Hong Kong Spring

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong Spring

Hong Kong Dance Company

Sheung Wan Municipal Services Building

Reviewed: Aug 23, 3pm

In recent years Hong Kong Dance Company has seen troubled times artistically, but its 8/F Platform workshop programmes have been consistently bright, giving the dancers room to experiment.

The latest offering, Hong Kong Spring, is perhaps the strongest yet, with a fruitful collaboration featuring the talented and original local choreographer Daniel Yeung. A small group of dancers (seven, in this case) choreograph as well as perform, so the work is a joint effort.

Addressing issues such as their feelings about Hong Kong and the nature of Chinese dance, Hong Kong Spring is as much theatre as dance, with extensive use of dialogue which the dancers handle with ease.

Yeung's influence shows in the humour of the performance - a welcome departure for the company, whose productions tend to take themselves too seriously. In one tongue-in-cheek sequence, a text of its history is recited by different dancers in turn, acting out the words with a stream of visual puns. In Horses Keep On Racing, two dancers (Yang Yuntao and Mi Tao), carrying the horse whips used in Chinese opera to signify that characters are riding, compete in an spectacular series of operatic-based movements with a comic twist.

People Keep On Dancing is a hilarious portrayal of the mishaps and missteps in choreographing, as Yang and Xie Yin struggle to create a duet, complete with pratfalls, near-strangulation and Xie's unavailing attempts to take her turn at lifting the tall, powerfully built Yang. Later, the sombre Lover's Tears closes with Yang and Xie dancing together. In a magical moment, the audience watches the duet, whose birth pangs it had witnessed shortly before, transformed into a thing of beauty, with Xie tenderly carrying her partner on her back at the end.

This thought-provoking, entertaining show is a tribute to the talent and enthusiasm all who took part in staging it.