headshot of Asian woman gesturing toward the camera

Research Expertise and Interest

dance studies, performance studies, Asian American studies

Research Description

SanSan Kwan advocates for the meaning-making power of the expressive body. Through research, writing, performing, and teaching, she explores how dance serves as a potent way of being in the world and a valuable lens through which to understand the world. She is interested in the mutually productive interrelationships among moving bodies, place, history, and identity. In particular, she lifts the embodied perspectives of racial minorities and offers expertise in intercultural collaboration via corporeal practices.

SanSan’s recent book, Love Dances: Loss and Mourning in Intercultural Collaboration (Oxford UP, 2021), is winner of the 2022 de la Torre Bueno© Award and a 2022 Isadora Duncan Dance Award. She is also author of Kinesthetic City: Dance and Movement in Chinese Urban Spaces (Oxford UP, 2013) and co-editor, with Kenneth Speirs, of Mixing It Up: Multiracial Subjects (University of Texas Press, 2004). Her article on cartographies of race and the Chop Suey circuit, a group of Asian American cabaret entertainers who toured the nation during the World War II era, is published in TDR. Her article, “When is Contemporary Dance,” on contended understandings of the term “contemporary” across dance genres and communities, is in the December 2017 issue of Dance Research Journal. She recently published an article reflecting on her experiences creating an immersive dance work during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Additional articles can be found in Theatre Survey, Performance Research, Representations, and other journals and anthologies.

SanSan remains active as a professional dancer and is currently performing with Lenora Lee Dance, Chingchi Moves, and Jen Liu.

She is currently serving as the chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. 

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