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Events The Body Politic

The Body Politic

Yao Xu

September 13-20

See All Showtimes

September 13 at 7:30pm

September 14 at 10:00pm

September 16 at 5:30pm

September 20 at 7:30pm

2022 Fringe Festival

45 min


The MAAS Building Studio

The Body Politic explores how individuals develop bodily techniques to negotiate with rigid regulations in totalitarian social environments. We question how highly concentrated power trickles down to private life and how tactics such as coercion, isolation, and fear-mongering affect the ways the physical bodies occupy time and space.

This work features original music composed by award-winning composers Hannah Selin and Sepehr Pirasteh. The music incorporates recorded voices from political prisoners in Sepehr’s home country, Iran, as well as clips from US President Eisenhower’s 1961 farewell address. Woven together with synthesized and acoustic percussion sounds, the music oscillates between violence and stillness, pushing the boundary between technology and nature.

*This performance is partially funded by a Vice Provost for the Arts Research and Creativity grant from the Center for Performing and Cinematic Arts, Temple University.


Appropriate for all ages

This show is presented as part of Cannonball Festival, Philly’s artist-centered performance hub, packing in 65+ full length shows and 300 performances in two nearby venues. Discover risk-taking theater, dance, circus, music, and comedy alongside a vibrant garden bar with a free nightly cabaret, pop-up events, workshops, artist talkbacks, and more. September 1–30 at the Maas Building (1320 N 5th St) and Icebox Project Space (1400 N American St). Learn more at

Health & Safety

Proof of vaccination is required to attend this event, and masks must be worn for the duration of the performance. Audience members will be asked to show proof of vaccination before entering the venue. Both digital and physical proof of vaccination are accepted. Please plan accordingly.


Choreographer: Yao Xu in collaboration with dancers

Dancers: Yuying Chen, Michaela Delaney Guthrie, Garamh Kim, Ella-Gabriel Mason, Sabrina Miller, Liz Siani, Boram Yi


About the Artist

Yao Xu is a choreographer, dancer, educator, and scholar. Growing up in China, Yao received rigorous training in Chinese concert dance, ballet, and modern dance, this diverse training background inspired Yao to contemplate the politics in the transmission of bodily techniques in her creative works. Yao has worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Mark Haim, Pedro Ruiz, Wang Yabin, and Chang Xiaoni. After moving to the United States in 2015, Yao presented original dance works at the Queens Theater, Kaye Playhouse, Lincoln Center Education, and at the New York State Dance Education annual conferences in New York City. As Yao pursues her doctoral degree at Temple University, Yao continues to investigate the intersectionality of politics and aesthetics in dance.