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Kinesthetic CityDance and Movement in Chinese Urban Spaces$
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SanSan Kwan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199921515

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199921515.001.0001

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America’s Chinatown

America’s Chinatown

Choreographing Illegible Collectivity

(p.98) Chapter 3 America’s Chinatown
Kinesthetic City

SanSan Kwan

Oxford University Press

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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