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Modern Languages & Literatures
Theatre, Speech & Dance
Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings
Oxford University Press
In twenty-first-century urban Chinese contemporary dance, gender and female sexuality are often constructed in ways that reinforce patriarchal and heterosexual social norms. Although “queer dance” as a named category does not exist in China, it is possible to identify queer feminist perspectives in recent dance works. This essay offers a reading of representations of gender and female sexuality in two works of contemporary dance by Beijing-based female Chinese choreographers: Wang Mei’s 2002 Thunder and Rain and Gu Jiani’s 2014 Right & Left. Through choreographic analysis informed by ethnographic research in Beijing’s contemporary dance world, this essay argues that Thunder and Rain reinforces patriarchal and heterosexual social norms common in Chinese contemporary dance, while Right & Left disrupts such norms. Through its staging of unconventional female-female duets and its queering of nationally marked movement forms, Right & Left offers a queer feminist approach to the presentation of women on the Chinese stage.
Wilcox, E. E. (2017). Women Dancing Otherwise: The Queer Feminism of Gu Jiani’s Right & Left. Clare Croft (Ed.), Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings (pp. 67-82). Oxford University Press. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/asbookchapters/117