HKDance/FLSH was established by Willy TSAO in 2019. With the mission of “Hongkong Base, China Context, Global Vision” and the determination to uphold the finest artistic standard, HKDance/FLSH collects and presents outstanding dance works from Hong Kong and explores young dance artists to replenish talents for the city. Supported by the cultural fusions in Hong Kong, HKDance/FLSH also devotes to China dance development projects to foster artistic exchanges between Hong Kong, Chinese mainland, and other parts of the world.
Founder & Director
Founder & Director, HKDance/FLSH
Founder, Artistic Director, BeijingDance/LDTX
Council Member, China’s Chinese Dancers Association
Vice Chairman, Guangdong Provincial Dancers Association
Willy TSAO is an influential figure in China’s contemporary dance development as a choreographer, educator, curator, manager, and director. Born and educated in Hong Kong, TSAO received his modern dance training in the US. He received his MBA degree from University of Hong Kong. TSAO was named an Honorary Fellow in 2000 and received an Honorary Doctorate in 2015 from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
As a contemporary dance pioneer in China and Hong Kong, TSAO founded the first and only professional modern dance company, City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), in Hong Kong in 1979 and has been its artistic director for thirty years from 1989 to 2019; and in 2019, he founded HKDance/FLSH, a group to further promote the inter-exchange between Hong Kong and mainland modern dance. In China, he was a teacher and advisor to establishing the first proper modern dance education program in China at the Guangdong Dance School from 1987 to 1992. He was named artistic director of China’s first professional contemporary dance company, Guangdong Experimental Modern Dance Group, when it was founded by the Guangdong Provincial Government in 1992 and held the post until 1998. In 2004, TSAO was invited by the Guangdong Cultural Bureau to resume as artistic director of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company until 2016. In Beijing, TSAO co-founded China’s first officially registered private professional modern dance company, BeijingDance/LDTX, and had served as its artistic director since establishment. In end of 2016, TSAO further built up a network – China Dance Station, joined by private independent dance organizations in each of the cities, with aim to share resources and intelligence; as of June of 2021, there are 65 dance organizations joining the China Dance Station alliance.
Committed to nurturing and developing Chinese contemporary dance groups and artists, TSAO established two contemporary dance exchange platforms – the Guangdong Modern Dance Festival and the Beijing Dance Festival. The annual Beijing Dance Festival was set up in 2008 with TSAO as artistic director. It began as a one-week festivity and has since 2012 expanded to become a two-weeks. The Beijing Dance Festival has become one of the biggest celebration of dance in Beijing and among cities in China with more than 300 dance artists, over 200 dance students and more than 5000 audience attendance coming from cities throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, as well as across the world from North & Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
TSAO holds several public posts in China. In 2015, he was appointed as council member of the China Dancers Association. In 2016, he was appointed as vice chairman of the Guangdong Provincial Dancers Association. TSAO also frequently gives lectures and holds workshops in universities and dance groups across China in cities such as: Beijing, Changde, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Daqing, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Guiyang, Hefei, Huhhot, Kunming, Lanzhou, Nanchang, Nanjing, Nanning, Ningbo, Ordos, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Urumqi, Wuhan, Xian, Xiamen, Yinchuan and China Hong Kong and China Macao.
TSAO’s contribution to dance has been widely recognized. He has received numerous awards and honours, including Dancer of Year Award from the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild in 1988, Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award in 1990, Badge of Honour from HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 1993, Louis Cartier Award of Excellence – Outstanding Choreographer in 1998, Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 1999, Distinguished Achievement Award in 2014 and Life Achievement Award in 2017 by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for his immense and invaluable achievement and contributions to Hong Kong dance. TSAO was invited by the Dance Committee of International Theatre Institute (Partner of UNESCO) to be the Message Author for Asia-Pacific and delivered the message on the International Dance Day 2018.
Since the 1980’s, TSAO has created more than 60 major works, including Bird Songs, Kunlun, China Wind-China Fire, 365 Ways of Doing and Undoing Orientalism, Wandering in the Cosmos, One Table N Chairs, Sexing Three Millenniums, Dao: Extraordinaire, Conqueror, Warrior Lanling, and In Search of the Grand View Garden. His choreographies have been presented in Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, United States as well as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Taipei.
(Photo credit: Ringo CHAN)