Innovative studio TAO Dance Theatre is recognised for its minimalist approach to performance. Exploring the potential of the body, its pared-down works are devoid of story-telling or representation, instead focusing on the visual aspect of the human form. The Theatre returns to Sadler’s Wells with two pieces from its Numerical Series.
The company’s founder, Beijing-born choreographer Tao Ye, understands the very nature of body as a “microcosm of the universe.” He talks of it as a “kaleidoscope: the only witness of all the feelings and senses from our birth to death.” He explains: “When we talk about the idea of ‘experience’, we are actually talking about the phenomenon of something the body has been through.”
9, the newest work in the series, reflects this sensibility. Drawing inspiration from Chinese culture, hardship and renewal, it highlights how the performers contain past, present and future already. Featuring nine dancers, it investigates the relationship between inner complexity and aesthetic simplicity. As Tao Ye notes: “choosing to communicate with the body is to embrace the inspiration that the world gives to me.”
Indeed, the second piece, 4, evokes a a powerful unity both between body, mind and the collective self. Without touching, the company presents carefully coordinated, mesmerising motions. Moving as if drawn by a magnetic wave, the formation demonstrates an unbreakable connection.
Performances take place 24 – 25 May. Find out more here.
Lead image: Tao Dance Theater – 4 & 9 – 9-10 © Fan Xi