Dancing without Armour

Short film, 2017

Sze-Yang Ade Lam is an interdisciplinary dancer who has trained in a vast range of performance styles, from ballet to martial arts to hip hop. Through his words and dance, he reflects on the heteronormative politics endorsed through certain choreographies.

Ballet as a dance form has fascinated me for a long time, particularly in the way that it represents femininity and fragility. There is a paradox within it which on one hand involves rigorous, often painful practice and routine, and on the other hand presents as fluid, soft, and effortless.

The physical demands of traditional ballet place certain bodies at the forefront based on generalized notions of femininity and masculinity. In comparison, martial arts upholds its own set of stereotypes which favours certain body types over others. This short portrait documentary explores the complex relationship between dance, queerness, gender, and identity.