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Inside ‘Love Letter’ with Caili Quan

BalletX interviews Caili Quan for the world premiere of ‘Love Letter’ in Fall 2022. She shares with us the creative inheritance from her Chamorro Filipino roots, memories of her upbringing in Guam, and her inspiration and goals as a dancer and choreographer.

What inspired you to create Love Letter?

I’ve always wanted to make dances inspired by the Chamorro Filipino culture that I grew up on, in Guam. During the pandemic, I was able to virtually create Love Letter for film. BalletX will always be my home so it’s very exciting to be able to come back after two years and create the work for a proscenium and a live audience!

Which experiences/memories influenced you to create this piece? Do you have any specific experiences that heavily influenced your creative process?

I’ve pulled a lot of inspiration from memories of my upbringing. There are stories of my Grandmother, legends of Guam, memories of familial gatherings, and bits and pieces of my experience growing up on the island sprinkled throughout the work. I also tried to touch on different aspects of the culture such as oral storytelling, matrilineal roots, the warrior spirit, and the deep importance of family.

Growing up in Guam, what type of dance was popular? What forms of dance did you grow up with?

I grew up doing ballet, jazz, and hip hop. I was obsessed with ballet but also spent a good majority of my childhood learning choreography from music videos in my living room. Now there are a lot of hip hop studios back home, so I’d say it’s the most popular.

What do you hope the audience takes away from your piece?

I hope Love Letter makes you think of home.

What are your goals as a choreographer, are you drawn to certain themes or music?

I hope to make dances that bring people joy. I’m always drawn to music that makes me want to dance and/or pulls at my heartstrings. I have larger dreams in the future, but right now, I want to inspire young dancers and build positive creative spaces for artists.


See BalletX perform Caili Quan’s ‘Love Letter’ at Fall Series 2022, Nov 30 – Dec 4 at The Wilma Theater. Subscribe to BalletX Beyond to watch the film debut!