Five dancers in a chilly rehearsal room repeat the same movement for the 15th time. No one is looking fed-up, the concentration is obvious, but you know they are all conscious of the man standing watching them. When a halt is called, they all strike poses of embarrassment, cockiness or rapt attention. One keeps going dizzily over the steps as if she cannot stop herself. But choreographer Sunny Pang does not seem to be doing much apart from thinking. Ironically in a dancer, he is one of those rare still people. In a backstage room at the Cultural Centre, he is considering the next steps in his new production, The Fantastical Theatrical Mr S, his chin pinched between finger and thumb, his body having slight goes at this movement and that. There is not only an introspection about him but a precision that makes his latest show an ideal choice. Stravinsky is the composer with the complex counts and clearly the rhythmical inventiveness and lack of convention attracted Pang. The production is testament to his tenacity. Pang, who joined the City Contemporary Dance Company in 1983 and co-founded the inter-disciplinary group Many-Levels In Performance, first tried to sell the idea of a Stravinsky night 10 years ago, but presenters thought the idea too risky. Times have changed. Mr S was recently performed in Taiwan, and is being staged in Hong Kong from August 21. 'I've always found it very strange that whenever people think of Stravinsky, they think of Petrouchka, The Rite of Spring, or The Fire Bird,' said Pang, the artistic director of Dance Forum Taipei, 'when, in fact, he's composed much more interesting music for dance and for theatre, especially after he moved to America when he absorbed influences from popular music like jazz and ragtime.' For the SAR performances, Pang will present three pieces. His opener, Dance Concertantes written in 1942, was commissioned for an orchestra with a ballet suite in mind. Pang's choreography for eight dancers is a visual answer to the composer's sense of humour that typically has such instruments as clarinets and oboes slurring to create slippery sounds, and starts with ballet rhythms then shifts into more vernacular, jazzy rhythms. 'I had to re-analyse the score into rhythmic structures before I could teach it because the counts are so complicated,' said Pang, who first presented the piece in 1995. 'Choreographers are often very inexact in the way they treat music, which is part of modern dance tradition - people trying to exert an independent existence for dance.' Pang has obviously had a bit of a problem with the trend that allowed dance to lose touch with music. 'You got to the point where you'd choreograph an entire programme without the dancers hearing the music before the first night. This programme is retro: I'm going back to music and dance being related, but without limiting myself.' His second piece, The Soldier's Tale (1918), takes him from a pure dance piece about the relationship of movement and music to a piece of dramatic theatre, a composition incorporating music, dancing and acting. Written during World War I, it tells the story of one man's struggle with innocence and corruption. Joseph - the soldier, played by Tsai Li-jue - exchanges his innocence and humanity for the power and fortune offered to him by the Devil (Tsai Bi-jue), repents, and revives a comatose princess (Norman Fung), whom he marries. They are happy until the princess stirs up his past. In Orpheus (1948), the poet is stricken with grief when his wife Eurydices (Lu Hsiu-yun) dies, but is offered a chance to go to the Underworld to find her spirit. Orpheus (Lai Cheng-chung) finds his wife whom he can have back on the condition he does not look back at her until they reach the Earth. Pang sees a parallel between The Soldier's Tale and Orpheus. 'Both characters have to make a fateful choice,' he said. 'Orpheus has to choose whether to look back. The soldier has to choose between staying in Utopia and being safe, or leaving it to look for his family. To me, the dilemma conveys that everyone has to make choices, to decide whether there is free will or pre-destiny.' Pang too has made a choice - deciding that now is the right time to leave Taiwan, which he will do when The Fantastical Theatrical Mr S finishes. Mysticism has taken over the dance scene in Taiwan and modern dance has become stagnant as a result, he said, although he stresses Dance Forum Taipei is different, has metropolitan relevance and has certainly developed him. But the general dance environment there no longer interests Pang. The man who says he first got involved in dance 'accidentally' - he passed a ballet studio every day on his way to school and wandered in one day out of curiosity - wants a change but will teach for a while at the National Institute of the Arts in Taipei. 'I'm into many different things. I think to be creative, to be an informed artist now, you should not isolate yourself from other disciplines.' Those thoughts prompted him to discover Peking Opera, which he has been studying since 1991. 'It is the most disciplined and refined Chinese theatrical form. It has many basic elements that are very fascinating - its minimalism, its very concise quality, its very abstract use of time and space,' he said. Having always worked in dance, Pang loves using his voice and specialises in qing yi, playing a virtuous and elegant female character. Although he has assimilated it into his dance, he will not be leaving dance behind. But he is adamant he needs to change pace. 'I've been in dance for 20 years and I'd like to go back to a position where my creative activities are not controlled by a job situation. My ideal pace of presenting would be once a year, with more time to prepare and more chance to rest afterwards. 'I've got a lot to say in dance still but now I can afford not to choreograph so often.' The Fantastical Theatrical Mr S, August 21-23, 8pm. City Hall Theatre. $80, $120.