TAO Dance Theater visit

Before I head back to London tomorrow I wanted to share a few images and reflections on our visit to TAO Dance Theater. I had seen their performance last year at Sadlers Wells, Lilian Baylis Studio, and it was insightful to observe one of their daily warm-up and training sessions at this visit.

Tao Ye, the choreographer and company director, explained that the company name is intended to distinguish the company from many other established ‘independent’ dance companies in Beijing, such as the Beijing Contemporary Dance Theater or the Beijing Modern Dance Company, and their specific name to him grasps something more ‘personal’.

This realm was very much reflected in their approach to choreography-making and daily training. Tao Ye explained that each choreography taps into a new set of movement vocabulary. The company is less interested in finding a specific style, within which they create work, but each piece means a new exploration of ways of moving.


TAO Dance Theater rehearsals, Beijing, July 2012

The warm-ups we saw a couple of days ago are very much geared to the specific choreography they are developing at the moment. They are working on circular movements, hence the first stage of the training included rotations of head, shoulders, arms, legs, hips… They then proceeded into a choreographed sequence that was geared at building stamina, and what followed were group improvisations based on trust games and other structures.

My memory of this visit will remain strongly of the strong red-coloured space, hosted in an art district slightly away from the centre of Beijing, in which seems to take place a daily disciplined searching for new work and crucially also ways of making new work.

3 comments to TAO Dance Theater visit

  • Alison M. Friedman

    Thank you for coming to observe rehearsals and for sharing this with your readers! Please note, the choreographer and artistic director is named Tao Ye, not Peng Tao. Thank you for making this correction!

    Also, please note the company’s name is always spelled TAO Dance Theater, not Tao Dance Theater. It is named for the choreographer and founder, Tao Ye.

  • Andrew Lang

    Thanks Alison, I’ve amended the post accordingly.

  • Steffi Sachsenmaier

    Thank you both! And great you amended the other entries too – sorry!!

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