Eth-Noh-Tec was founded in 1982 by Artistic Co-Directors Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo, longstanding San Francisco artists who have contributed greatly to the Asian American performing arts movement.
Originally named the SF Kulintang and later the Kalilang Kulintang Ensemble, in 1990, at the urging of its Board of Directors, they dissolved the traditional ensemble to concentrate entirely on their artistic venture of fusing the ancient with the contemporary. Both Artistic Co-Directors having trained and performed in traditional and contemporary art forms for over two decades, they have since enjoyed tremendous success in this focused fusion, truly meeting the goals of their name Eth-Noh-Tec: The weaving [tec] together of distinctive cultural elements of the East and West [eth] to create new possibilities [noh].
Eth-Noh-Tec presents three cultural workshops and six storytelling programs as well as original plays 300-400 times nationwide each year, reaching over 250,000 cross-generational and cross-cultural audience members per year. In addition, Eth-Noh-Tec has recorded 3 DVDs, 1 audio tape and 2 CDs of Asian tales to fill the cultural need for such products in the marketplace. Also available are t-shirts and a mug. They are in process of creating children’s books and recording over 100 of their stories for future release and posterity.
President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration ’09 at the Smithsonian; President Clinton’s Inaugural Celebration ’97 at the Smithsonian; National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee; “Keepers of the Lore” Joseph Campbell Storytelling Festival in Milford, New Hampshire; San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival; Fabelhaft Festival, Austria; Smokey Hill River Festival in Salina, Kansas; “Tell It In the Mountains,” Storytelling Festival in Ashville, North Carolina; Timpanogos’ Storytelling Festival in Orem, Utah; Michigan Storytelling Festival in Flint, Michigan; and many more.
Museums and Universities:
Smithsonian Discovery Theater; Kennedy Center Millenium Stage; Chicago Children’s Museum; SFMOMA; San Jose Children’s Museum; Denver Art Museum; Denver Museum of Natural History; UC San Diego, Davis, Santa Barbara, Berkeley; Shasta College; Sonoma State; Beloit College; Colorado State; Arizona State; SF State; University of Connecticut; Amherst College and others.
The Association of American Cultures’ Open Dialogue III & IV; Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education; Filipino American Educators Association; Michigan Reading Association; Japanese American Citizen’s League; California Foreign Language Teacher’s Association; National Education Association, Partnership for Public Health; and more.
California Arts Council; Young Audiences throughout United States; Los Angeles Music Center; Orange County Performing Arts Center; various arts councils and agents throughout United States.
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts; Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; and many more.
NPR’s “All Things Considered”; Cable TV; and PBS.
’08 Circle of Excellence Award by the National Storytelling Network; San Francisco Green Business Award ’07; ’99 “Artist of the Year” by National Young Audiences, Inc.; ’96 Parents’ Choice Gold and ’95 National Parenting Silver for “Asian Treasure Bag” video; ’95 Emmy for best PBS pilot “Short Stories, Tall Tales”; ’95 Bronze Telly for “Jackie Torrance Presents Asian Tales”; ’91 Izzie finalist for sound/score/music/text for “Legend of Singkil.”
Current Grants include National Endowment for the Arts (training next generation Eth-Noh-Tec storytelling style), San Francisco Grants for the Arts (productions), San Francisco Arts Commission (creative space), Zellerbach Family Foundation (salons), Target stores (Green Grows the Story), and National Storytelling Network (Green Grows the Story). Thanks to Eth-Noh-Tec’s previous grant providers: NEA Folk Arts; SF Grants for the Arts; SF Arts Commission; California Arts Council; Zellerbach Family Fund; Asian American Arts Foundation; G & G Education Fund; Creative Work Fund; Walter & Elise Haas Fund; SF Foundation; SF Volunteer Arts Contribution Fund; Gerbode Fund; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; SF Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Families; New Langton Arts; Western Arts Alliance; Business Volunteers for the Arts; and private donors.
Growing up in the late 60’s with a Japanese and Filipino American heritage, Robert was provided with a rich cultural environment from which to explore the creation of an Asian American identity. His music background as a songwriter and composer, his interest and talents in Asian ethnic music, dance and theater, and his innate comedic ability merged with his social and political philosophy to place Robert in the exciting art form of storytelling. Synthesizing the spoken word with kinetic sensibilities, interlacing music to create interludes and atmosphere, and engaging his audiences into playful participation, integrates all of the elements Robert values for conveying his philosophy through performance.
Robert’s accolades include composing film scores for such notable Asian American filmmakers as Wayne Wang (“Chan is Missing” and “Eat a Bowl of Tea”) and Felicia Lowe (“Carved in Silence”). His musical expertise also includes performing and songwriting on recordings for such Asian American bands such as “Yokohama, California,” “Bamboo Brew,” and “The Noh Buddies.” As pioneer and master teacher of Kulintang gong music in Northern California, Robert fathered the Kulintang movement and founded the groups “Kalilang” and the “San Francisco Kulintang Ensemble.” The California Arts Council, Zellerbach Family Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts/Folk Arts Program are a few of the eminent grants Robert has received. He was acknowledged with a SF Izzy Award and in 1999, he was the recipient of the National Young Audiences “Artist of the Year.”
Drawing on her background in modern dance, ethnic dance, theater and playwriting, Nancy Wang co-scripts and sculptures Eth-Noh-Tec’s synchronistic and seamless tandem movements. With lyricism, rhythmic and visual counterpoints drawn from Nancy’s masterful choreography and staging skills, Eth-Noh-Tec’s stories provide evocative visuals to stimulate the imagination as audiences listen to their rhythmic dialogue.
Having studied various modern dance techniques including that of Martha Graham, Jose Limon and Hanya Holm, Nancy’s performance career began with the Performing Arts Workshop under the mentorship of dancer, choreographer, satirist and Master teacher Gloria Unti. During the early 70s Nancy performed and choreographed for the Asian American Dance Company, Choreographers and Company, Performing Arts Workshop, Kalilang and others. With the addition of traditional Asian dance forms from Bali and the Southern Philippines, her choreography and dance performances in both contemporary and ethnic forms were featured in major dance festivals. These include SF Ethnic Dance Festival, Asian Pacific Festival in Vancouver Canada, Asian American Dance Fest and in And Still We Dance, a documentary about ethnic dance. Her plays of Asian American themes include: “Leave Me My Dreaming” produced by the Asian American Theater, “Unspeakable Moons,” Noh Theater, “Takashi’s Dream” (various festivals and theaters) and the upcoming “In Need of Goddesses.”
Nancy is also a practicing psychotherapist and brings to her performances a strong belief and a community activism that provides her art of storytelling with the goal of making a difference in people’s lives.
Various awards include: The Creative Work Fund, Zellerbach Family Fund, California Arts Council, SF Grants for the Arts, G & G Educational Fund, Asian American Arts Foundation, Haas Foundation, Gerbode Foundation, and the SF Arts Commission.