Hong Kong Dance Company
Sheung Wan Civic Centre
Reviewed: Jul 31
This production harks back to the Hong Kong Dance Company's traditionalist roots. It also illustrates its mission to promote and propagate Chinese dance as an art form by showcasing its Children's Troupe (ages 6 to 12) and Youth Troupe (13 to 17).
Artistic director Leung Kwok-shing has created a nostalgic tribute to a fast-vanishing rural way of life through a series of scenes focused on seasonal and agricultural traditions. The folk-dance-influenced choreography is shared between Leung, Children's Troupe instructor Cai Fei and several of the company's dancers.
The young performers are impressively well taught and well rehearsed. Several show exceptional promise and all are remarkably assured. The choreography for their routines is relatively simple in terms of technical content, but effective, with complex groupings performed with energy and precision.
Two outstanding sequences deservedly took first prizes in the recent National Competition for Young Dancers in Beijing. Clapping and Dancing with Happiness is a lively, rhythmic piece by Su Shu employing wooden hand-clappers which builds to a strong climax. Chen Lei's Phoenix Dance is elegant and refined, with excellent use of hand movements.
The sections for the professional adult dancers had their moments but were not outstanding and in places looked under-rehearsed.
But this was the children's night to shine, and shine they did. The dance company is to be commended on making so much progress with the youth programme in such a short time - the Children's Troupe was founded in 2006, the Youth Troupe in 2008. Now they need to persuade more boys to start dancing - out of nearly 100 young dancers all but three were girls.