Dark piece lifted by moments of warmth
City Contemporary Dance Company
Cultural Centre Studio Theatre
Dominic Wong is one of Hong Kong's more unpredictable choreographers. Each work he creates seems to explore a new style, and his latest, Blind Chance, is no exception.
Exploring the theme of blind fate, it is an essentially dark piece imbued by an atmosphere of menace and at times despair, lifted by moments of warmer human contact.
Yuen Hon-wai's set is a box within which the dancers are trapped. Some beat on the walls, trying to escape their fate, others slump quietly against them. Wong and his dancers respond with innate musicality to a strongly rhythmic but not overly aggressive score by Shum Lok-man, interspersed with passages of softer, semi-classical music by Max Richter.
Frenzied, even violent movement is punctuated by powerful moments of stillness. Wong makes exceptional use of space, notably by contrasting individuals with groups.
The choreography shows much inventiveness, particularly in the double work, which includes some stunning effects. In one, Chang Lan Yun walks up a staircase of the backs of dancers and stands for a long time on Yang Hao's shoulders staring out.
In perhaps the show's most beautiful moment, Jennifer Mok is balanced in mid-air on Lai Tak-wai's feet, her own feet braced against the wall, and spreads out her arms in the image of a bird in flight. Another powerful sequence has Noel Pong backed against a wall by a menacing group and raised aloft as if crucified, an image of fear which turns to softness as Lam Po lifts her down.
Blind Chance has the makings of an outstanding piece. However, the company policy of one full-length work per programme means it has been stretched, resulting in repetitiveness and a loss of focus. It is also marred by a bizarre ending.
As always CCDC's dancers give a tremendous ensemble performance, with Mok, Pong, Chang and Lai among the stand-outs.