TONI PASION (She/Her/They)
Toni M. Kemehana Pasion is a cultural artist and practitioner based in Fontana, California. Her formal practices are in Hawaiian hula, Filipino dance, and Filipino martial arts. Toni earned her undergraduate degrees at the University of California, Riverside in Asian American Studies and Gender & Sexualities Studies, and her MA in Dance with an emphasis in Culture and Performance Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She has also completed coursework in Māori Studies and Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland.
Toni is the founder of Pasion Performance Group (PPG), a dance group focusing on health, culture, and change through performance and storytelling. PPG unpacks and expresses formative experiences of the diaspora, and intersections of Filipinx/o and Kānaka Maoli cultures. She is also a co-founder of a new inter-disciplinary art gallery space called A Stage of Our Own I.E. in Downtown Riverside. A former alakaʻi (hula leader) of a hula hālau, Toni’s foundations are instilled with nurturing and maintaining integrity, and working in relationship and collaboration with all walks of life.
Toni serves as a Lecturer at the University of California, Riverside, board member of Pinaysphere, longtime dancer with Kayamanan Ng Lahi, company choreographer and instructor at Salt Dance Studios, movement instructor for the Philippine American Inter-cultural School-Inland Empire, and community organizer.
In 2023, Toni was an author-contributor in “Upon Shared Waters”, edited by Noelle Falcis and published in collaboration with the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, and choreographer-in-residence at Western Washington University.
Toni moves in the spirit of lineage, learning in wisdom and grace from previous generations, and envisioning sustainable ways for future generations, thereby working through traditional and contemporary conversations with intentions of generative co-creation and developing relationships.
In the 2023-2024 school year, Toni is teaching two new movement-based courses: “Narratives Through Hula” and “Narratives Through Filipinx Dance”. Both courses center lived experiences and inter-generational knowledge through the methods of dance, storytelling, and interview.