This Side, That Side

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2009, 12:00am

This Side, That Side

E-Side Dance Company, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre

Reviewed: Apr 18, 4pm

No two live shows are ever the same. It is that quality of evanescence which can never be recaptured that makes live performance so thrilling and this element is heightened through improvisation. An important aspect of contemporary dance, improvisational performance is rarely seen in Hong Kong.

Jacky Yu has taken the risk of staging such a show under the banner of his E-Side Dance Company. This Side, That Side is a 'structured improvisation' involving a group of eight local dancers, plus guests from different disciplines. Each of the four performances is different - the dancers don't know in advance what music will be played or what lighting and video projections will be used. To involve the audience and change their perspective, spectators are led to different seats from time to time.

Improvisation can be chaotic and unproductive. But in this show having different artists act as the 'leader' in different sections kept things coherent and the results were surprisingly harmonious. Crucially, although each performance was fully improvised, the dancers worked together for some time beforehand to get to know each other's styles. The artists also came up with imaginative responses to the soundtrack and lighting effects.

Among the most inspired moments were a magical ending to John Lennon's Imagine where Daniel Yeung Chun-kwong and Ng Sze-wan, lying side by side, turned to face each other and formed a mirror image during the line, 'And the world will live as one'.