William Yong is a multi-faceted artist, performer, choreographer, dancer, actor, designer and an award-winning director for theatre and film. Since he founded Zata Omm and W Zento Production, as the artistic director, William spent the last eighteen years breaking new ground collaborating with artists, scientists and engineers in bold and innovative ways. In particular Zata Omm became a site for research under his tenure, focussing on the integration of dance, technology and broader culture in order to re-imagine performance for our technological age. A major dance critic remarks of his work “…It shows Yong going where no Canadian choreographer before him has gone before…so much originality…“. He has created many choreographic works for the company including the latest full-length productions Eden Planted and Steer. Critics hailed Steer as “spell-binding, disturbing, fascinating, provocative, and profound theatre.” (Lighting and Sound America Magazine). W Zento Production, meanwhile, is William’s film and video production house that has grown to be much in demand within the vibrant short films and creative arts industries.
William received his dance, theatre and performing arts training at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. After graduation, he was twice the recipient of HK Jockey Club Dance Fund scholarships. William furthered his studies in the U.K. at the London Contemporary Dance School. His dissertation for his Master’s Degree study was on the subject of dance film and video. He completed his MA with distinction, validated by and graduated at University of Kent in Canterbury. He was singled out for placement to study with Netherlands Dance Theatre 1. In 1995, he directed and produced his first two short films which was based on stories from the Tiananmen Square events in 1989.
Three documentaries profiled William as a director and choreographer. One was an episode of the Bravo channel TV show Freedom, the second documented him as resident guest choreographer during the creation of Truce for Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, and the third followed the making of vox:lumen for Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage. William has also collaborated with renowned music video directors and cinematographers such as Lisa Mann, Ray Dumas and Jason George. He choreographed for and performed in music videos for The Used’s Rise Up Light, The Nexus and Over And Over Again; Mother Mother’s Modern Love; Apocalytica’s Cold Blood and Adaline’s Part Of You.
The award-winning director has created more than one hundred original dance, theatre and film works worldwide that have been exhibited by major presenters. Past companies he worked for as a performer include: Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance and Matthew Bourne’s Adventures In Motion Pictures in the U.K.; Toronto Dance Theatre, CORPUS, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Côté Danse, Lina Cruz/Fila 13, Theatre Rusticle, lemonTree creations in Canada and many other independent choreographers in both countries.
William and his stage works have received ten Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations. He was also nominated for MyTheatre Awards’ “Outstanding Direction” for Comfort. William was the winner of 2013 “I love dance/J’aime la danse” Award for Innovation presented by Canada Dance Assembly. William and the ensemble of Against The Grain Theatre’s opera production Kopernikus were the winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award 2019 for ‘Outstanding Performance of an Ensemble’.
Music was William’s first passion. His music band Fundamental was the 1st runner-up winner of the Hong Kong Carlsberg Pop Music Festival 1986 band competition and the bronze prize winner of the HK Commercial Radio Ultimate Song Chart Awards’ Best New Artist Award 1988. William’s professional career in dance, theatre and film spans over twenty-nine years. He has performed in 75 cities within 15 countries.
His numerous other performances include many TV shows, feature films, music videos and dance films produced by others. Additionally, many short films and music videos directed by William have been shown in at least twenty-five film festivals in cities around the world. William has directed thirty-six films and is an award-winning cinematographer at Venice Shorts Film Awards. His short films were the winners of ‘Award of Excellence’ at the One-Reeler Short Film Festival in Los Angeles; Best Short Short at Palm Springs Movie Awards; Best Experimental Short at Barcelona Indie Awards, Madrid Arthouse Film Festival and Nashville Independent Filmmakers