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Choreographing in Color: Filipinos, Hip-Hop, and the Cultural Politics of Euphemism

Choreographing in Color: Filipinos, Hip-Hop, and the Cultural Politics of Euphemism

by J. Lorenzo Perillo


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In Choreographing in Color , J. Lorenzo Perillo investigates the development of Filipino popular dance and performance since the late 20th century. Drawing from nearly two decades of ethnography, choreographic analysis, and community engagement with artists, choreographers, and organizers,
Perillo shifts attention away from the predominant Philippine neoliberal and U.S. imperialist emphasis on Filipinos as superb mimics, heroic migrants, model minorities, subservient wives, and natural dancers and instead asks: what does it mean for Filipinos to navigate the violent forces of empire and neoliberalism with street dance and Hip-Hop?

Employing critical race, feminist, and performance studies, Perillo analyzes the conditions of possibility that gave rise to Filipino dance phenomena across viral, migrant, theatrical, competitive, and diplomatic performance in the Philippines and diaspora. Advocating for serious engagements with the dancing body, Perillo rethinks a staple of Hip-Hop's regulation, the "euphemism," as a mode of social critique for understanding how folks have engaged with both racial histories of colonialism and gendered labor migration. Figures of euphemism - the zombie, hero, robot, and judge - constitute a way of seeing Filipino Hip-Hop as contiguous with a multi-racial repertoire of imperial crossing, thus uncovering the ways Black dance intersects Filipino racialization and reframing the ongoing, contested underdog relationship between Filipinos and U.S. global power. Choreographing in Color
therefore reveals how the Filipino dancing body has come to be, paradoxically, both globally recognized and indiscernible.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190054281
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 09/08/2020
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

J. Lorenzo Perillo, Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawai'i, Mānoa.

J. Lorenzo Perillo is Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Choreographing in Color
Chapter 1: Zombies and Prisoner Rehabilitation
Chapter 2: Heroes and Filipino Migrations
Chapter 3: Robots and Affirmative Choreographies
Chapter 4: Judges and International Competitions
Conclusion: Hip-Hop Ambassadors and Conventions


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