Ng's on a winner with mahjong set

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 June, 1993, 12:00am

City Contemporary Dance Company A Game Of . . . and Fragile Arts Centre, Shouson Theatre. June 3-6.

TEN years with major Canadian ballet companies have given tremendous polish to Yuri Ng's dancing. They have also seen him develop and refine his greater gift, and with his latest creation A Game Of . . . it is clear he is shaping up to be a world-class choreographer.

Mahjong is its inspiration, but knowledge of the game is not essential. Finding matching partners is the object - and Ng is a master strategist.

As his human tiles attract and repel, building walls and shattering them, Ng adds darker psychological layers. He also has enormous fun at the expense of classical ballet and ballroom dancing - it takes more than two to tango in this piece - and doesn't balk at illuminating the more forbidden sexual games people play.

Ng the designer is equally adept. His set is simplicity itself, his vivid costumes instantly recognisable to mahjong players and a delight to all. Little wonder that the CCDC's dancers revel in this work, displaying all the technique and personality thathave made them such favourites.

They have a tougher time in Hu Jia Lu's lengthy work Fragile. More theatre than dance, this nine-part curiosity is supposedly laden with social and political messages, but few get across.

It's a pity, because while Fragile is mostly heavy-going, it does have its moments and Hu does some interesting, if obscure things with props ranging from clocks to chairs on wheels.

A game of pass-the-egg performed with breathtaking skill by Yvette Huang and Francis Leung is the highlight. Also formidable are the skills of musician Kung Chi Shing and lighting designer Tommy Wong who illuminates Fragile in a way one wishes the choreographer was able to match.