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A series of dance numbers

Updated: 2022-04-14 08:50 ( China Daily )
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Tao Ye, founder and choreographer, Tao Dance Theater. [Photo by ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

"My choreography is about flexibility and minimalism. I try to connect my body with the surroundings and explore the relationship between the body and the space. The dance was born out of my emotion at certain moments. It's natural that people won't understand it because they are not me," says Tao. "But it's totally fine. You just feel it your own way. When you watch me, you are part of the dance."

Tao was born in Chongqing, and was sent by his grandmother to a local dance school to learn Chinese classical dance and folk dance when he was 12 years old. His body was very flexible and he imitated the dancers he saw on TV, which impressed his grandmother.

He fell in love with contemporary dance after he visited Jin Xing Dance Co in Shanghai. The dance form allows him to listen to his body and follow his heart, rather than to rigorously focus on techniques, he says. Tao joined Jin Xing Dance Co in 2003. Two years later, he moved to Beijing, where he danced with Beijing Modern Dance Co before he founded his dance company in 2008.

In 2012, Tao Dance Theater became the first Chinese contemporary dance company to perform at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York City. The UK's Sadler's Wells Theater commissioned Tao five consecutive times and invited Tao Dance Theater to perform six times.

Last year, Tao launched his fashion label, DNTY, and the company has launched its class for amateur dancers. As well as videos and photos, in which Tao recorded Tao Dance Theater's development over the past 14 years, he also has the habit of writing things down. In 2022, he will release a book about the company and the ideas behind each of its dance pieces.

"Looking at the new dance studio, all white and no mirror, I am reminded of the days when the company first started. It was only two dancers," says Tao. "Now, we have new dancers, who are born after 2000, as well as dancers who have been with us for as long as seven years. It's promising."

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