City Contemporary Dance Company
Kwai Tsing Theatre
Reviewed: Dec 6
Helen Lai Hoi-ling's new work for the City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) is inspired by the films of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, who died in 1996 aged 54. The music is by Kieslowksi's collaborator Zbigniew Preisner and includes the requiem he composed in the director's memory.
Lai has avoided direct portrayal of the films, focusing instead on their underlying themes of isolation, alienation and the need to connect with other human beings. In a series of brief tableaux, shafts of light pierce a dark landscape where people wander alone or occasionally meet in moments of tenderness or brutality. Viewed as if from a passing train, scenes are suddenly illuminated then lost in the night, loosely linked by a figure (perhaps representing Kieslowski or Lai) who observes but does not intervene.
The choreography is expressive and responds with fitting intensity to Preisner's sombre, poignant music. The production's visual impact is striking, showing CCDC's characteristic strength in design. However, the piece lacks contrast. In its present form a shorter version might work better - at one hour and 20 minutes more structure and development are necessary.
This ensemble piece was beautifully performed by the whole company and it was good to see the younger dancers making a strong impression.
The duets were powerful, notably those for Yang Yizi (below left) and Xing Liang (below right), Makie Okabe and Lai Tak-wai. The solos for Dominic Wong and Qiao Yang were also outstanding, as was Chan Yi Jing's luminous portrayal of the linking figure.
Jo Phoa's lighting was visually stunning and did a superb job of creating atmosphere.