The buzz

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 September, 2010, 12:00am

Who says Asians can't dance?

It's a ridiculous stereotype that is also often applied to Caucasians (and basically anyone who isn't of Brazilian or African descent), but a sense of rhythm is obviously not just the sole preserve of scantily clad Sao Paolo samba girls and black dudes in MTV videos.

Hongkongers have enjoyed a long love affair with dance that has noticeably blossomed in recent years. Ballroom dancing, including Latin dances such as the tango and salsa, has become a popular pastime for many during the past decade. It didn't enjoy such a good reputation when it first arrived from Shanghai in the 1950s owing to its associations with bar girls and smoky back rooms, but was eventually embraced by society - with the help of support from politicians and powerful businessmen.

Less formal forms of dancing came into vogue during the '60s at the popular 'tea dances' where youngsters would gather at dance halls on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for performances by the top pop groups of the time such as D'Topnotes, Danny Diaz & The Checkmates, and The Playboys. And then of course during the '90s Hong Kong played host to its share of massive dance parties, which still continue to this day.

Aficionados have a lot of events to choose from over the coming days and weeks, regardless of whether they're into traditional or modern styles of movement.

Followers of experimental dance are particularly spoiled for choice. On Saturday and Sunday nights, the Neo Dance HK group will present Galatea & Passenger as part of the LCSD's New Force in Motion Series.

It's made up of two pieces choreographed by Justyne Li Sze-yeung (about the transformation of a stone sculpture shaped like a female figure) and Wong Tan-ki (a dreamy piece about finding excitement in everyday life), and being staged at the Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre.

The issue of 'compensated dating' has been a hot one in Hong Kong and throughout Asia recently, and will be examined at a dance performance at the Fringe Club tomorrow and Saturday night. Entitled Toy, the show - choreographed by Andy Wong - will look at how flesh has become a form of currency and ask whether the body is just another commodity that can be exchanged.

On an even darker note, Dark Root of the Scream, presented by the Hong Kong Dance Company at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre from tomorrow to Sunday, will focus on the theme of 'mournful desolation' using flamenco folk melodies that capture the harsh and rootless existence of the Gypsies.

Meanwhile, during a show entitled New Moon at the Cultural Centre from tomorrow to Sunday, the Hong Kong Ballet will stage the world premiere of Luminous, choreographed by Canadian Peter Quanz, as well as other duets by the likes of August Bournonville and Kostyantyn Keshyshev.

Public holidays in Hong Kong usually coincide with massive dance parties, and those who'd rather join thousands of other sweaty dancers with their hands in the air instead of sitting in an audience should head to AsiaWorld-Arena next Thursday night when acclaimed British trance trio Above & Beyond will headline this year's huge National Day party. And don't forget Fatboy Slim at the same venue on October 8.

Film fans aren't being ignored either, with Step Up and Street Dance continuing to play at 3-D screens across town. So regardless of what kind of dance you're into, get out there and get your groove on.