Of Filipinos and Taxi Dance Halls
This chapter traces the popular mobilizations of taxi dance halls as an American urban phenomenon, and thinks through the Filipino performing body within such a social formation. The taxi dance halls were at peak popularity in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, when male patrons of various kinds eagerly came to pay to dance with (mostly white) women. Significantly, Filipino male patrons, who were students and migrant laborers, constituted a quarter of the patrons of the taxi dance halls, a demographic that can be attributed partially to the influx of imperial/colonial subjects into the metropole. This was an era rife with anti-Filipino sentiments, in which they were considered the “brown menace,” which soon became the basis for the Filipino Exclusion Act. The chapter analyzes the dance hall as a complex and prominent physical and cultural space of exchange between the native and immigrant communities.
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