In memory of the Tank Man (2018)
The short work was created with the dance students of Nanyang Fine Arts Academy in Singapore in 2018, 30 years after the Tiananmen protest. The movements in this work were based on the Tank Man, learnt from video footage. Before this work, none of the students had heard of the Tank Man or the Tiananmen protest. For two weeks, we talked about the Tiananmen movement and analysed the Tank Man’s movements as a form of choreography. ‘Unison’ is a dance term for a group of dancers moving in perfect synchronicity. Two questions formed the basis of our process: what do we have to give up, in order to conform and move like the mass? What is the price of breaking away from it?
At the end of the process, an important question was posed: Are we the Tank Man or the Tank? This is a question about our role as artists and what kind of dance or art we want to create. What are we training our bodies for? How do we apply our dance practice to create empowerment, instead of conformity? How do we response as dancers to oppressive and authoritarian systems?