Artistic Director – Taro Dance Theatre
Lena Ang brought Butoh to the Malaysian public in 1993.
The hypnotic and surreal quality of her dance captured much imagination and interest ever since her debut Framed (1993) in Kuala Lumpur.
Her body of works includes early solos,
Framed (1993) International Women’s Day ~ Central Market
Coming of the Moon (1993) ~ Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
Where’s the Dessert (1994) World AIDS Day ~ Boom Boom Room
Spirits are Closer at Twilight (1994) Liberal Arts Fringe Festival ~ The Australian High Commission Baubbles (1994) Unveil and Reveal ~ The Backyard Gallery at Bon Ton
and evening-length pieces.
A Buto Offering (1995) ~ Kapitan’s Club
Beautymaker (1995) ~ Boom Boom Room
Of Petals, Stamen and Stigma (1996) ~ British Council
PINK (2007) ~ The Annexe at Central Market
She has pushed the boundaries of dance by setting her works outside of the conventional dance space to highlight the socio-cultural significance of the space.
A Buto Offering (1995) ~ in a 19th century colonial Chinese building turned restaurant
Beauty Maker (1995) ~ in a nightclub well-known for its transgender shows
Let’s Rock (1995) ~ in the Petronas Megalith Stone Park, an arrangement of prehistoric rocks Spirits are Closer at Twilight (1994) ~ in a glass encased fish pond at the Australian High Commission
Her openness and interest in other artists and art forms are apparent in her successful collaborations with other contemporary dancers, theatre directors, installation artists, actors and musicians.
Fatamorgana (1993) 3rd Sutra Dance Festival ~ with Ramli Ibrahim
Happy Family (1993) ~ with Ann Lee
Scorpion Orchid (1994) Singapore International Arts Festival ~ with the late Krishen Jit and the late Lloyd Fernando
Fallen Angels (1995) ~ with Lee Swee Keong
Skin Trilogy (1995) ~ with the late Krishen Jit, Sunetra Fernando, installation artists and actors Colour of Water (1995) 4th Sutra Dance Festival ~ with Valerie Ross
Dance Tonpu (1995) ~ with Masako Sato, Keiko Takeya, Marion D’Cruz, Anne James, Liew Kung Yu
Her work as a choreographer and dancer extends beyond Malaysia where her company is based. Scorpion Orchid (1994) Singapore International Arts Festival
Dance Tonpu (1995) Japan Foundation in Tokyo
Heaven on Earth (1996) the 16th Festival of Asian Arts, Hong Kong
Puteri Malaysia (1998) Cities on the Move at PS1, New York and at the Louisiana Modern Art Museum, Denmark
In the years 1994-96, Lena Ang also taught dance ethnology and western dance history at University of Malaya and Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (now, ASWARA). Her academic study and research had been in Central Javanese court dance. She received an MA in dance ethnology from the University of Hawai’i (1987-90) and a BA in music at Ohio Wesleyan University (1983-87).
After establishing Taro Dance Theatre and seeing four years of prolific work, Lena Ang took a break from dance to start a family. She has lived in Hong Kong, New York and London since 1996. For now she lives and works in New Jersey, USA with her husband and children. After eight years of putting dance on hold, she got back to it by teaching children’s creative movement in elementary schools in New York and London.
The last five years have been a further learning phase for Lena Ang. She has taken advantage of the hearty cultural smorgasbord, Butoh included, in the cities she has lived. She has taken Butoh workshops with Katsura Kan, Ko Murobushi, Joan Laage and Marie Gabrielle Rotie, witnessed performances and talks by numerous Butoh practitioners such as Yoshito Ohno, Akira Kasai, Dairakuda Kan, Sankai Juku, Eiko and Koma as well as American and European Butoh practitioners. All this have only opened up a bigger world of dance to her and further solidified the shape of her practice.
PINK (2007), an evening-length work on the theme of gender and power, marked Lena Ang’s return to choreography and performance. It was also Taro Dance Theatre’s 10-year reunion performance, bringing together her dancers from the UK and Australia. It was met with much zeal among old and new audiences at The Annexe. PINK was nominated for four Cameronian Boh Awards.