Dao’s Ballet Portfolio


Thang Dao resides between Los Angeles and New York City where he works as a freelance choreographer, educator, and coach. He is a graduate of Hollins University (MFA’ 21) and New York University (MA’ 09). Dao received his formal dance education from the Juilliard School and Boston Conservatory (BFA’ 01).

Dao has choreographed for Sacramento Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, ballet22, Ballet Austin, Ballet Austin II, Ailey II, Ballet X, Philadanco, Taiwan National University of the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Kennesaw State University, University of Arizona, Michigan State University, and the Boston Conservatory along with many universities and performing arts schools nationally and internationally.

His works have toured throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia with acclaimed reviews. His ballet Stepping Ground, choreographed for Ballet Austin for the 1st Biannual New American Dance Talent, received the Audience Choice Award all four nights. Dao was the recipient of the 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship, the 2009 Special Project Grant, and the 2012 Vilcek finalist for Creative Promise in choreography. In 2012, his work Waiting Women was featured at NYCDAF Gala: Destiny Rising at the Joyce Theater in New York. Dao was part of the creative team for the James Brown Project: Get On The Good Foot commissioned and produced by the Apollo Theater in collaboration with Philadanco under the artistic direction of Otis Salid. In 2017, Dao garnered 1st Prize for his choreography at the DAP Festival in Pietrasanta, Italy.

Dao was the recipient of the 2022 #launchPAD residency, an initiative  of Works & Process at the Guggenheim, to research and develop movement concepts for forthcoming commissions with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Philadanco, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Choreographic Reel

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ballet22 in Etudes
Thang Dao Dance Company in “We Circle the Night”
Ballet Austin in “Stepping Ground”
Philadanco in “Roked”
University of Arizona in “Nevermore”
Thang Dao Dance Company in “Different Pulses”
Thang Dao Dance Company in “The Cafe”
Philadanco in “Folded Prism”
Ballet X in “One Word Play”


1. “The crafty wisdom of old age has been said to trump the energy of youth. But the young overachievers of the Thang Dao Dance Company nearly disproved that maxim in an impressive performance on Saturday night at the Merce Cunningham Studio Theater.” -Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

2.“Folded Prism by Thang Dao opened the evening with an ensemble work for nine dancers, who were placed upstage right with their backs to the audience. With a collective breath Dao immediately established a sense of community. These dancers were kindred spirits moving with a collective purpose.” -Walter Rutledge, outandaboutnycmag.com

3. ““Echoes” is a stark and haunting work that draws on Dao’s memories of his early life in Vietnam but seems to be more universal, a meditation on loss, or a search for meaning. “-Andrew Boynton, The New Yorker

4.““Echoes,” by the Vietnamese choreographer Thang Dao, came the closest to choreographic magic.-Brian Seibert, The New York Times

5. “‘Roked’ had a cathartic visual impact that spelled Philadanco returned to their home stage and ready for a new era after a perilous time…the dancers “strip away the patriarchy as they find their own personal freedom.” -Lewis J Whittington, philadelphiadance.org

6. “Thang Dao’s Folded Prism was visually stunning and mature in the choice of movement. PHILADANCO’s cast performed this piece, donning all white unitards. Folded Prism created a dreamlike state where the dancers seemed to move as flawless, pristine bodies.” -Hannah Joo, philadelphiadance.org

7. “I didn’t fit the ethnic demographic of the intended audience. Still, I was glad for this brief introduction to Dao’s work and to Ballet Austin II. But I was especially happy to hear singer Khanh Ly and the songs of Trinh Cong Son, which, through the bittersweet beauty and unfamiliarity of the music, made a particular imprint on me.”Laura Bleiberg 

8. “The entrée, choreographer Thang Dao’s “Roked,” whet the appetite for the rest of the program. He helms his eponymously-named Los Angeles-based company of renown and he’s set work on Philadanco! in the past. To music by Paul Guy Stevens, he used the concept of dancing in the masculine form called Roked (in the present tense in Hebrew.) But another definition is “a vein of ore” and Dao struck gold for this dance for nine of the company’s 11 members.”-Merilyn Jackson, Fjord Review 

9. “The first piece was a mesmerising symphony of movement and shadow.Aptly entitled ‘Echoes’, and choreographed by Thang Dao, the piece featured flawless symmetry, seamless transitions, and impressive athleticism.‘Echoes’ was a full company piece that found all the dancers clad in grey and delivering a clinically effective feast of technique and form. This was a performance that was quite impossible to turn away from, and a thoroughly captivating way to start a world class dance show.” -Vejay Steede, The Royal Gazette

10. “Thang Dao’s graceful, angular One Word Play was another program highlight. Dao intends for it to convey how “we use and manipulate words to construct our identity and power,” and while that message was indeed communicated, the piece was abstract enough that you could derive many other meanings, including the notion of trying to grab onto things you can’t quite catch.” -Deni Kasrel, Philadelphia City Paper