Dancing Nomadic Truth

“Dancing Nomadic Truth | Nomadische Wahrheiten Tanzen Revisiting my own choreographic archive (SWAN | 2017/2018) looking at the relationship of text, movement and meaning”.

Video Paper: Hannah Ma (Luxembourg, Germany)


I believe in the human body as an archive of “Truth”.

I believe … “that it is not spoken word which is natural to (wo)man, but the ability to create a language (langue), that is, a system of different signs corresponding to different ideas. (p.26/12 Cours Saussure highlighted by Jaques Derrida in Grammatology 1967)

This system is the human body, the witness, and the landscape of our HERstorys. The archive through which we are (unconsciously) communicating our personal and collective truth in every moment, at any place.

As a choreographer, I research “Nomadic Truth(s).”

A Nomadic Truth is a momentum- a moment in space and time- that feels “indubitable.” It is an absolute “YES” to life itself.

“Truth” is not anything fixed- it is opaque, nomadic, fragmented, and fluid. Therefore, it is nothing I can plan, invent, design, or conceptualize.

I am working with text (s) to find the truth in my choreographies. Text is the opposition to the organic movement, which follows the universe’s rules without the desire to be understood. Text is (wo) man-made. Movement is nature-based.

The body always speaks. It is a Speaking Body. The philosopher Judith Butler said in Hate Speaks: “The body always betrays us. It is prior to any communication. Nevertheless, only through the invocation of the other is it standardized to be meaningful. The body resists this because the meaning of the body is moving and has no fixed point. Shame, nervousness, withdrawal, making oneself small betray the body in the face of a truth that is to be imposed from the outside.“

Dance brings the body in its self-betrayal back to expression, beyond intellectual interpretive sovereignty conceived through centered meaning in language.

In Dancing Nomadic Truth | Nomadische Wahrheiten Tanzen, I am (re)visiting my piece SWAN. I point out how I work with text and movement to dig deeper into the human body as an archive that I am analyzing with the choreographic desire to reach a point of deeper existential understanding of dancing life and being alive.


Hannah Ma is a German Chinese Choreographer. She splits her choreographic directions into: “Taming Monsters” and “Transformances”, reflecting on socio-economic problems, as well as sexuality, gender and race. She uses a creative mixture of dance and theatre elements to create her choreographic language, as her focus lies on contemporary rituals and the translation of archaic roots in society. Hannah is and has been working with many establishments such as Théâtre National Luxemburg, Dachverband Tanz Deutschland, Choreographic Center Luxemburg and many more. 

In 2022 and 2023, Hannah Ma will be one of six artists/ activists that execute United Networks, an initiative funded by the Federal Association of the free Performing Arts Germany.