Critical Response

“Some riots are choreographed. The dazzling ferocity of Pearl Ubungen’s street spectacles feels medieval, like a passion play gone Marxist. Uncle Sam or the Statue of Liberty might well get in your face, haranguing you or turning pirouettes around you. Tagulaylay marks the centennial of the U.S. conquest of the Philippines, and it’s not going to be The Music Man. But it should crown the brilliant young Filipina American diva-choreographer activist’s career.”   — San Francisco Magazine

“Rap artist A.K. Black shouts into a scratchy mike and speaker. Four-foot tall Rolan Guevarra, one of Ubungen’s students, spins on his ass and turns his arms into rubber for some quick punches and jabs. A group of five disheveled performers wander like homeless people throughout the alley. Beautiful and distraught, Ubungen twists inside her dress. Defiant, she emerges, dancing with quick-tempoed lyricism. The  crowd is absolutely still.” — High Performance Magazine

“Take Me to the Tenderloin, Now!” explores the sense of community felt by the young residents of one of the most maligned areas of San Francisco. It looks at young people coming to terms with life in the inner city, expressing their creativity and supporting one another.” —YO! Magazine

“Ubungen’s work is suffused with the voices of Asian women. A Filipina American, she is founding director of San Francisco’s Pearl Ubungen Dancers and Musicians. Her work explodes stereotypes about Asian women and explores the complex relationship between colonized and colonizer.” —Ms. Magazine

“Pearl Ubungen Dancers and Musicians tore up United Nations Plaza with a site-based, no punches pulled political piece that was impressive in both scale and execution. It’s almost impossible to imagine Refugee being seen anywhere else. With the Farmers’ Market  – many of whose vendors are refugees – surrounding the performance area, the pale blue UN flag flying overhead, the HIV/AIDS Vigil encampment in the background and homeless men and women populating the grassy knolls along Market Street, Refugee became a series of mirrors: Life imitating art  imitating life.”  — Wendell Ricketts, Bay Area Reporter