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Learn the history, culture and impact of Chinese traditional dance with visiting speaker Dr. Emily Wilcox, associate professor of Chinese studies at William and Mary. The event will include live demos by Xue Juan Dance Ensemble.

Dr. Wilcox 魏美玲 will discuss the history and culture of contemporary Chinese dance drawing from her book Revolutionary Bodies: Chinese Dance and the Socialist Legacy, published in English in 2018 and released in Chinese translation in May 2023 by Fudan University Press. In this award-winning monograph, Wilcox traces the history of dance in the People's Republic of China, analyzing major dance works by Chinese choreographers staged over an eighty-year period from 1935 to 2015. Using previously unexamined film footage, photographic documentation, performance programs and reviews, and other historical and contemporary sources, Wilcox challenges the commonly accepted view that Soviet-inspired revolutionary ballets are the primary legacy of the socialist era in China’s dance field. Instead, she demonstrates that the genres now known as "Chinese dance," which take their inspiration from local material but are transnational in their origins and development, are the major contribution of revolutionary experiments in China's dance-making.

In addition to the academic lecture, this event also includes a special live demonstration of Chinese dance by Xuejuan Dance Ensemble, a local dance studio with the mission of providing education and performance opportunities in the art of Chinese folk and classical dance.

This event is free and open to the GW community. RSVPs are required to attend.

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Speaker Bio

Dr. Emily Wilcox is Associate Professor of Chinese Studies at William & Mary, co-creator of the University of Michigan Chinese Dance Collection and co-curator of the exhibit Chinese Dance: National Movements in a Revolutionary Age, 1945-1965. Wilcox is co-editor of Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia (University of Michigan Press 2020); Inter-Asia in Motion: Dance as Method (Routledge 2023), and Teaching Film from the People’s Republic of China (forthcoming MLA 2024). Wilcox has published over thirty academic articles and book chapters on dance and Asian studies in English and Chinese.

This lecture is sponsored by:

  • Academic & Venue Sponsor: GW Dance Program, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design
  • Community Sponsor: Xuejuan Dance Ensemble
  • Promotional Sponsors: CCAS Global and GW Chinese Arts & Humanities Initiative

Event Details