Hong Kong Ballet
Academy for Performing Arts
Reviewed: Nov 9
Hong Kong Ballet has gone out on a limb with its new triple bill, Momentum. Two works - one classical, one modern, and both notorious for their technical difficulty - plus a new piece choreographed by one of the company's dancers. Happily, the risk has paid off and the programme shows the troupe well on the way to artistic director John Meehan's goal of making them a world class company.
Paquita, one of Marius Petipa's finest works, demands rigorous purity of classical style and a daunting degree of technical virtuosity. The improvement in the standard of both was immediately apparent in all the dancers, along with a welcome sense of brio. This was a triumph for the soloists and corps de ballet, with a sparkling pas de trois and four superb solos. Hikota Taira, Kyoko Tomimura and Chantel Elizabeth Roulston were especially outstanding.
In contrast to the female-dominated Paquita, Stanton Welch's Clear is a piece for seven men and one woman. Set to Bach, the pace is relentless and all the dancers must perform steps usually expected only from principals. The entire cast rose to the challenge, dancing with brilliance and passion.
In the leading roles, Wei Wei displayed energy, speed and stamina and Faye Leung made the most of her glorious fluidity of movement. Yuh Egami was dazzling in the pas de trois.
Night Light is the third work created by Eve Chan and a leap forward for her in terms of scale and ambition. This dark, striking piece portrays the plight of a man who works too hard and at night is plagued by disturbing urban dreams. Chan's trademarks as a choreographer are beginning to emerge, foremost among them her complex and ingenious double work, here seen in a stunning duet for two men and an ensemble for the corps demonstrating her ability to create effective groupings.
Brett Simon and Chen Qing were exceptional in the central roles.
The guest appearance by Sofiane Sylve and Tamas Solymosi was somewhat disappointing. They are both fine artists, but their choice of a pas de deux was not well judged and gave too little chance to show off Sylve's renowned virtuosity.