Willy Tsao Sing-yuen receives his honorary doctorate from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
Press Release – For Immediate Release (24th June 2015)
PIONEER OF HONG KONG CONTEMPORARY DANCE,
WILLY TSAO HONOURED WITH HONORARY DOCTORATE
from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
HONG KONG, CHINA – 24th June 2015 – Founder and Artistic Director of City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), Willy Tsao Sing-yuen, receives an honorary doctorate awarded by The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts today, as a token of praise and appreciation of Tsao’s contributions to Hong Kong’s contemporary dance industry over the years. The ceremony is held at the Drama Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Tsao has been in the forefront of development in contemporary dance in Hong Kong and China for more than three decades. He is not only a prolific choreographer and artistic director, the contemporary dance companies he established in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Beijing play a key role in developing local choreographic talents. His devotion and success are demonstrated by how far the contemporary dance world has developed in Greater China.
When Dream Comes True
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Tsao attended Pui Ching Middle School in Kowloon for 12 years, after which he attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington State, completing a degree in business administration. He then returned to Hong Kong and studied for a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Hong Kong. First encountered modern dance at Pacific Lutheran University, Tsao’s journey in contemporary dance began in 1979 when he established City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC).
Promoting Contemporary Dance
He helped set up the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, becoming Artistic Director from 1992 to 1998, and General Manager in 2004. He also helped set up the Beijing Modern Dance Company, where he was Artistic Director from 1999 to 2005. He established Beijing Dance/LDTX in 2005, becoming both Company Director and Artistic Director. He also founded CCDC Dance Centre (a key hub for developing Hong Kong choreographic talent) as well as Jumping Frames International Dance Video Festival, China Dance Forward Programme, and Guangdong and Beijing Modern Dance Festivals. These projects receive high regard internationally, and have a significant positive impact on the development of dance not only in Hong Kong, but also in the region.
Tsao’s contribution to dance has long been recognised: he was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 1999 by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR for his extensive contribution to the development of local arts, an Honorary Fellowship from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2000, and the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Hong Kong Dance Awards for his “immense and invaluable contribution” to dance in Hong Kong.
Tsao’s masterpiece, 365 Ways of Doing and Undoing Orientalism – co-choreographed with Sang Jijia and Xing Liang – will return this Friday and Saturday (26th and 27th June) to Auditorium, Kwai Tsing Theatre. Tickets are now available from URBTIX, on the Internet and through telephone booking. For details, please contact CCDC at 23297803.
About Willy Tsao
Willy Tsao established CCDC in 1979 and has been Artistic Director since 1989. His works have been presented at many international arts festivals over the past 30 years.
Tsao is devoted to the development of modern dance in China. He started teaching modern dance at the Guangdong Dance Academy in 1987 and the Beijing Dance Academy in 1988. He was invited to act as Artistic Advisor of the Youth Dance Company of the Beijing Dance Academy in 1991. Since 1995, he has been conducting intensive modern dance workshops in different cities throughout China. He helped establish the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and was Artistic Director from 1992 to 1998. A year later, he became Artistic Director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company and held the post until 2005. Tsao was invited to be the Artistic Director (Dance) of the Closing Ceremony of the 9th National Games in 2001 and he was invited to be the Guest Professor of Tianjin Institute of Physical Education in 2002. In 2004, he returned to the Guangdong Modern Dance Company as General Manager. In November 2004, Tsao and the Beijing Modern Dance Company accompanied Mr Hu Jintao, then President of the People’s Republic of China, in his official visit to South America, where the dance company staged 15 performances during the tour. In 2005, Tsao received the Hong Kong Dance Award for his choreography One Table N Chairs. In September 2005, he established BeijingDance/LDTX and became its Company Director and Artistic Director.
Tsao’s contributions to the development of contemporary dance are widely recognised. In July 1999, he was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government for his significant contribution to the development of local arts. Other accolades and honours include the Dancer of the Year Award from the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild (1988), Ten Outstanding Young Persons (1990), Badge of Honour from the Queen of the United Kingdom (1993), and Louis Cartier Award of Excellence – Outstanding Choreographer (1998). Tsao received the “Distinguished Achievement Award” at the 2014 Hong Kong Dance Awards for his immense and invaluable achievement and contribution to Hong Kong dance, and in June 2015, he received an Honorary Doctorate from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
About City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC)
For 35 years under the leadership of Founder and Artistic Director Willy Tsao, City Contemporary Dance Company has inspired and excited audiences – not only in Hong Kong but also around the world – performing superb contemporary dance pieces. Founded in 1979, CCDC has presented more than 200 original works to critical acclaim, including productions by Tsao and other leading choreographers, such as Helen Lai, Mui Cheuk-yin, Pun Siu-fai and Yuri Ng. CCDC has also presented innovative collaborations with outstanding artists from other media and with artists from around the world.
CCDC is renowned for reflecting the vigour and creativity of Hong Kong’s vibrant, multifaceted contemporary culture, presenting dance works to an audience of more than 50,000 people annually. It has represented Hong Kong, receiving 235 overseas invitations to perform on some of the world’s foremost dance stages and festivals in more than 30 major cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Montreal, Sydney, Brisbane, Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Lyon, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Prague, Rome, Florence, Rovereto, Karmiel (Israel), St Petersburg, Moscow, Mumbai, Delhi, Urumqi, Beijing, Shanghai, Xining, Manila, Tokyo, Seoul, Busan, Singapore and Taipei.
CCDC’s commitment to education and development results in around 40 outreach performances annually, offering highly popular dance courses to more than 40,000 students and audience members each year.
CCDC also helps to organise dance festivals in mainland China. Through the China Dance Development Programme, founded in 1998, CCDC provides administrative and technical support to emerging Hong Kong and mainland Chinese artists. CCDC Dance Centre, opened in 2004, provides young artists, students and the community with dance facilities and programmes, ensuring the ongoing development of dance as a vital artistic pursuit in Hong Kong.