Kinesthetic City: Dance and Movement in Chinese Urban Spaces

SanSan Kwan | Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies

Kinesthetic City takes as its premise the idea that moving bodies, place, history, and identity are mutually productive. Analyzing both everyday movement and contemporary concert dance in five Chinese urban sites – Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong, New York’s Chinatown, and the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles – this book explores transnational formations of Chineseness. Not definable by national boundaries, biological essences, central political systems, or even shared cultural norms, Chineseness is a mobile yet abiding idea. This book examines the ways that Chineseness is, at key historical moments, highly contested in each of these cities while paradoxically sustained as a collective consciousness across all of them. It argues that global communities can be studied through an investigation of dance and everyday movement practices as they are situated in particular places and times.