Muna Tseng Dance Projects’ STELLA premieres at Danspace Project May 5-7, 2011
Muna Tseng met Ong Keng Sen in 2000, around the same time she inherited her mother’s dresses. Sen, the renowned Chinese-Singaporean director, suggested that she make a performance using them.
“I started trying them on,” Tseng told Gay City News in an interview at her Christopher Street apartment, “and I couldn’t fit. She was a size 2.”
Still, the dresses gave her “a totally different sense of the body. The dresses defined her,” Tseng explained. “They were form-fitting and sit in a certain way.”
Indeed, the dresses, arranged on a rack in the artist’s workspace, convey a combination of beauty, authority, and tradition. There are soft feminine silks, brocaded jackets, white fur-lined cuffs and vestments, high waists, and closed necklines and collars. Classical Chinese, circa 1960.
Stella Tseng was born in Shanghai. She studied at a university in one of the first classes that admitted women, but as the youngest in her family, she had to eat last. She was a paradox.
“She was this petit, five-foot tall Chinese woman, almost camp, a real diva,” Tseng said. “Her eldest son [Tseng Kwong Chi] was a flaming queer. She would say things like, ‘You make me cough blood.’ That’s pretty Joan Crawford.”
Read the full article here.