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CWPS Faculty Lecture Series

Emily Wilcox | Moonwalking in Beijing: Michael Jackson, Piliwu, and the Origins of Chinese Hip-Hop

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During the latter half of the 1980s, a popular dance craze known as "piliwu" 霹雳舞 swept urban communities across China. Incorporating two new styles of U.S. urban popular dance--New York-based b-boying/b-girling or "breaking" and California-based popping and locking-- piliwu was China's first localized movement of hip-hop culture, which reflected new circuits of intercultural exchange between China and the United States during the first decade of China's Reform Era. Analyzing the dance choreography recorded in a 1988 Chinese film, Rock Youth 摇滚青年 (dir. Tian Zhangzhuang), together with media reports and testimonials from members of China's piliwu generation, this talk reconstructs the history of the piliwu movement, arguing for the central influence of U.S. pop culture icon Michael Jackson, the growth of China's underground commercial dance (zou xue 走穴) economy, and the agency of dancers' bodies in transnational movements of media culture.

The Center for World Performance Studies Faculty Lecture Series features our Faculty Fellows and visiting scholars and practitioners in the fields of ethnography and performance. Designed to create an informal and intimate setting for intellectual exchange among students, scholars, and the community, faculty are invited to present their work in an interactive and performative fashion.

If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact Center for World Performance Studies, at 734-936-2777, at least one week in advance of this event. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the University to arrange.
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When and Where

Map East Quadrangle - Room 1405

March 2018

6:30pm - 8:00pm

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