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The Exquisite Corpse of Asian AmericaBiopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies$
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Rachel C. Lee

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479817719

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479817719.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

The Asiatic, Acrobatic, and Aleatory Biologies of Cheng-Chieh Yu’s Dance Theater

The Asiatic, Acrobatic, and Aleatory Biologies of Cheng-Chieh Yu’s Dance Theater

Chapter:
(p.66) 2 The Asiatic, Acrobatic, and Aleatory Biologies of Cheng-Chieh Yu’s Dance Theater
Source:
The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America
Author(s):

Rachel C. Lee

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479817719.003.0003

This chapter explores traveling performers, gender ambiguity, and the cosmetic construction of bodies through an examination of dancer Cheng-Chieh Yu's Bowl Problems, My Father's Teeth, and She Said He Said, He Said She Said. Aside from her extraordinariness as a dancer, Yu became a function of a U.S. racialized and gendered history that figures spectatorship of Chinese women as edifyingly entertaining. Linking this dance concert to an earlier showcasing of Chinese femininity—P. T. Barnum's American Museum exhibition of a “Chinese lady,” Afong Moy, in 1834—the chapter presents two arguments. First, that Yu's dance theater puts the Chinese woman on display in America, but via the dental chart's universal scrutiny of oral health. Second, it contours medical-dental theater and the ethnological showcase as entwined somatic theaters upon which Yu's choreography draws.

Keywords:   traveling performers, gender ambiguity, Cheng-Chieh Yu, gendered history, Chinese femininity, Afong Moy

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