Jockey Club to trot out the new and old at Lunar New Year parade

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 January, 2014, 5:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 20 January, 2014, 5:08am

A giant spinning lantern and dancers wearing racing silks will help usher in the Year of the Horse, thanks to the Jockey Club.

Its float at the Lunar New Year parade this year will showcase an LED spinning lantern featuring an animated version of mainland painter Xu Beihong's horse painting Shuang Jun.

And the William Tell Overture, known as the "racing pony", will be performed on an erhu.

"The erhu is traditionally associated with melancholic tunes, but this time, I am trying to play it joyously," John Szeto Kin, a master of the instrument, said.

"I try to mimic the sounds of horses' hooves and neighs by trying different techniques."

Szeto, 25, is the youngest member of the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra.

He composed and produced the original arrangement, which he said also contained improvisational jazz and pop elements.

The parade will also feature 22 dancers from the Academy for Performing Arts and the Federation of Youth Groups.

Crystal Leung Po-yan, 19, is the youngest dancer and it will be her biggest performance so far.

She had to overcome a thyroid gland disorder that hampered her studies and dancing in recent years.

But she bounced back to win a high school street-dancing competition last year.

"I was sick a lot and often bedridden and couldn't do anything," Leung said. "But dancing helped me regain confidence.

"I am really looking forward to the New Year performance, despite being a tad nervous."

The dancers will don jockey costumes designed by local designer Dorian Ho, who has included eastern elements in his design.

"The women's costume features the same cut as a qipao to highlight the beauty of the Asian woman," he said.

"I have also used the traditional Chinese collar and buttons to remain consistent to the Chinese theme."

The parade will be held between 8pm and 9.45pm on January 31, which is the first day of the Lunar New Year.

The procession will begin at the Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui and move along Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road.