Presenting Anna Tan


Anna Tan is an NYC-based choreographer and dancer. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Tulane University while double majoring in public health, and she continued her dance training at Barnard College while completing her Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. Her company, A. Tan Dance, was founded in 2017 as a platform to present emotional, thought-provoking, and dynamic dance pieces and as a solution for dancers pursuing and navigating careers outside of dance to have opportunities to develop and flourish artistically.

A Tan dance will be performing Anna Tan’s work in progress at Jennifer Muller/ The Works Studio at HATCH on Saturday, 4/14. Click here to purchase tickets!


Artist’s Statement:

Sometimes an idea you have works well in your head, but it may not read the way you’d like to an audience. Having feedback from people who view your work when it is in progress may help broaden the ideas you are exploring, yet it may also help refresh your perspective so you can narrow down what it is you are trying to get across through the movement. In addition, since the work is still unfolding, it is easier to make modifications at this stage of the process as opposed to later on when you might become too attached to an idea or certain movement phrases.
I enjoy working with dancers who embody the following and/or have the following characteristics (in no particular order):
  • Musicality: In my choreography, I tend to find a piece of music I like and listen to it over and over when creating movements. I feel like there is something new I can discover each time I hear the music, as not only do I listen to beats and the melody, but I pay attention to the spaces in between each note or phrase. As a result, my choreography is usually very driven by the music. I typically have very specific counts or audio cues in the music that I use when conveying this information to my dancers. The music I am using for my current work in progress is the most challenging I’ve tackled so far. Entitled “Proverb” by Steve Reich, the meter constantly changes, and it has specific musical motifs that recur very, very often. So in rehearsal, cue-ing everyone up with a 5,6,7,8 doesn’t really work in this case. I am happy my dancers have risen to the challenge and are doing their best to follow along.
  • Strong, dynamic movers: I often juxtapose hard and soft, fast and slow, and direct and indirect movements. As a result, I enjoy creating movement on dancers who are able to embody various contrasting movement styles. I also enjoy working with dancers who are strong movers – specifically, dancers who are deliberate, sure, and confident in their movements. No wishy-washy or hesitant motions (unless it’s for a specific character or mood I am trying to create). That’s not to say I don’t want dancers who are delicate or specialize in performing dainty movements – even in the most subtle and softest motions, there can still be strength embodied in it.
  • Open mind: I like to treat the rehearsal space as a lab of sorts, where I can experiment and test out different ideas. Whether it’s trying out different versions of the same movement, trying out different spatial arrangements, or something else, I value dancers who are patient and are willing to try multiple iterations of the same thing before finalizing the steps.
  • Being a nice and pleasant person: Dancing is an extremely social activity (unless you are performing a solo). The best results tend to be achieved after spending many hours of rehearsal together. If you’re going to spend that much time with a group of people, you may as well have fun, get along, and enjoy the camaraderie.
The title for my piece is Infinitus, which is the Latin word for infinite. As such, I was inspired by thoughts of vast, boundless spaces in the universe. However, in NYC, space is literally the opposite of vast. With a population of over 8.5 million, we humans are relatively crammed into a limited land area, yet we co-exist with one another in this galaxy. Most of the time we try so hard to maintain our personal space or be alone, (i.e., standing on the train to avoid sitting next to people, or having the all too common goal of living in a one bedroom apartment without roommates). Yet, despite having so many people, it is easy to feel lonely and isolated, as everyone is hustling and pursuing their own agenda, rarely even taking the time to get to know their neighbors. As a result, I hope that audiences in NYC who view my choreographic work will find themselves on a meditative and self-reflexive journey, feel compelled to connect with one another and form meaningful bonds, and if all else fails, find peace in solitude.
When audiences view my work, they should feel as though they are taken on an audio and visual journey. They should feel viscerally moved and mentally and emotionally engaged. And I hope that as a result, audiences recognize the value and power of dance.



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