William Lau is a refined performer, dynamic educator, and distinguished cultural worker. William was born in Hong Kong and raised in Montreal. A graduate from Toronto York University's Master of Fine Arts program in dance, he was trained in both Chinese traditional dance and Western classical ballet. Presently, William specialized in the arts of Nan Dan (male playing female roles in the Peking Opera) under renowned Masters in China such as Shen Xiaomei, Song Changrong, and Sun Mingzhu. He is the only Canadian artist who specialized in all four styles of famous Dan schools (Mei, Cheng, Xun, Shang) and presented them to the Canadian audience through public performances, pre and post-show talks, videos, published articles, costumes exhibitions and lecture demonstrations.
William was the founder and the Artistic Director of the Montreal Society of Chinese Performing Arts and the Little Pear Garden Collective. Under his leadership, he had developed and promoted the richness of Chinese dance and opera to a wide range of audiences nationally across Canada as well as mentored a new generation of cultural workers. He had also performed internationally including United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Mexico, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Indonesia. William always aims to bridge Chinese performing arts to the Canadian mainstream communities by conducting workshops and lecture demonstrations at various academic institutions and professional companies; by initiating photos and costumes exhibitions at different cultural spaces across Canada. He had also pushed the boundaries of traditional arts practices by collaborating with professional artists of different artistic disciplines and diverse cultural backgrounds. Notables as South Asian choreographer Menaka Thakkar for "Land of Cards", contemporary composer Alice Ho for "Dance Concerto" with the Newfoundland Symphony's Sinfonia and New Music Concerts, playwright Marty Chan, composer Robert Walsh and director Ron Jenkins for "Forbidden Phoenix" with the Edmonton's Citadel Theatre, director Heidi Specht for "Life of Paper" with the Vancouver's Pangaea Theatre.
With a deep passion for the arts, William is a recognized artist who has a deep passion for the arts and is a member of union des artists. He also has solid management and program development skills. His professional experience includes arts administration, production, scholarly research, advisory and advocacy work. His research papers have been presented at conferences in Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong, and England. William served on many Boards and Committees including the Canadian Conference of the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, Dance Ontario, the Laidlaw Foundation and the Cultural Human Resources Council. He has also worked at the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Arts Council of Great Britain. Currently, William is a Program Officer in Dance at the Canada Council for the Arts.