The Dream of the Red Chamber Cloud Gate Dance Theatre Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall, May 11 Directed by Lin Hwai-min, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre's production of The Dream of the Red Chamber is lyrical and introspective. Inspired by an 18th-century Chinese novel by Cao Xueqin, it traces the downfall of a noble family: exploring the Buddhist theme of transcendence through a story well known to Hong Kong audiences - the love triangle between Bao Yu, Dai Yu and Bai Chai. The life of Bao Yu in the paradise of his family's garden was translated into four seasons representing life, love, suffering and death. Bao Yu, through experience and the teachings of his religious tutors, is depicted finally transcending his physical life and breaking the chains that tormented him. The 12 heroines in the novel, Bao Yu's sisters, cousins, aunts and lovers, whose different fates are the archetype of women's fates in ancient times, were represented collectively on stage. Their neck-tied capes, embroidered with different plant motifs, symbolised both women's captivity and the fragility of their beauty. The integration of modern and Chinese dance has been the artistic vision of Cloud Gate since it started. In this piece, Cloud Gate retained the swift and acrobatic movement found in Chinese dance but the predominant movement was balletic. Lin also used movement and make-up from Chinese opera. The spring and winter dance sequences were by far the best-developed. The spring sequence was poetic with dancers moving in their swirling capes among cascades of falling pink blossom. The winter sequence, with its potent images of death, was the most thematically focused. The other seasons had dancers coming on and off stage too frequently, rupturing the coherence. Wu-I-fang, as the youth Bao Yu, was most outstanding. His convulsion in the arms of Bao Yu the monk was an arresting image. The dance, although enjoyable, lacked the punch and passion of Cloud Gate's best.