Testimony City Contemporary Dance Company Kwai Tsing Theatre Reviewed: December 15 Dmitri Shostakovich's life exemplifies how artists in the former Soviet Union were forced to tread a fine line between artistic integrity and survival. Testimony, choreographed by Helen Lai Hoi-ling, is a fitting tribute on the centenary of his birth. The first half of the production deals with Shostakovich's life, opening with his days as a silent film accompanist - with a surprise for the audience when the pianist (Chan Yi-jing) starts to dance. The music passes to Nancy Loo, Leung Kin-fung and Monica Siu, with a superb rendering of the Piano Trio No 2, as Lee Chun-chow takes the stage in the role of Shostakovich. The combination of dance, theatre and video is used to great effect, with references to Shakespeare's Hamlet and King Lear, for which Shostakovich composed music. The choreography is filled with images of struggling to break free, and the final movement, featuring the whole company in an ingenious use of chairs, is outstanding. The second act, set to Chamber Symphony Opus 110a, is all dance. Wearing dark coats over long white dresses, a group of women stretch out their hands in longing for their men at war. The men return but do not remain. Darkness falls and Shostakovich walks away alone, cradling a radio in his arms as his music fades. Movement for the men is modern, abrupt, sometimes brutal; Lai draws on the purity and grace of classical ballet for the women's piece who scatter white lilies like Giselle, the symbol of love and sacrifice. Terry Chan's videos and Leo Cheung and David Sheekman's designs are excellent. The dancing is powerful while Lee's acting is a tour de force. A triumph.