Soldier M.I.A. is a collaborative dance performance that attempts to re-imagine a Chinese queer feminist future, through the story of the female soldier, Hua Mulan (花木兰).

According to the classic legend, Mulan is a young woman who disguises herself as a man, in order to join the army and go to battle in her father’s place. On the surface, the story seems to advocate woman empowerment and emancipation; however at its root, it actually instrumentalizes female representation and bodies for patriarchal and nationalist purposes.

Framed as a fictive search-and-rescue mission, Soldier M.I.A. plays with the idea that Mulan has somehow gone missing in action (M.I.A.). Four “experts” with diverse Chinese backgrounds – a dancer, a dramaturg, a sound artist and a costume artist – join forces to find Mulan, using a mix of literary references, video footage of Chinese opera and personal stories. Together with the help of the audience, they will try to reconstruct the story of Mulan through a queer and feminist lens. Their task is to bring forth a new Mulan-in-action (M.I.A.). What battle will Soldier M.I.A. join in today? Whose flag will she be flying… or burning?

Dance Performance

Artistic Direction and Choreography by Ming Poon | Performed by Lee Mun Wai, Dandan Liu, Sum-Sum Shen and Tin Wang | Dramaturgy by Dandan Liu | Sound Design by Sum-Sum Shen | Costume Design by Tin Wang | Set Design by Jennis Li | Lighting Design by Hanna Kritten Tangsoo | Video Design by Harshini J. Karunaratne | Graphic by Hung Kieu | Movement Coaching by Gizem Aksu | Technical Direction by Torsten Litschko | Production Management by MIFRUSH Production GbR (Micaela Trigo, Urszula Heuwinkel)

Funded by Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Community | This work has been developed as part of S.O.A.R. Queen, an artistic research project commissioned by the Berliner Förderprogramm Künstlerische Forschung (2022-2023).