Moves and numbers

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A contemporary dance piece choreographed by dancer-choreographer Tao Ye, entitled 9, will be staged in Beijing to mark the 10th anniversary of Tao Dance Theater.[Photo by Fan Xi/Provided to China Daily]

Folk singer-songwriter Xiao He was invited by a friend to watch a contemporary dance performance by Tao Dance Theater in Beijing in 2009.

Xiao He, whose real name is He Guofeng, was reluctant because he found "contemporary dance hard to understand" and had never watched performances by the Beijing-based company before that. But when the show opened with the music of US composer Steve Reich, whose work Xiao He liked, the Chinese singer was intrigued.

"I was curious to see a performance accompanied by Reich's music, and I wondered why the choreographer (Tao Ye) wanted to use it," recalls Xiao He.

The dance piece, entitled Weight X3, has a male dancer and a female dancer repeating the moves of swirling hand in hand and then departing with speed.

"I felt hypnotized by the chemistry between the music and the dance moves," Xiao He says.

After the show, he contacted the dancer-choreographer Tao, who is the founder of Tao Dance Theater, and since then they have worked together on six dance productions of the company.

Their latest collaboration is a dance piece choreographed by Tao, entitled 9, for which Xiao He is the composer and a performer. It's the ninth dance work in their "number series" by Tao Dance Theater, which premiered at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing in November.

The dance piece, Weight X3, which Xiao He watched in 2009, has since been developed into a three-part performance with the same title. Both 9 and Weight X3 will be staged at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center in Beijing from Nov 24 to 25, marking a decade since the founding of Tao Dance Theater.

Before the two shows, dancers and choreographers of the company will share their stories at the Central Academy of Drama, Peking University, the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, the Art Museum of China, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Today Art Museum and Red Brick Art Museum.

"Weight X3 was the first original choreography work by Tao Dance Theater. It is significant for our theater and laid the foundation for our future style," says Tao, who launched Tao Dance Theater along with his wife, contemporary dancer Duan Ni.

Tao says his dance company wanted to celebrate a decade with "our first and latest works, which show our artistic growth".

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