British Journal of Chinese Studies

dragon mural beijing 2018 copyright Gerda Wielander
Vol 9 No 2 (2019)
Articles

Confessions of a Dance Hostess: Social Dancing in Shanghai and Self-Portrayals of Hostess-Writers, 1930-1949

Amanda Zhang
University of Oxford
Published July 27, 2019
How to Cite
Zhang, A. (2019). Confessions of a Dance Hostess: Social Dancing in Shanghai and Self-Portrayals of Hostess-Writers, 1930-1949. British Journal of Chinese Studies, 9(2), 31-56. Retrieved from https://bjocs.site/index.php/bjocs/article/view/36

Abstract

This paper adds to the existing scholarship on republican Shanghai and the study of social dancing, and dance hostesses, during that period. The key to this revision is the examination of the self-portrayals of hostess-writers throughout the 1930s and up to 1949. Hostess-writers documented their lives and careers as dance hostesses by writing about and publishing topics that ranged from politics to aspirations and personal tragedies. These writings were produced against a tumultuous political backdrop of war and nation-building, a period when social dancing blossomed in China as a popular entertainment option for people of different social classes. This paper considers the agency of dance hostesses before and after the Sino-Japanese War. It argues that they actively sought to mediate their existence through the power of narration that best suited their personal and financial interests.

Keywords
  • Shanghai,
  • self-portrayals,
  • dance hostesses,
  • social dancing,
  • Sino-Japanese War
314 Article Views
35 PDF downloads