Category: ATG Artistic Scholarship

Going Against The Grain: Dorcas Leung

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Dorcas Leung recently graduated high school at the top of her class, during which she starred and participated in nine different theatre productions.  She is actively involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities, including planning and hosting school functions through student council, performing as part of an improvisational comedy troop, and helping organize theatre activities for children as part of her local thespian society.

She was nominated for the Tommy Tune Awards’ Best Featured Performer twice.  She is skilled in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, musical theatre and piano and will begin her college career studying musical theatre at the University of Oklahoma.

Full Name

Shuting Dorcas Leung

Hometown

Hong Kong, China

Current City

Houston, Texas

Ethnicity

Chinese

What does getting this scholarship mean to you?

Getting the ATG scholarship makes me feel very blessed. It is hard enough already to be an Asian American in a difficult field of study, but I feel that with this scholarship I could be an encourager to other Asian Americans wanting to pursue a career in the arts. I am very happy to be a representative of this scholarship, and I know it holds a lot of weight because I want to be a good example of “Going Against The Grain” and proving that I can do what I want to do, even if it is difficult.

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”

To “Go Against The Grain” means to defy the norm. To me, I think it means to continue doing what I love and am passionate about, even if it’s not something that is always approved of or smiled upon.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the arts?

I first started doing theatre arts in middle school as a hobby but the more I was involved in productions, the more I loved the thrill of being on stage and performing. I think theatre is the most unique form of communication because with each production and each show, the actors are telling a story. It may not be your own story but somehow in a show, the message and thoughts of others are being communicated. I decided to pursue a career in the arts because I love how unique but direct communication is shown in theatre.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American student going into this field?

Physically, it is hard to be a musical theatre major because most shows are written as other races. It is a challenge because although I love to perform, I may not always get the right opportunity to. It’s not that I believe that I am not capable of doing certain roles, but the truth is,  the roles were not written for my personality/character as an Asian American. Although this is difficult, I cannot change and would not change who I am.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

My biggest accomplishment, I think, is that I have convinced my parents to support me in my decision to major in the arts. It is hard and against the norm for an Asian American girl to have the passion to do theatre full time. At first, my parents were hesitant and saw my love for theatre just as a hobby that would pass. But now at this age, I am very blessed to be able to have my parents by my side and supportive of my decisions.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Hopefully, in the future I can use my decision to major in theatre to write, communicate, and show the need for Asian Americans to express themselves through art. By winning this scholarship, I am more than happy to represent “Against the Grain Productions” because I believe that my choices for majoring in theatre are most definitely going “against the grain.”

Going Against the Grain: Monika Hoang

2011 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner Monika Hoang
2011 ATG Artistic Scholarship Winner Monika Hoang

Monika Hoang is a junior at Southern Methodist University, majoring in Creative Advertising and minoring in Psychology and Latin. She was recently awarded Best Art Director for her portfolio class and was chosen to participate in the One Show Student Exhibition in New York City.

She considers herself to be a relaxed, cheerful and sarcastic both as a person and an artist. Artists must always be pushing themselves creatively, and sometimes this can be achieved when you become one with who you are on a personal and artist level; you never know when the next amazing idea will hit you.

Full Name

Monika Hoang

Hometown

Mansfield, Texas

Current City

Dallas, Texas

Ethnicity

Vietnamese

What does getting this scholarship mean to you?

Receiving this scholarship shows me that support for the arts is out there in the community. In a way it gives hope to those who are hesitant to pursue the arts. This scholarship is like a gentle nudge and whisper telling me to keep doing what I love.

What does it mean to you to “Go Against The Grain?”

Defy stereotypes, try new things, don’t hold yourself back, break down mental barriers, scare some people in a good way, color outside the lines, wear mismatched socks, be free.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the arts?

I actually went back and forth in choosing potential career paths during my senior year of high school. All it took was reminding myself that wherever I would work in the future, I would be for at least 40 hours a week; the thought of doing something I didn’t love solidified my choice in pursuing the arts. Life has more meaning when you’re doing something you care about and makes you happy.

What have been some of the challenges you faced/lessons you learned as an Asian American student going into this field?

Initially, overcoming community expectations to pursue fields such as the sciences was a small hurdle to overcome, but once I began to immerse myself in my craft, those demands became insignificant. I did things for me, because I loved to, not because someone else wanted me to.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment, and why?

My biggest accomplishment would probably be getting the opportunity to showcase my work in the student exhibition at the annual “One Show” in New York. Being able to attend this conference and meet and network with notable people from within the industry was a truly valuable experience.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

More work! I plan on entering more advertising competitions next school year while honing my craft, so stay tuned!