a way to enhance this performance, not censor it.’”

Fresh, vibrant, still the ‘Nutcracker’” - Oregon ArtsWatch, December 12, 2018
“Oregon Ballet Theatre brings a sparkling musical vitality to its newest run of "The Nutcracker." Now, let's talk about Tea and Coffee.

If you're looking for a good portrayal of 'Chinese-ness,' watching 'The Nutcracker' is a mistake” - The LA Times, December 14, 2018
“Today, because of the complaints by Asian American actors for more diverse character roles, the stereotypical and even racist portrayal of Asians and Asian Americans is becoming less of an issue, but this is an area still in need of improvement.

Nutcracker Truths” - Dance Tabs, December 16, 2018
“There’s been a lot of publicity about the elimination of the clichéd, faux-Asian gestures in the “Tea” dance in the second-act divertissement. The little black wigs (for the two women) and whiskers (for the man) have also been removed. Now that the offending details have been edited out, what has remained of the choreography – sharp pointework, simple port de bras, and jumps for the man – is rather generic. The dance has lost its musical and imaginative impulse. This is a ballet-master’s solution, not a choreographer’s. In order to make the dance live again, the company will have to take the bull by the horns and find a choreographer brave enough to come up with something else – a clever, novel, charming dance that fits Tchaikovsky’s flute melody (like a tea-kettle at full blast) and repetitive rhythmic pattern. Perhaps they could try something new every year until they find a solution that’s just right.

Dance Companies Pledge To Fight Yellowface In ‘The Nutcracker’” - KNPR’s State of Nevada, Nevada Public Radio, December 20, 2018
“Nevada Ballet Theatre believes that people of all cultures and races should be appropriately and respectfully represented in the performing arts; and so we support our fellow ballet companies across the U.S. who are making changes to more accurately represent the Chinese Tea Divertissement in their annual productions of The Nutcracker. Like other companies, we wish to celebrate and pay homage, rather than present anything that may be perceived as stereotypical or offensive. Therefore, we have made slight modifications to our own Chinese variation that range from hand gesturing to makeup application. As these conversations evolve, we look forward to participating in future discussions about this important initiative.”

Grand Rapids Ballet reflects on being more inclusive in ‘The Nutcracker’” - WGVU Radio NPR Grand Rapids, December 24, 2018
“Chan said if Peter Martins, leader of the New York City Ballet, could make these changes last year, then so could the rest of the country. [Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director James] Sofranko said the ballet hasn’t gotten any complaints from their performance. Still, he wanted to make sure their performance didn’t perpetuate any stereotypes. Sofranko sent Chan pictures of makeup and costumes and videos of choreography. He said there weren’t any glaring stereotypes in their performance, but they talked about how to make the characters stronger.”

Yee: Performing arts must stop excluding marginalized communities” - Ottawa Citizen, January 27, 2019
“Change in the ballet world means that new choreography and roles need to be created, and sets and costumes have to be purchased. But if the ballet world wants to commit to evolving and representing people well on stage (or if it just wants to prevent the art form from dying), it will make those changes.”

Final Bow for Yellowface: Ending Outdated Representations of Asians in Ballet - Dance Informa, April 30, 2019
The question at hand: How do we respectfully represent Chinese culture while also preserving Balanchine’s artistic legacy and tradition?”

25 Asian American & Pacific Islander Dancers to Follow” - A Ballet Education, May 3, 2019
“A former grad school professor from the University of Minnesota recently was quoted for the organization and I thought to myself, ‘Why I haven’t I signed?’ I thought, ‘I am already a huge advocate of Asians in the Arts, so that is good enough. I don’t think we should have special treatment for being Asian. I definitely believe that talent matters and that this whole affirmative action in ballet is diluting the talent pool.’ I then thought, ‘But, I don’t want ballets that portray Asian stories to go away. I don’t mind watching the Ballet version of Madame Butterfly danced by a white woman. Is it that offensive that she drew her eyeliner on heavy and powdered her face?’”

Opera is Stuck in a Racist, Sexist Past, While Many in the Audience Have Moved on- The Conversation, July 9, 2019
“More generally, arts organisations are facing broader calls to diversify their casts and creative teams. The US-based organisation 
Final Bow for Yellow Face actively lobbies companies to ‘replace caricature with character’ in productions across ballet, opera, and theatre. These goals are difficult to achieve, particularly when traditional productions of works like Madama Butterfly and Turandot regularly pack in audiences worldwide. As audiences continue to evolve, however, the opera industry will soon need to grapple with larger questions about which works still belong in the ‘canon’.”

It’s Time to End Yellowface in the Performing Arts” - CutCommon Magazine, August 19, 2019
“Some people have expressed their concern that this movement is changing the original intention of an artist. However, in an era of increased political correctness, my fear is that works with strong artistic merit but don’t fit the social norms of the times will be thrown out. I believe there should be a way to preserve and present works of art in a way that is respectful to all humanity, and that speak to universal human truths. When we can make a work reflect that, it then becomes a work of art for everyone.