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Arts preview: The Buying Game

Ai Lau

 

The Buying Game
City Contemporary Dance Company

 

For choreographer Noel Pong Chi-kwan, shopping is like a game. Though neither a shopaholic or a big spender, the City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) performer admits she shops every week, as she enjoys the process of buying.

"It's a puzzle," says Pong, winner of the outstanding choreography prize at last year's Hong Kong Dance Awards. "Do you buy the product straight away or wait for a discount?"

This is one of the questions she'll pose in her upcoming dance piece, The Buying Game, which is all about shopping. Pong says the piece, which is more conceptual than her previous work, will lead audiences through a labyrinth of consumer products, exploring the emotional conflicts consumer culture evokes in us all.

"I have no intention to talk about consumerism or shopaholism. I want the audience to feel the invisible emotional connection between them and what they buy," says Pong, who has developed a connection with a luxury handbag she bought last October but has never used.

"I bought the handbag the day after my grandmother passed away. I don't know why, but at the time I believed it would make me feel happy."

During a recent rehearsal, the grief associated with that particular purchase resurfaced: "I was stunned [by my emotions] when I watched two dancers rehearse the other day. I was unconsciously pouring my feelings into the piece ... about the bond between me and my grandmother who raised me. That piece talks about love and separation."

Pong joined the CCDC in 1997 after graduating from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with first class honours in modern dance. She caught critics' attention with her Rainy Days and Mondays (2006). Pong has created many works, including the award-winning Off Screen (2011).

48hours@scmp.com

 

HK Cultural Centre Studio Theatre, April 26 and 27, 8pm. HK$220 and HK$160. Tel: 2329 7803

 

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