Toni Pasion is a dancer, choreographer, and scholar. She is born in San Jose and raised in Los Angeles, California. Pasion received her BA in Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Riverside, and her MA in Dance from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She first connected with her cultural roots with Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts, and furthered her understanding of Pacific epistemology as a hula student for 20 years with hālau in California, Aotearoa, and Hawaiʻi. In 2014, Pasion was drawn to indigenous contemporary dance through Jack Gray at UCR, and further developed her understanding of dance as an indigenous methodology while studying at the University of Auckland and as a haumāna with Hālau Moananuiakiwa.
Pasion is the founder, producer, and director of A Stage of Our Own, an annual performance and convergence of Philippine and Pacific artists. Pasion’s newest development is founding Manariwa Dance, focusing on Philippine and Pacific contemporary dance in Los Angeles, and created to serve as a platform to build inter-cultural relationships and dance research. Pasion is committed to community building and healing histories through cultural arts.
Noted performance highlights include: Festival of Pacific Arts (Guåhan), Queen ʻIolani Festival (Kauai), Indigenous Dance Forum (Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU), Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside (UCR), Merrie Monarch hoʻike (Hilo, Hawaiʻi), I Moving Lab (UCLA, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi), Urban Indigenous (SoMa San Francisco), East Meets West Festival (Maui), United Nations Small Island Development Conference (Samoa), and the Teuila Festival (Samoa).