Breaking new ground: Lauren Auyeung

Focus on Undergraduate Research

By Steve Runk

Lauren Auyeung’s proposal to choreograph a hip-hop dance piece as her senior thesis work was a first in the 50-year history of Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance. No thesis project had previously explored this dance form.

Auyeung’s work is set in the world of a hip-hop dance battle, following five individuals as they experience forces of competition, confrontation, and insecurity from their surroundings.

Inspired by the physical virtuosity of hip-hop and urban dance, Auyeung seeks to investigate the movement vocabularies of hip-hop in abstracted form, reinterpreting them through her own creative voice. Her training included a course in her first year — the first hip-hop dance course offered at Princeton — called “Special Topics in Urban Dance: Hip-Hop Dance Practice and Culture,” co-taught by breakdancing artist Raphael Xavier and performance scholar Joseph Schloss.

The piece was performed in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Hearst Dance Theater in April 2019.