Program Main Stage
Why does the body move? Does movement occur spontaneously or is it activated by an outside force? What boundaries do we use to define ourselves? Dance is about raising those questions.
11 is the 11th installment in choreographer Tao Ye’s world-renowned Numerical Series. The title stands for both the number 11 and for two separate, independent 1s. Its meaning cannot be put into words. It can only be perceived through the eyes of each viewer and connect with what it is that they need to express.
In 11, the dancers comply with a rule that is at once freeing and limiting: The movements of their lower body are strictly choreographed, but the movements of the upper body are completely improvised. Each dancer goes back and forth in their own independent path. The space for their hips to rotate, the orientation of their knees, and every step of their feet are predetermined, while their shoulders, elbows, wrists, spines and heads are free to move in different and random ways. How do we find the balance between the nature of the individual and the order of the group? 11 operates on a deeper understanding of what constitutes singularity and of where freedom comes from. It also showcases the artists’ attempts to understand freedom in the face of new restrictions.
Informed by this restriction and this freedom, 11 dancers move in a kaleidoscope of colour and embrace the harmony created by their differences.
This project marks Tao Ye’s first attempt at integrating different aspects of music into his work. Tao Ye regards music as an external condition that interacts with the human body in a variety of ways, just like molecules colliding with suspended particles, leaving their imprints in time and space. 11 comprises 11 short dance pieces. Musician Xiao He experimented with different instruments and created 11 independent pieces of electronic music in different styles. As a result, the performance of 11 becomes a meeting point for the imagination of its creators.
- Choreographer: Tao Ye
- Composer: Xiao He
- Lighting Designers: Ma Yue, Tao Ye
- Costume Designer: Duan Ni
- Costume Maker: DNTY
- Dancers: Huang Qiqi, Yan Yulin, Xu Fujin, Tong Yusheng, Li Siyu, Liu Yiren, Sun Leirui, Wu Zhenkai, Li Jiayu, Cheng Leting, Wan Lu
TAO Dance Theater is a full-time contemporary dance company founded by Tao Ye, Duan Ni and Wang Hao in 2008. It is the first contemporary dance company in China to be invited to perform at the Lincoln Center Art Festival in the United States, the Edinburgh International Art Festival in the United Kingdom, the Sydney Opera House in Australia and Theatre de la Ville in France. They have also been invited to perform at the American Dance Festival (ADF), where they additionally served as resident artists. The Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. UK, has commissioned five works by the company and invited them to perform in London six times.
The projects of the Numerical Series, created by the company with a simple creative concept and straightforward physicality, have toured five continents, more than 40 countries and over 100 different art festivals. The company has attracted extensive attention from people from all walks of life, becoming one of the most sought-after Chinese contemporary dance companies on the international stage.
In terms of interdisciplinary activity, the company has presented its work in a wide range of 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 Shanghai Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall, and Beijing International Design Week. At the 2015 Paris Fashion Week, the company was invited to collaborate on-site with the Y-3 Brand by Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto. In 2019, the company and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre co-produced Exchange, touring more than ten cities in China. In 2021, the DIY performance Infinite Walking was listed on the TikTok hot search list for several weeks in a row. Tens of thousands of viewers imitated the body-free-walking style, and the relevant videos were played nearly 500 million times.
Alastair Macaulay, the chief art critic for the New York Times, described the work of the dance troupe as “theatrical force and authority. (The dancers’) athletic control is remarkable. Powerful drive… physicality and momentum… extraordinary and appealing”. Time Out New York named the company’s performance one of the “10 Best Dance Shows of 2014,” making them the only Asian company on the list. In 2023, TAO Dance Theater was awarded the Silver Lion for Dance at La Biennale di Venezia.
In 2021, TAO Dance Theater established the DNTY art extension brand and TAO Studio. The former combined artistic innovation with the design concept of “clothes that follow the body”, inspired by the style of creative individuals from all fields. The latter “pays attention to more people’s bodies”, launching the “Circular Movement System”, so that more people may discover that “the body can still move like this”, experiencing and exploring the infinite possibilities of their physicality.
- Artistic Directors: Tao Ye, Duan Ni
- Company Manager: Wang Hao
- Rehearsal Director: Huang Qiqi
- Technical Director: Ma Yue
- Producer & Project Director: Jun Jun
- Executive Coordinator: Tai Yuanxu
- Visual Director: Fan Xi
- DNTY Managing Director: Ning He
- Tour Coordinators: Jun Jun, Tai Yuanxu