Mind-Dancing the Loneliness of Freedom: The Life-dance-story of “Sanmao”1943-1991

But that aside:

This has been a mentally strenuous essay to write for another reason: a dance “about” her – a superb one – DOES demand work. It puts before us a novel form or co-form, dance and/as biography – both in film – which have no real correlative outside these media – no extended text, no critical biography, no sure account about the tragedies that define the story, even its much publicized end in suicide.

It is as a result hard to separate the dance featured in this post (above) as technique (modernist), on the one hand, from the interior bio-story that is being performed (told in reduced form in Clip 2.) Form so perfectly matches content/message that there seems little to do but watch, and – I almost forgot this – to let the surges of late-Romantic music roll over the heart.

I suppose the interlock arises from the spirit of introversion, self-alienation (as a positive), self-retrospection, above all unbearable loneliness, that inhabits the eccentricity of this genre of solo modernism. “Freeform” doesn’t get to the nub of it…. Rather what is happening is the danceuse is letting her body be washed my disconnected memory(ies) first as flashbacks then as stream-of-consciousness “takes” as a career flowers. The link-word “Free” though only implicit in the spiralings and constant changes of vector and velocity in the way the body happens to move (there is no predicting or constraining it) is explicit in the real-life subject’s own articulations.

“我是一个自由魂 I am a Free Spirit “(album cover)

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