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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

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

SanSan Kwan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199921515.003.0005

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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