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.
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.