Towards A Florid Critique: An Interpretation of the Contemporary Belly-dance Phenomenon in Taiwan
Fan-Ting Cheng(Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University)
Since its inception in 2000, belly-dance fever in Taiwan has never died out. Instead, it has continued to influence diverse local aesthetics and stimulate cultural industry, while also deeply shaping the identity of its participants. Seeing contemporary belly-dance activity as a performative theater practice, this paper employs gender, postcolonial, and corporeal theories together with analysis of specific examples to propose the framework of “florid critique”, in which a performing subject fashions queer resistance through transgressive theatricality. The term florid appropriated in this paper refers to a scenario of hyper-performativity enacted with critical purpose. The first section starts with the phenomenon of Wu Ruo-Ling, articulating a genealogy of feminine sexuality in order to reveal an agency that troubles the patriarchic epistemology. The second section combines the theory of choreography with the concept of self-Orientalism, investigating the heterogeneous, hybrid tactics launched by Essa Dance Troup and Nefes Dance Workshop. The paper finally points toward four necessary, yet unstudied, issues that present possibilities for future research.
belly-dance, florid critique, femininity, Taiwan, queer