Hou Ying Dance Theater Brings Experimental Dance to NYC

Tu Tu

Beijing’s Hou Ying Dance Theater will perform at Gibney Dance Choreographic Center at 890 Broadway on Monday, February 29.  The performance is not open to the general public, but if you are interested in attending this intimate performance, send an email to beyondchinatown@gmail.com.

Choreographer Hou Ying, who lived in New York City and was recognized for her contributions to the Shen Wei Dance Company by The New York Times before moving to Beijing presents three works that span from expressions of the philosophical in 2015’s The Moment to Tutu‘s methodical yet free exploration of dance as a language:

The Moment, 40 min

The life seems to have no idea, there is no accident, no purpose, no expression, no results, but is full of struggle and come to nothing.  The possibility of good luck goes with the variable of bad luck, which lead you breath freely sometimes but be given chance to breath other times.

Infinity, 9 min Hou Ying breaks the consistence and the predictable moving order of traditional dance principles, attempting to use a stream-of-consciousness, vague and inconsequence expression to built movements with their own independence.

TuTu, 5 min

TuTu, choreographed as a purely physical dance work, developed from its unique dance language and principles of movement itself.  It deconstructs the way the body moves, such as using release techniques and four-dimensional spacial recognition to continually explore and investigate how physical movement is influenced by time and space.

A play on the word for the ballet outfit, the title of the work actually refers to 涂 and 图, which mean “to apply paint” and a physical painting.   The work is a experimental study of body movement and was conceived after spending a year recovering from a back injury.  It was developed from the collective creativity and wisdom from dancers with whom Hou Ying “simply came together to play and have fun.”  Shanghai Daily described that “[t]here are numerous improvisational parts when the dancers move spontaneously according to Hou’s general requests. And it is often the best moments when the dancers forget about the choreography and dance spontaneously.”  Hou described the dancers as “like six lives shining in their own way with their energy, yet they deliver an integral message.”

The preview below shows dancers in brightly colored outfits, but the vibrance and spirit of youth of the original incarnation were discarded to “purify” the piece, resulting in a new interpretation featuring muted grays. “I want the audiences to feel the transparent lines portrayed through the body movements, which are simple but filled with energy,” she explained.  She also said of the work, “I don’t want any pictures or colors in the work.  And I don’t want any music to limit the dance.  If there is such limitations, I should break it with my body. It is a very challenging creation, but I was determined to explore body movements in as much simplicity as possible.”

Hou Ying Dance Theater was established in 2011. Its predecessor, Horizon Dance Theater, was founded by Hou Ying in 2006 in New York City, New York. Hou Ying returned to China as Director of the 2008 Olympic Games’ opening eight minutes, The Picture.  Afterwards, Horizon Dance Theater’s creative focus moved to Beijing, where it was officially renamed Hou Ying Dance Theater.

The Picture:

Artistic Director Hou Ying is the soul of Hou Ying Dance Theater.  She has trained in a variety of eastern traditional arts such as Chinese Classical Dance, Folk Dance, Traditional Chinese Opera, Martial Arts, and Ballet.  In the United States, she has studied techniques with dance masters Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, and many more world renowned dance artists.  For a long time, Hou Ying devoted her time to exploring the eastern rhyme and spirit, combined with the natural movement of the body from western dance techniques.  As a result, she formed a unique and highly recognizable “Hou Ying dance limbs movement skills”—consciously driven movement that pushes the body.

Monday, February 29, 6 PM
Gibney Dance Choreographic Center, 890 Broadway
Free, but not open to general public.  Email beyondchinatown@gmail.com for tickets.