CHINESE dance shed its traditional faces when three Chinese female dancers from different places came together for an unusual performance in the Shouson Theatre at the Hongkong Arts Centre. Three Dimensions was a collection of solo works by Sheng Puiqi from Beijing, Ku Ming-shen from Taipei and Hongkong's Mui Cheuk-yin. Meeting by chance in Hongkong two years ago, the three were struck by their different styles despite the same Chinese heritage they shared. It would be a rather interesting experience, the dancers thought, if they could have a joint presentation of individual works. Of the three, China-born Sheng has a stronger background in classical Chinese dance which emphasises form and technique. However, the Beijing Dance Academy graduate increasingly finds her expression of inner emotions dominating traditional forms. In her two works, The River of Tears and The Sword , Sheng still clings to what she is familiar with: Chinese opera costumes with long flying sleeves, a sword, and music on ancient Chinese instruments. But she is breaking ground by giving new interpretations to familiar objects. ''Mainland audiences view a woman dancing in long sleeves as expressing her gentle and submissive character. However, I'm conveying elegance and grace instead,'' Sheng said. On the other hand, cosmopolitan influence has given Ku and Mui a more experimental outlook. Taipei and US-trained Ku relies on few props and employs plain costume and Western music in her works. She describes her piece, I Was A Choreographer, as ''a totally spontaneous work''. ''During the creative process, my mind was devising a monologue, my lips wording it while my ears were attuned to the music,'' Ku said. ''My brain had no control over my body. New movements come out every time I rehearse the dance!'' Mui, Hongkong's best known solo dance performer, shared this sense of improvisation while composing Forest Whisper, a work that explores the delicate relationship between the primitive forest and our concrete one, the city. ''It is a piece of collage impressions,'' she said. ''For instance, it catches the exaggerated Thai dance gestures, African drum beats and the lively eye movements of Indian dancers.'' Although the three have had classical Chinese dance training, what dictates their dance now is not so much traditional movements or what the Chinese audience expects of them. ''It is more about performance. I'm looking for a wider vocabulary and more expression in my dance,'' Ku told Young Post. Said Mui: ''I adopt Chinese elements only when they best express my feelings. In Awakening In A Dream, I wear a cheongsam and use a fan because they help me to express finer shades of feeling. But I don't have a sense of mission to dance the Chinese style.''