Dance review: Shao Nian Yau is a magical exploration

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2015, 6:06am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 February, 2015, 6:06am

Hong Kong Dance Company

Kwai Tsing Theatre

Reviewed: February 6

The Hong Kong Dance Company continues its admirable policy of diverse approaches to Chinese dance with Shao Nian Yau ("The wanderings of youth") curated by Yuri Ng Yue-lit.

Ng is one of the most talented, eclectic and unpredictable artists in Hong Kong dance, and a trip to Yuriland is always a magical mystery tour. Sometimes the mystery takes over, but, in this instance, much was truly magical. The tour was a fascinating exploration of how the art of dance is passed from older generations to young dancers and how it evolves.

At almost two hours, it did, however, need either some editing or an interval; there is too much to absorb.

The production took classic pieces of Chinese dance dating from the 1950s to the present day, deconstructed them and bound them into a stable flow.

The gracious Hung Tak-man, one of the company's first generation of dancers, revisited the roots of Chinese dance as she taught a student and a young member of the company the purity of tradition. Mui Cheuk-yin's haunting solo, Eulogy, was reimagined for 12-year-old Lam Tsz-yu. Lai Man-wai and Lai Dee fused elements of Hmong ethnic dance and hip hop in a rousing number.

In a particular high point, Yu Pik-yim's award-winning Once on a Secret Night was performed again by the dancers for whom it was created in 2006, when they were students at the HK Academy for Performing Arts.

Ng linked various works in characteristically quirky fashion, including a delightful scene where Mi Tao  performed a dashing solo and was besieged by screaming schoolgirls asking for his autograph.

In the middle of all this came a new work by Chen Jun, My Chess Game - male and female dancers represented the two sets of pieces with Chen as the chess player. Chen's well-structured choreography had a sense of theatre. But the piece would work better on its own, as its style and content did not fit with the overall concept.

Natasha Rogai