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TAO Dance Theater returns to Sadler's Wells with UK premiere of 9

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TAKING China’s dance world by storm, TAO Dance Theater returns to Sadler’s Wells on May 24 and 25, 2019 with two pieces from its Numerical Series – 4, and the company’s latest work 9, which receives its UK premiere.

Known for its mixture of art forms and mesmeric qualities, TAO’s works are a continuation of minimalist experimentation which explore the potential of using the human body as a visual aspect, devoid of story-telling or representation.

The newest work, 9, draws inspiration from Chinese culture, hardship and renewal and is a crucial turning point in the Numerical Series. Performed by nine dancers, 9 presents a relationship between complexity and simplicity.

In 4, the dancers do not touch but a powerful unity condenses itself around intersubjective, co-ordinated movements. Both works feature music from TAO’s regular collaborator and indie-folk musician, Xiao He.

The company was founded in 2008 by artistic director, Tao Ye, seeking to stand out from other choreographers. He is a graduate of the Chongqing Dance School in Chongqing, China and began his career with the Shanghai Army Song and Dance Ensemble before performing with Jin Xing Dance Theatre and Beijing Modern Dance Company.

Alongside Tao Ye is rehearsal director Duan Ni, who returned to China to work exclusively with Tao Ye after performing with Shen Wei Dance Arts in the US and Akram Khan Company in the UK. Tao Ye and Duan Ni originally met in Jin Xing Contemporary Dance Theatre and joined forces with Wang Hao, company manager and specialist in Mongolian folk dance, whom they met in Beijing Modern Dance Company to create TAO. The company has performed in more than 40 countries across five continents.

TAO has also collaborated with VOGUE China, established Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto for Paris Fashion Week, BMW’s MINI and rock singer Cui Jian.

TAO Dance Theater was last at Sadler’s Wells in October 2016.

Tickets: £15 – £37. To book, call the ticket office on 020 7863 8000 or visit

Times: Friday to Saturday at 7.30pm.