Strip Teaser a pleasure despite failure to fuse fashion and dance

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 3:11am

Strip Teaser 2012

City Contemporary Dance Company

Cultural Centre Studio Theatre

September 8

City Contemporary Dance Company's Strip Teaser 2012 offers four short works created by different choreographers, each working with - and supposedly drawing inspiration from - a local fashion designer. Two of the choreographers, Noel Pong and Bruce Wong, come from within the company and two were guests, Victor Fung and the husband-and-wife team of Justyne Li and Wong Tan-ki.

This was an enjoyable programme, although the promised fusion of fashion and dance never really materialised and did not seem to add a great deal.

Of the four pieces, by far the most substantive was Li and Wong's The 3.5th Dimension. Ambitious in scope, it tackled themes of religion and evolution and spirituality versus animal instinct with impressive assurance and would repay more than one viewing. Full of powerful images, the work was original, intense and thought-provoking.

There was wit as well, notably in a strongly rhythmic section where the dancers regress to humankind's primate origins. The intelligent, well-structured choreography revealed a new side to the company's dancers, who performed superbly, with Huen Tin-yeung making an outstanding debut. This was also the most successful piece in terms of design, with Chen Dao's elegant geometric costumes giving way to primal nakedness (well, primal flesh-coloured leotards, anyway, this being Hong Kong).

Fung's Fighter, set to songs by Radiohead, opened with an energetic but messy MTV-style group routine and closed with a similar if more coherent finale. Happily the middle section, in which first one, then three couples dance stunning duets showed that Fung has real talent. The principal couple, Chang Lan Yun and Lam Po, were riveting in their expressiveness and lyricism.

The home team's offerings were fun, if slight. Wong's pleasingly succinct Dress Me Down was an entertaining look at the idea of women as dolls (who eventually turn the tables on their puppet master, the ever-droll Dominic Wong). Pong's Inside Out had plenty of energy and the choreographer's trademark musicality, but looked more like a draft than a finished work.