Natasha Rogai
Natasha Rogai

Ballet Superstars of the Future, a Hong Kong show by the American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, showcases the talent of 12 young international dancers in an impressive and dynamic ensemble.

Created for the Hong Kong Ballet by a top international team, Coco Chanel: the Life of a Fashion Icon features ravishing costumes and elegant sets, but makes little emotional impact.

Natalia Osipova’s dazzling dancing and demonstrations of astounding flexibility lit up her Hong Kong Arts Festival performances, while the fearless male guest dancers also impressed.

Soprano shows the exceptionally rich tone of her voice but also delicacy and astounding control, in a programme of Russian and other songs, ably accompanied by her husband and pianist Rachel Cheung.


Coco Chanel: the Life of a Fashion Icon, which the Hong Kong Ballet will premiere this month, explores the life of one of the most controversial figures in fashion in the 20th century.

Directed by Tang Shu-wing, Opera Hong Kong’s La Bohème – transposed from 19th-century Paris to contemporary Hong Kong – was filled with outstandingly talented young singers.

Brown, by Hong Kong’s City Contemporary Dance Company and Korean choreographer Kim Jaeduk, expresses a colour through extraordinary movement, costumes and lighting. A revelation.

Mowgli is a girl and fights the effects of climate change in Jungle Book Reimagined, a theatrical, multimedia dance work that marks the Akram Khan Company’s return to Hong Kong.

Ricky Hu’s hauntingly beautiful dance piece ‘The Last Song’ was in sharp contrast to ballet director Septime Webre’s ill-judged, overblown take on Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’.

Venera Gimadieva as Violetta is mesmerising in Opera Hong Kong’s new production of Verdi’s La Traviata that is magnificently sung and superbly acted. Some of the staging choices work well, others less well.

Superb dancing, haunting music, imaginative costumes, inventive choreography and inspired set design combine in Nezha: Untold Solitude, Hong Kong Dance Company’s take on the dragon slayer of Chinese legend.

A new production by renowned choreographer Helen Lai brings the story of Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires to life in Hong Kong, but felt rather sanitised compared with the original.

Hong Kong setting for Act One of the ballet and tongue-in-cheek cultural references will endear this production to city audiences for years to come.

Hong Kong Ballet’s profile has never been higher and, despite the pandemic setting back its international ambitions, the company is set to wow the city with its upcoming production of The Nutcracker.

Ye Feifei and Amber Lewis were outstanding, and 11-year old Matsuharu Wesley Lai looks like a future star, but they deserved better than Cynthia Harvey’s 2010 production.

Neon signs, bamboo scaffolding, kung fu, Tybalt a triad boss – Hong Kong Ballet’s Romeo + Juliet looks stunning. Some of the drama is lost, however, and the dancing was patchy.

After two postponements it was third time lucky for Hong Kong Ballet, whose performance of Balanchine’s Jewels showed the troupe’s technique and energy.

Hong Kong Ballet replaced its cancelled live season with an online festival of filmed performances. While many pieces are danced strongly, they often suffer from overly fancy camerawork.

The Hong Kong Ballet and the City Contemporary Dance Company both pulled out all the stops to celebrate their 40th anniversaries, but anti-government protests saw ticket sales slump and even a show of Swan Lake halted.

Akram Khan’s farewell full-length solo performance ‘Xenos’ in Hong Kong showed off his mastery of theatre, his trademark brilliant use of design and integration of live music, and hisown extraordinary dancing.

In the Norwegian National Ballet’s starkly powerful retelling of Ibsen’s 1881 play for Hong Kong’s World Cultures Festival, production values offset complicated plot issues thanks to clever touches of theatre.

A work of startling relevance in the MeToo era, Rigoletto requires the right balance between the forces of light and darkness, one not quite achieved here despite the production’s excellence, vivid acting and natural singing.

In one of his first films, Frenchman Philippe Joly was only allowed one take, and got danger money – ‘Well, its explosives,’ they said; since then he’s died opposite Andy Lau, Chow Yun-fat and Jackie Chan. Now he wants meatier roles.

Brilliantly choreographed, company’s new take on Stravinsky ballet about a sacrificial maiden makes it a parable of humankind’s destruction of nature; it was the pick of a thrilling triple bill of contrasting works danced with fierce commitment.

Winterreise and The Rite of Spring show the range of Lai’s talent, from the intimate to the flamboyant. Her mastery of the stage is on display throughout, with outstanding performances from Chou Shu-yi and Irene Lo.

Hamburg Ballet veteran was on stage to narrate highlights of his journey through dance, performed as part of the 2019 Hong Kong Arts Festival; excerpts showed his ability to create both narrative and abstract ballet.

Lin, 72, has led Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre for nearly 50 years, and put Asian dance on the international map, but he steps down later this year. His iconic works are being performed at this year’s Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Artistic director Septime Webre pulls out all the stops with stunning visuals, gorgeous music and an abundance of good dancing. Where it falls short as an adaptation of a great novel, it makes up for in sheer entertainment value.