Tank Dive begins as Tharp enters a darkened room wearing a pair of heeled shoes. She stands in parallel fourth position and spins a yo-yo representing the earth. The pop hit "Downtown" plays in the background as a tongue-in-cheek statement about the location of the New York underground arts scene and its rebellion against popular culture. Tharp counterbalances in a flat-back position against the weight of a second pair of shoes, a direct reference to the Egyptian goddess Nut. The title Tank Dive reflects Tharp’s belief that becoming a successful choreographer is equivalent to the chances of successfully diving into a thimbleful of water from a great height. These specially designed, oversized wooden shoes also serve as springboard to her exaggerated diver's poses.
The second section of the dance is a quartet in which performers quickly weave in and out of the space, moving diagonally from corner to corner.
The final section is a short solo for Tharp that recalls the yo-yo’s unraveling action with spiraling movements towards the floor. A final, fast recovery ends the piece with another iconic image as Tharp snaps into a pose duplicating that of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.
Additional performance on April 30, 1965