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Michael Mao Dance (New York City)

Michael Mao Dance is a critically acclaimed New York based modern dance company with an international corps of accomplished dancers. Passionate, yet meticulously crafted, Mao?s work is infused with a visceral, elemental power. His dances fill the stage with compelling images and enthrall audiences with their emotional immediacy. Rooted in the traditions of American modern dance, Mao?s works are graced with the formal considerations of classical ballet and reveal the choreographer?s Asian heritage in their spare yet expansive choreographic means.
Mao?s dances have been performed worldwide. Commissions include original works for the Hong Kong Ballet, Café de la Danse, Paris, Festival Internaciónal Cervantinó, Mexico, and the Tennessee Children?s Dance Ensemble. He has created over 50 works for his company that have been performed at the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Kaye Playhouse, New York City Center, LaMama, Madison Square Garden, SUNY Purchase, and on tour throughout the United States and Mexico, in Europe, and most recently in the major cities of China.

Michael Mao Dance recently performed at The Edinburgh Fringe at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (seating 600) in August 2009 as the concluding company with JK&A?s Booking DANCE FESTIVAL Edinburgh 2009. The company?s dancers brought audiences to its feet with Mao?s captivating work Weaving, performed to Kodos drumming. Michael Mao was also selected as only one of two artists to be interviewed for the BBC?s feature story on dance worldwide.
In addition to presenting concert dance works, Michael Mao Dance also engages in arts-in-education and outreach programs including the 45-minute interactive performance Multicultural Fusion, and the ESLdance: Learning English Through Dance project that enhances the English speaking skills of immigrants and ESL students through the study of modern dance.

Michael Mao Dance performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Booking Dance Festival Edinburgh 2010.

?Exquisitely crafted work, very satisfying in its suave beauty.?
Tobi Tobias, Village Voice

?Mao?s stark visual imagery demands as much attention as his bold narrative content. There is a symbiosis of rare power. It works beautifully.? St. Louis Post-Dispatch

?A gratifying adventure?an exciting repertoire performed by excellent dancers.? Arbeiderbladet, Oslo, Norway

?It was an absolute feast for the eyes and ears, with impressive choreography, skilled dancing and a wide variety of musical pieces. Michael Mao offered us ?Lorca Libre? ? some fantastic performances based on the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca including my favourite of the afternoon, ?Son de Negros en Cuba, and ?China Moves?, a complicated but dazzling example of dance centred around kinetic forces, showcasing the partnership between Mao and Huang Ruo ? a prize-winning composer with some intriguing and unique pieces. The simple set worked wonderfully, with the performances complementing but not distracting from the movements of the talented dancers ? the lighting in particular was amazing.?

Finally, we end with the powerhouse performers of Michael Mao Dance. Weaving is a strong, feisty work, combining pounding drums with a multicultural sensibility, driving towards a strong sense of conclusion. Mao's dancers move with a lithe assuredness, creating tension and drama as well as some beautiful shapes. ?
Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

?Michael Mao Dance opens the show with Weaving, a strikingly powerful modern dance quartet with a tribal edge. Here, both men and women display their power as they command the stage with their physicality and athleticism. The dancers kick, spin, leap and cartwheel to create a frenzy of strength and technique. The energy exerted by the company is tangible and, as the piece reaches its climax, the audience is left eager for more.?

In Lorca Libre, each movement is infused with feeling. There is length in all extensions; reach in every tilt. The choreography gains even more powerful breadth when the three girls enter with sweeping shawls. The piece then continues to build to a flirtatious end as the dancers playfully respond to each other, step complementing step.China Moves: Phase 1 contrasts frivolity with tension and strangeness. It begins with the girls convulsing as their bodies become instruments that function in perfect synchronicity with the music. The males later appear as strong individuals executing crazy, obscure dance sequences. It is tantalising in its peculiarity. ?
The Skinny

?Mao has a feel for drama and strong musicality, bringing us passionate and high quality choreography.?
Edinburgh Spotlight

Touring Programs

Tours with 24 dancers/ 118 costumes


The Chinese New Year Nutcracker tells the tale of the twins in 1937 Shanghai. A special firecracker, the Chinese symbol of celebration, sets them off on a magical journey to far-off lands. A captivating spin on a familiar tale, it is fast-paced, sophisticated, and a delight for all the senses. The sumptuous production is designed by the legendary Ming Cho Lee and features 118 costumes by Linda Cho and narration by Tony award-winning actor B.D. Wong. Set to Tchaikovsky?s timeless score, with additional music by Dudley Buck, Henry Cowell and Jonathan Faiman, FireCracker will delight, enchant and thrill all. 

?Mao gave us a ballet that unveiled strata of human emotions not explicit, but deeply felt. It spoke volumes.? ? South China Morning Post 

Repertory Program
Tours with 6 dancers

WEAVING - a propulsive motion powerhouse driven by Kodo?s drums.
CANCION - an edgy theme by Mexican composer Javier Alvarez underscores this contemporary pas de deux of love unconsummated.
LORCA LIBRE - Five dances set to evocative songs written by Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca during his stay in New York and Cuba in 1930 and sung by Flamenco Cantaores.
CHINA MOVES Phase 1 - spatial, aural and kinetic forces intercept and diverge in this collaboration between Mao and composer Huang Ruo. Note that China Moves will also be offered as a full evening length work upon completion of additional phases.

Performance Calendar

July 4


Performance Bryant Park, NYC

July 19, 20 


SONG OF HELENA, Villapiana, Italy

August 2


3 pm and 8 pm LORCA LIBRE for Staten Island Ballet, St. George Theater, SI

October 2


8 pm VERDI REQUIEM for Kosovo Ballet, National Theater, Mother Teresa Blvd, Pristina, Kosovo.

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Main Roster
  Michael Mao Dance

  special projects


BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance

Thodos Dance Chicago

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