TAO dance theater

4&5
Tao Ye likes to designate his dances by number rather than name. After 4 comes 5, his latest to appear in the US: the 27-year-old choreographer behind Beijing’s six-member Tao Dance Theater is just getting started. And yet he is already a worldwide festival favourite and distinctive to boot, in spite of – or perhaps because of – his deliberately limited means. From 2012, 4 restricted itself to four dancers moving in unison and in a tight cohort within the square of the stage. The dancers’ faces were blacked out, their gaze down, their spines never succumbing to the easy beauty of uprightness, and their voluminous costumes, full of folds and creases, were identical.

Danielle Wilde

LASERSPINE
A garment with lasers that project perpendicular to, and down the length of the spine. The complex technology in this interface is the body. Though it is not always evident, the range of movement of the spine is remarkable. Magnifying and making visible the relative position and dynamic tilt of the spine is sufficient to bring attention in an intense and unique way to this part of the body. That the wearer of the garment cannot see the lights projecting from their back serves to intensify this focus. The whole seems to enhance the poetic valence of movement of the entire torso, with the spinal column demarcated as the experiential, physical and energetic core.