Revolutionary Bodies: The Transnational History of Modern Chinese Dance

Speaker: Emily Wilcox
Venue: Hosted via Zoom
Date & Time:
2021-2-23 | 21:00-22:30 (Shanghai)
2021-2-23 | 8:00-9:30 (New York)
2021-2-23 | 17:00-18:30 (Abu Dhabi)

In this talk Professor Emily Wilcox will discuss transnational connections in modern Chinese dance history based on her recent book, Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy. As the first English-language history of dance in the People’s Republic of China, Revolutionary Bodies examines previously unexamined dance films, a wide range of Chinese-language published and archival materials, and ethnographic field research to analyze the work of major Chinese choreographers from 1935 to 2015. With a focus on transnational connections in this history, Wilcox challenges the previously held view that Soviet ballet was the primary force shaping China’s socialist dance creation, instead showing the impact of a broader range of intercultural connections, from Trinidad and London to North Korea and Uzbekistan. Wilcox also shows the important role that ethnic minority and diaspora artists played in twentieth-century Chinese dance history and demonstrates continuities and changes from the early socialist period to new choreography that has emerged in the past two decades. A central argument of the book is that transnational socialist dance experiments laid the basis for the art form today known around the world as “Chinese Dance.”

Emily Wilcox is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at William & Mary and an Affiliate of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. Wilcox is a leading scholar of Chinese dance and performance, with broader interests in twentieth-century global history, transnationalism, and social movements. Wilcox’s first book, Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy (University of California Press in 2018) won the 2019 de la Torre Bueno Prize© from the Dance Studies Association. Wilcox is the co-editor with Katherine Mezur of Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia (University of Michigan Press, 2020) and co-creator with Liangyu Fu of the Pioneers of Chinese Dance digital photograph archive, published in 2016 by the University of Michigan Asia Library. Wilcox has published more than twenty journal articles and book chapters, in English and Chinese, in leading venues in Asian studies and dance and performance studies. Wilcox taught at the University of Michigan from 2013 to 2020, where she served most recently as Associate Professor, Associate Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures.

Introduction and moderation by Siye Tao, Assistant Arts Professor of Dance, NYU Shanghai.

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Location & Details

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