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In the neighborhood of HollyWatts in Los Angeles, dance allows a shift from existing as bodies presented as sites of threat and extinction to sources of spiritual empowerment. Clowning and Krump dancers—their subjectivity and their dancing bodies—negotiate survival from trauma and socioeconomic marginalization. I argue that the dancers’ performances act as embodied narratives of “re-membering in the flesh.” The performance acts as a spiritual retrieval and re-integration of traumatic memories and afflictions into memory through the body. Choreography and quotes from dancers support the claim that Krump and Clowning is “re-membering in the flesh” that enacts self-worth, self-defined sexuality, and agency for and by marginalized children and young adults. Close readings of street and staged choreography and quotes establish clear connections to Africana dance history and techniques and spiritual healing. The article includes references to the representations of the dancers’ bodies and their political voices in documentary film.


This work was originally published in Evoke, Crossing Borders.



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