Young dancers step it up at contest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2001, 12:00am

Groovers trying to decide between jazz dancing, crazy hip-hop or a Broadway performance enjoyed all three varieties at a competition organised by local universities.

Nearly 200 dancing kings and queens from eight Hong Kong tertiary institutions flocked to the Inter-Varsity Dance Competition at Hong Kong Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre. The event was organised by UniDancity, a group of university graduates and dance lovers, who are not so upbeat about the future.

This year's contest might be the last, they said. Lack of funds, administrative headaches and misunderstandings with the universities had put the event's future in doubt, they added.

However, when the competition began, all the worries were set aside (albeit only for a few hours) and everybody had a rollicking time. The solemn theatre looked more like the Hung Hom Stadium, overwhelmed by deafening screams and applause from around 2,000 excited supporters.

Each of the 15 dance routines was unique in style and theme. The show combined trendy hip-hop with classical ballet. The competitors weaved their magic spell with stories about love, fate, adventure and sportsmanship - even war and terrorist suspect Osama bin Laden were not spared.

'The themes are more than just gimmicks; they show us how dance relates to our everyday life,' said DanceArt associate artistic director Andy Wong, who was one of the five adjudicators.

The judges were impressed by the young dancers' raw energy, power, concentration, technique and pure zest. It was surprising that most competitors who displayed high standards had less than two years' experience in their respective category. This year's major winners were the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's dance association, whose two routines - Fate and Tomb Raider - carried off the first and second prizes, respectively. Fate also picked up the award for best choreography.

'This is unbelievable. We never imagined winning both dances,' enthused the champions' manager, Katie Cheung Wan-chi, 20. Ms Cheung said she was glad that their daily 12-hour practice sessions, seven days a week, had paid off.

Sally Yeung is a Young Post student reporter