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Theorising hip-Hop and street dance in the Philippines

Vol. 9, No. 1 (2013): 69–96.


While Hip-hop is recognised as a global musical culture, few studies have examined its practices of choreography. This essay privileges the ways Hip-hop dancers in Manila theorise their practices through four main aspects—genre, mode, dimension and conflict—in order to draw attention to the principles of meaning-making in contemporary Hip-hop performance. This article suggests that a dance-based system of knowledge is helpful to our understanding of music and performance in Asia and the Pacific because it fleshes out internal discourses of Hip-hop and promotes a mindfulness regarding assumptions around the performing body. Taken as a whole, these aspects help articulate conventional concerns around studying Hip-hop dance. This explanatory framework, hopefully, clears up more room to move when theorising through and about Hip-hop and promotes the critical study of dance practices in the Philippines with larger implications for contemporary popular music and performance in Asia and beyond.

Author’s bio

J. Lorenzo Perillo is a Ford dissertation fellow in Performance Studies and doctoral candidate in Culture and Performance at the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance at UCLA. He is also a member of the concentration program in the Asian American Studies Department. Perillo has taught and choreographed for various community-based arts programs and these experiences inform his research at the intersections of Filipino race, gender, and colonial relations in Hip-hop dance. His writing appears in Theatre Journal,Extensions, and the anthology Hip-Hop(e): The Cultural Practice and Critical Pedagogy of International Hip-Hop.


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