Asia Pacific Dance Platform 2011

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 March, 2011, 12:00am

Asia Pacific Dance Platform 2011
Black Box Theatre, Kwai Tsing Theatre
Reviewed: Feb 26

Now in its third season, the Hong Kong Arts Festival's Asia Pacific Dance Platform brings together contemporary dance artists from around the region for a series of workshops and performances.

Showcasing the region's diversity of dance talent and giving artists from different countries the opportunity to share the experience is a laudable idea. Unfortunately, excellent intentions don't guarantee quality performances and this year's programme, with Hong Kong's Justyne Li and Daniel K from Singapore, was disappointing.

My Shadow and Me by Li set out to portray the dark and light aspects of a personality. This is a challenging theme for a solo piece, and while Li gets full marks for ambition, a duet might have better served the purpose.

As it was, she chose to spell out the dual aspect idea through a costume that was white at the front and black at the back (with a black mask on the back of her head). This was too simplistic and no substitute for the more imaginative choreography required to realise the concept. There were some striking moments but also too much repetition.

While Li has done far better work as a choreographer, the piece was partially redeemed by her dancing. She is a mesmerising performer to watch, with exceptional speed and control matched by an intense, charismatic stage presence.

Q & A from Daniel K can scarcely be described as a dance piece since the only dance it contains is the same five-minute routine performed three times. The rest of this oddball offering consists of the choreographer/performer commenting a Powerpoint-type presentation of the results of a questionnaire on what audiences want to see from modern dance.

There's nothing wrong with injecting some comedy into the often over-serious business of contemporary dance or getting the audience to interact with the performer. There've been great examples of this from local artists such as Dick Wong or Abby Chan, among others. However, it needs to be done better than this to be worthwhile.

Q & A never rose above the mildly entertaining and the little dance there was did not stand out in either choreography or execution.