Choreographing Illegible Collectivity
This final chapter explores, first, the experience of walking in Chinatown in order to understand the site as not an isolated ethnic enclave, but a diverse, constantly fluctuating, contended space that is both part of the global city that is New York and part of a Greater Chinese circuit of global exchange. The chapter then examines the work of Chen and Dancers, a company based in Chinatown since 1980, in order to consider how the dialogue between dance and urban space reveals tensions over national and cultural belonging. The chapter then looks at a site-specific piece choreographed as a ritual of healing in the post 9/11 era and the ways that the piece, as well as its process of creation, forged a community across difference in the wake of a national tragedy whose local effects were to isolate and ghettoize Chinatown.
Keywords: Chinatown, New York, 9-11, kinesthesia, urban space, Asian American identity, Chineseness, Downtown Dance, multiculturalism, Walking in the City, site specific dance, Chen and Dancers, H.T. Chen
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