Photo: Fan XI / Marco Feklistoff
The two parts are connected by two extremes, ” says Tao Ye. “6” is extremely minimalist in unison and “9”, more complex, presents a form of chaos.
Winning a success at the international through his many tours and by partnering with important institutions such as the Sadler’s Wells in London —, the Tao Dance Theater has earned a place as a representative of contemporary dance in china, and was able to gain popularity by appealing to the fashion world. Discussion with the young choreographer’s thirty-year and end goldsmith and Tao Ye, who will open the Festival TransAmériques, with its diptych minimalist 6 & 9.
What is the place and receiving your contemporary style he found in the artistic landscape of dance in China?
It’s been years that my work has been presented in China, and the abstract style of my creations has attracted especially the attention of a young audience interested in modern art. My pieces have also received the appreciation and support of the entertainment industry. While the arts independent in China are becoming increasingly mature, sophisticated and dynamic, our company continues to persist, grow and evolve.
6 and 9 are part of a suite of digital that you’ve undertaken in 2009 and throughout which you’re able to refine your signature, and your language. Why have you brought these two works in particular, and how these interact together?
These two parts are connected by two extremes. 6 is extremely minimalist in unison, and 9, more complex, presents a form of chaos. In the great contrast that exists between them, I think we can find a kind of absolute purity. I am always in the quest of this purity in my creations. Our world is running at an excessive speed and is saturated with information. I would like a few of us were able to find a simple path to the innocence and purity of the world ; even if it seems difficult, it would be beneficial.
The repetition and accumulation are figures to be critical in your approach to movement. According to you, that generates the repetition of phrases dance performed in unison?
In my pieces, repetition symbolizes a movement is eternal and unceasing. I’m trying to make it so that it becomes the ultimate meaning of my dance. We all know that time passes irreversibly. My point of view is that dance is the only way to capture and remember every moment, rather that the way to feel and experience the moment. Thanks to the repetition and accumulation, we can find a way to capture the moment and make it eternal.
As a choreographer, what freedom do you find in this process?
I think the limitation is my way to freedom. It’s interesting, because for me, the body in itself is a limitation. The human is constrained by its envelope body ; physically, we cannot fly and we fail to evolve quickly. To a certain extent, the body is beyond our control. If we don’t pay attention to our limits, then we cannot perceive the existence of our freedom. The restriction is a method that structures my work, because I can get new achievements through different ways of restricting the movement. For example, if one limits oneself to the movement of the arm, we can discover new options of movement in the shoulders ; if it is limited to the knee, you can develop a different potential movement in the hips. It allows to discover complex relationships. As a choreographer, I would say that it is precisely this limitation that opens my mind, broadens my vision and gives me ways to understand my freedom of creation.
How to guide your dancers through your process, both physically and mentally?
There are no shortcuts in dance. Every achievement is the result of years of practice and training. To develop the capacities necessary to the quality of the dance, it requires interpreters to be a commitment on the very long term, and a great devotion in terms of passion, time and energy. I communicate with my dancers, my vision of the dance, the beauty and power of the body, and above all, I bring great attention to the mechanism at work in each movement. We discuss around the questions very basic : where are our bodies ? How to feel and interpret their perceptions ? Why and how to move us ? Thanks to our discussions and debates, we approach gradually the nature and the solution of each problem posed in the creations.
What elements can you draw from the taoism? Would you say that there is a spiritual side in your approach?
In China, taoism is a religion that is gender-neutral. Men and women are perceived as equal. I appreciate the beauty of the neutral kind, that is why there is no difference between the sexes in my company. It enables the interpreters, men as well as women, to be strong and powerful as delicate and peaceful. As for spirituality, I believe that the arts have the power to bring people together, they allow you to rally the spirits around research and possibly make them realise that in fact, we are all fighting to achieve the same goal.
Tao Ye will open the Festival TransAmériques, with its diptych minimalist “6 & 9”.
What is the role of musicality in your work?
The music plays a support role. To be honest, my choreography can seem pretty boring and insignificant in the eyes of some audiences. However, the music insinuates itself into the minds very naturally and triggers easily of the interactions with emotional content. I finalize all of my choreography in a first time, and then the musicians are composing music based on those. It implies that my partitions have a system of rhythmic structure and well-developed. I spend a lot of time with the musicians to discuss our understanding of each section of parts and perceptions in the game.
Through time, you have developed your own technique, the “system of the circular motion“. What are the experiences and techniques of the past is it derived?
The system of the circular motion is derived from my own imagination. It is to imagine each part of the body like a pencil drawing circles in the movement in the space. All these circles are interconnected and the whole body is surrounded by circles of different dimensions. Through this fusion of imagination and movement, one can feel and explore the infinite power of gravity. Anonymous and without character, the system presents a plurality of exhaustive application of each viewer to discover and establish links and possible connections can be individually and independently.
6 & 9
Choreography: Tao Ye with the nine performers of the company Tao Dance Theater. Presented in the framework of the FTA at the théâtre Jean-Duceppe from 23 to 25 may.
Jane Virgil has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Koz Week, Jane Virgil worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.