Asunder - Virtual or Real

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 January, 2009, 12:00am

DanceArt Hong Kong

Studio Theatre, HK Cultural Centre

Tomorrow and Sat, 8pm; Jan 11, 3pm

Zhang Xiao-xiong has been continually fascinated by Hong Kong since he first visited more than three decades ago. The Taipei-based choreographer believes that behind every window in this city there lies a special story.

'Hong Kong is very unique in that it is home to people in transit and it still gives the impression that it is a fast-paced city. But amid the hustle and bustle in this limited space are many untold stories that artists can draw inspiration from,' says Zhang.

His latest work Asunder - Virtual or Real is an exploration into some of these stories. A collaboration with DanceArt Hong Kong, the joint production will feature both local and Taiwanese dancers including Francis Leung, Andy Wong, Dever Chan, Victor Fung, Yvette Huang (above, with Wong), Bob Lai, Chu Huang-yi and Lin Yu-ju.

Virtual or Real is the third of his Asunder series, exploring the common theme of memory.

The first instalment is about how we react to memories over time, while the second part poses a Faustian dilemma: would you trade your soul to regain a past love or glory?

The previous shows questioned the accuracy of our memory, which is also a prevailing theme of the current production.

The Cambodian-born and mainland-raised choreographer says Hong Kong is a place where people can erase their past and start anew.

But which parts of their past would they want to keep?

'How reliable is our memory? We probably remember the sweetest and most painful moments in our lives but what happens to events that fall somewhere in between? Are they stored in our heart?' asks Zhang.

The Hong Kong stories will, therefore, be made up of fragments. And this effect will be enhanced visually by a video made up of thousands of snapshots taken by Zhang.

'There will be gaps in between the narratives ... parts that are left out on purpose,' he says. He adds the video will create a 'cinematic feel' to the dance performance.

'But the audience should be able to fill in the blanks with their own experience and memories of their lives.'

He explains the stage set will open up like a computer laptop: 'The idea is that people used to jot down notes in a notebook ... but these days they record everything onto a computer.'

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