Tao Ye believes that a single word or phrase cannot possibly capture the imaginative space afforded by a dance piece. On the contrary, a definite title might impose restrictions and misunderstanding to the audience's individual interpretation before the pieces are performed. A number, on the other hand, signifies the rejection of duality between abstract and concrete thinking. Tao believes his works can offer limitless interpretation and imaginative possibilities to each of the audience. And from there, his works can develop and continue with greater vitality and variety.
4, being the third piece of choreographer Tao Ye’s “Numerical Series”, builds upon Weight x 3 and 2 in its characteristically meticulous reflection on the human body as a pure and symbolic creative element. Technically pioneering notwithstanding, 4inherits the minimalistic outlook from its predecessors, and excavates still deeper layers of a new body-texture aesthetic. As the four dancers, standing in a diamond formation, whirl and slice simultaneously through a shared, external space and each of their own internal, private space, an orderly flow of transformations emerges from the dynamic picture. The four dancers never touch, but a powerful and seemingly magnetic sense of unity condenses itself around the mesmerizing, intersubjectively coordinated movements. It is as if a demonstration of the conservation of energy and the ultimate process of becoming depleted is contained in the dancers’ rhythmic and cyclical shifting of body weight in their uniform and circular movements.
Following the success of 4 and the recruitment of new dancers, choreographer Tao Ye continues his exploration with the idea of “the simplest complexity” unto new grounds in the presentation of the possibilities inherent to the human body, of which 5 is the new artistic output. In 5, 5 individual dancers retain a close physical connection that unifies them as strings to a rope for the entire duration of the piece. The knotting and unknotting of the body are interwoven in a stream of processual change of mutually supporting movements and body shapes. The interlocking and heaping of bodies seem to effect a living edifice, on which the multiform possibilities of spatial constructs and human limitations are explored in an infinitely complex fashion. Music artist Xiao He fuses Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth in his composition for 5. From cosmic background radiation to esoteric mantras, from Baroque to Neo-Classicism, a free play between change and non-change creates an almost visible orchestra that complements the dance flawlessly. Choreographer Tao Ye believes 5 to be a “piece that expresses one’s understanding of the world at large. Some see happiness and hope in this piece, some see oppression and despair; I see a universal principle: the myriad things in this universe are interconnected, interdependent and subject to the same principles. No matter whether I live or die, no matter whether humanity exists, this universe is imbued with an incessant life force. The cosmic outburst of active power has no end. That is what I call a principle.”