Symphony of Movements

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 November, 2009, 12:00am

Symphony of Movements
Hong Kong Ballet HK
Cultural Centre Grand Theatre
Reviewed: Nov 20

This triple bill looked like world-class modern work, but the ballet company failed to reach the heights of which they were capable in the classical repertoire.

A rerun of Stephen Baynes' The Way Alone, created for the company last year to a Tchaikovsky score, confirmed its luminous beauty. Baynes' choreography challenged the dancers technically, notably in the exacting doublework, and was performed with grace and feeling. The musicality the piece demanded was exemplified by Kyoko Tomimura, William Lin and Carlo Pacis in the second movement trio and Liu Yu-yao and Nobuo Fujino in the difficult fifth movement duets, illuminated by Liu's lyricism and Fujino's partnering skills.

It is easy to see why Nils Christe's version of Symphony in Three Movements is in the repertoire of many top companies. The dramatic piece is a superb interpretation of Stravinsky's angst-ridden wartime composition and the choreography is distinguished by striking stage patterns and an original use of bodies to create geometric shapes, demanding extreme speed and precision in the group work and virtuosity in the solos and duets. The dancers rose to the challenge of both the technical difficulties and the trickiness of dancing to Stravinsky's rhythms. Among the stand-outs were Jin Yao and Fujino in the opening duet, and Wei Wei and Ricky Hu.

The company fared less well with The Kingdom of the Shades from Petipa's La Bayadere. Only the delightful variations by Camilla Vergotis and Liu scored full marks. In the lead, Margarita Demjanoka showed she has a strong technique (her jumps and extensions were impressive, although she had trouble with some of her turns), but her performance was marred by a lack of expressiveness and a classical style in her arms and back.

The corps de ballet achieved commendable precision and balances in the entry of the Shades but were too stiff - their steps needed to flow more smoothly.