Creation is one of humanity’s most basic abilities. In the face of boredom, creation shakes us; when we lose direction, creation points out a new path. In the process of creating, we somehow overcome the barriers that contain us in everyday life, and we overcome ourselves.
TAO Dance Theater came together in March, 2008 in Beijing and although we are individuals, we are brought together by a shared longing: to use the body to create. Each body has its unique secrets, and through rigorous, sincere, and exploratory corporeal research, we hope to stretch the boundaries of the flesh, and in this process of excavation to discover the body’s unknown possibilities.This exploration of the body and its possibilities is, for us, sacred, because in the process of using the body to create, we have found our own faith. In our pursuit of the corporeal, our spirit becomes free.
– Tao Ye
Since its founding in 2008, TAO Dance Theater has taken China‟s dance world by storm. The company has performed in every modern dance festival throughout the country and has collaborated with leading Chinese artists across genres including theatre, experimental music, film, visual arts and installation. TAO has been featured in performances as well as choreography and teaching residencies in festivals worldwide, including Europalia (BE), Culturescapes (CH), M.A.D.E. Festival (SE), Singapore Arts Festival, Fall for Dance (US) the American Dance Festival (US), among others.
Founder Tao Ye danced with Jin Xing Dance Theater in Shanghai and then Beijing Modern Dance Company until he decided to launch out on his own. Dancer Wang Hao, a specialist in Mongolian folk dance and graduate of the Central University of Nationalities Dance Academy, joined him to found TAO Dance Theater in 2008. A third dancer, Duan Ni, danced with two modern dance legends – Shen Wei (US) and Akram Khan (UK) – before returning to China to work exclusively with Tao Ye.
No longer distracted by the “China hype” or the lure of living abroad, these artists focus all time and energy on their craft. Each possesses the highest level of technical virtuosity but these dynamos are not interested in tricks or artifice. Unlike current choreography trends in China, Tao Ye eschews representational modes and is exploring form as content, investigating musical and physical interaction and experimenting with minimalism as well as layered patterns of gesture and spatial locomotion.
TAO Dance Theater is devoted dance education and has been invited to teach at the China Central University of Nationalities, Beijing Languages University, Shaanxi Normal University, Yan‟an University, International School of Beijing, Henny Jurriens Stichtin in Amsterdam, Dance in Olten Festival in Switzerland, among other schools, universities, and festivals. They also offer open classes and workshops at, among other places, the Beijing Dance Academy, Chaoyang District Culture Center, Beijing ContemporaryMOMA Art Center, and ULLENS Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing.