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In TransitThe Formation of a Colonial East Asian Cultural Sphere$
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Faye Yuan Kleeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838607

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838607.001.0001

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Dancers of the Empire

Dancers of the Empire

(p.186) 6 Dancers of the Empire
In Transit

Faye Yuan Kleeman

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the relationship between private body and empire by focusing on the life experiences of two modern dancers from the colonies: Choi Seunghee (1911–1969) of Chōsen and Tsai Juiyueh (1921–2 005) of Taiwan. The stories of Choi and Tsai illustrate how the cosmopolitanism and universalism inherent in avant-garde art can overcome the colonial division between the metropole and the colonies and yet be handicapped by postcolonial conditions. These two women are prime examples of how knowledge and (colonial) modernity circulated within the Japanese empire. This chapter explores how the lives of Choi and Tsai intersected and were altered by their encounters with the Japanese modern dancer Ishii Baku. It also considers the role of dance in elucidating the diverse patterns and trajectories of knowledge flow and cultural exchanges within the empire, and in a global movement of avant-garde art.

Keywords:   private body, modern dancers, Choi Seunghee, Tsai Juiyueh, cosmopolitanism, avant-garde art, modernity, Japanese empire, Ishii Baku, modern dance

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