By Patricia Boccadoro
PARIS, 1 DECEMBER 2015 Created in China in 2008, the Tao Dance
Theater has become one of the most exciting companies on the contemporary
dance scene today. Fascinating and original, choreographer and founder,
Tao Ye, never stoops to provocation nor to the stomping on and off stage
of troubled young people which abound in so many modern pieces. Freed from
both Western and Eastern gimmicks, he has created his own aesthetic
language with his exploration of pure movement. The presence on stage at
the Théatre de la Ville in Paris of his superb dancers in his latest
creations, 6 and 7, interpreted respectively by six and
seven men and women, was both hypnotic and intense.
While both pieces possess theatrical force, it was the spectacular
opening scene of 6 which left the greatest imprint on ones mind.
After minutes of pitch blackness, it slowly became apparent through the
semi obscurity that what initially appeared as a single organism was
moving backwards, sideways and forwards and vibrating as with a single
heartbeat. As ones eyes became accustomed to the gloom and with the
increasing volume of the atmospheric score by Xiao He, the moving mass was
seen to be six androgynous figures, their feet firmly rooted in the
ground, hips, chests, shoulders and necks undulating, moving in perfect
unison, their hair thrown to the wind. Their feet, legs, arms and
hands rested immobile.
Choreography: Tao Ye
It was impossible to determine the sex or the costumes of the
interpreters and while Tao Yes choreography is supposedly minimalist,
what we saw on stage was not, as the dancers dominated the entire scene,
their costumes, dark dresses with large, rectangular skirts taking the
place of décor, and with the hypnotic, pulsating score almost a physical
presence. By moments there was almost silence, a silence unaccompanied by
all the habitual shuffling, snuffling and coughing noises from a
The dancers repeated the fluid sequence of movements with remarkable
athletic control, rolling their heads, then dipping backwards and
forwards. What left a lasting impression however, was that while deprived
of a narrative and devoid of any relationships between them, a powerful
surge of emotion was nevertheless present and the spectator taken to
From the darkness of 6, 7
(for 7 dancers,) transported the viewer into a startling world of
luminosity and light.
Choreography: Tao Ye
Photo: Fan Xi
Against a stark background, the interpreters, unearthly beings, were
clad in brilliant white, long, elasticized robes. Their bodies repeated
impossible curves, in perfect unison, to a sound score of their own
making. Feet again planted firmly on the ground, their hands apparently
attached at hip level, they hummed, at first softly, but then gaining in
intensity, they caught their breath, gasped heavily, barked even. They
ebbed and flowed, pitching forward, tilting sideways. They moved in waves,
swaying as reeds in a river. A much shorter work than the precedent, the
impression it left was more visual than emotional.
works were faultlessly executed and with their extraordinary control and
limitless energy the dancers, all in their early twenties, were amazing.
Tao He, at only 30 years of age, has not only created a new way of moving,
but he also has a lot to say. He knows how to hold his audience and take
them to where he wants them to go. Devoid of sentimentality his work has a
definite charm of its own.
Based in Paris, Patricia Boccadoro is the dance editor