A journey that loses direction
Kwai Tsing Theatre
This triple bill showcased three modern dance troupes that are, in one way or another, connected with choreographer Willy Tsao Sing-yuen: he was the first artistic director of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company and still sits at the helm of Beijing Dance/LDTX and the City Contemporary Dance Company. Triptych was an attempt to give an overview of the different artistic style and development of the three companies in recent years.
The CCDC presented a new work by its associate choreographer Mui Cheuk-yin, The Tale of Miles, inspired by the Cantonese folk tune Ke Tu Qiu Hen.
The piece, however, had nothing to do with the inner poignancy of prostitutes in early 20th China (which the song is about) but is a contemporary take on ke tu, which literally translates as a guest's journey. Luo Fan and Chang Lan-yun gave the piece a strong start, dancing their duet with fluency and precision. But the work, which looks at the transiency of life, started to lose steam halfway with repeated references to a metaphoric train journey.
Mui is known for her versatile use of props but there are only so many ways dancers could interact with their heavy suitcases.
The surrealistic set worked well with the theme, as did music by Steve Reich, edited by musician Kung Chi-sing.
LDTX's First Ritual is conceptually and choreographically one-dimensional. Jointly choreographed by Li Hanzhong and Ma Bo, the tribal-influenced piece set out to question traditional concepts of ritual but left even more questions unanswered: what was the purpose of the cardboard mannequins? What kind of ritual was being referenced by dancers?
The score by Tan Dun, Orchestral Theatre II:Re evoked both a sense of traditionalism and modernity yet seemed out of context in this less sophisticated performance.
The Guangdong Modern Dance Company, which opened the programme, came out best with a tightly choreographed Voice After by Liu Qi. It achieved what it set out to do: create a poetic mood through body movement. The dancers were rhythmic and responded well to the idea of creating poetry through dance.