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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Danza 2023

TAO Dance Theater

Silver Lion

Award Ceremony

Thursday 27 July, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

TAO Dance Theater

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Silver Lion to TAO Dance Theater.

“Forsaking narrative, message and elaborate stage design in their work ­– states Wayne McGregor in his motivation for the award – Tao Ye and Duan Ni have built a unique and evolutionary dance genre that has enraptured with a mesmeric, minimalist force. Their company TAO Dance Theater, founded in 2008 has committed to a stripped-back, “pure dance” aesthetic, eliminating any categorisation of movement, and by extension, of themselves. The body is presented as an element to be perceived for its optical allure – devoid of representation, narrative, or context, simply existing as an object alone. This is only ever amplified by the use of light and sound design, allowing the viewers to be confronted and often challenged by the rigorous body focussed techniques, vocabulary and forms.
It is this confidence in the power of movement alone (and developed through their innovative Circular Movement System), with all its latent potential and expressivity, its nuance, elegance, idiosyncrasy, limitation and restriction that demands us to watch and watch again – to learn the hidden syntax and to really ‘see’ as if experiencing bodies and indeed dancing for the very first time - in all its spectacular wonder, elegance and direct visceral, kinaesthetic communication.
TAO Dance Theater is an exceptional company of vision, mission, and purpose. Like the great dance makers of the past, they understand the very nature of body as a ‘microcosm of the universe’ and have found their special territory to explore and expand. Their deep dive here, in this unfamiliar territory is ingenious, significant, and edifying as we are simultaneously embraced and provoked by their brilliance”.

Biographical notes

TAO Dance Theater is a contemporary dance company founded by Tao Ye, Duan Ni and Wang Hao in Beijing in 2008. It is the first contemporary dance company in China to be invited to perform at the Lincoln Center Art Festival in New York, Edinburgh International Art Festival, Sydney Opera House and Theatre de la Villie in Paris. It has also been invited to perform at the American Dance Festival (ADF) and served as resident artists. Sadler's Wells Theatre in London, UK, commissioned the company’s five works and invited the company to perform in London for six times.
The works of Numerical Series created by the company with simple creative concept and simple body aesthetics have toured all over the world on five continents, in more than 40 countries and over 100 different art festivals. In terms of diversified cross-border and exploration of performing arts, the Numerical Series and Non-numerical Series works of the company have been invited to perform cross-border in different spaces, such as the ruins of the ancient Roman arena, the Paris Fashion Week Show, the Singapore Museum of Art and Science, the Aranya Seaside Stage, the Concert Hall of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Beijing International Design Week. At the 2015 Paris fashion week, the company was invited to conduct on-site cooperation with the Y-3 Brand of Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. In 2019, the company and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre set jointly produced "Exchange" and toured more than ten cities in China.
In 2021, the self-made "Infinite Walking" was listed on the Tiktok hot search list for several weeks in a row. Tens of thousands of netizens imitated the body-free-walking style, and the relevant videos were played nearly 500 million times. “Time Out New York” named the company’s performances one of the “10 Best Dance Shows of 2014,” the only company on the list from Asia. In 2021, TAO Dance Theater established DNTY art extension brand and TAO Studio. The former released the inspiration of artists with the design concept of "clothes should follow the body", combined with the creativity of diversified performing arts such as clothing, music, dance and image, derived and shared the dancers' dressing aesthetics and lifestyle. The latter "pays attention to more people's bodies" and launches the course of “Circular Movement System”, so that more people can find that "the body can still move like this", feel, experience and explore the infinite possibility that the body is like a kaleidoscope.

Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza