Review: E-Side Dance Company's Allegro offers intriguing variety

Contrasting works from four choreographers make up the snow, with the high point Lam Po's Breathe Me

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 6:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 6:02am

Jacky Yu Yan-wah's E-Side Dance Company has a praiseworthy record of giving local and international choreographers a platform to stage new work. The latest such production, Allegro, offers pieces from four established artists with an intriguing variety of styles.

The high point was Lam Po's beautifully structured Breathe Me, danced by Lam with Li Yongjing, which creates powerful images of loneliness, desire and separation. It's abstract, yet succeeds in telling a compelling story with admirable simplicity.

Ephemera is an extract from a longer work by Vietnamese choreographer Nguyen Ngoc Anh - the title refers to the zoological name for that remarkable insect, the mayfly. It opens with a striking image of Nguyen, face painted white and legs shrouded in red cloth, standing on a chair and opening his mouth impossibly wide as he seemingly attempts to consume a light bulb. This is followed by an athletic duet with Kelvin Mak - the Bejart-style choreography is well-crafted and the dancing excellent.

Dick Wong Tai-fai's solo for Abby Chan Man-yee, Fissure, explores the conflict between the rational and emotional sides of the brain. Chan dances the same sequence of steps over and over while her "other" self, projected on a screen, gives her instructions. The introduction of music transforms the steps as they are accompanied by first one, then another sequence from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. A smart piece performed with commitment by Chan.

Christine Gouzelis, artist-in-residence at the Academy for Performing Arts (APA), returns to her Greek roots with ToGetHer, based on the tale of Theseus and Ariadne.

The piece opens strongly with Theseus slaying the Minotaur - Gouzelis invests her protagonist with strikingly imaginative movement, like an animal prowling, as he hunts down his prey.

Things become less interesting when Ariadne arrives - the relationship between the two isn't clear (if you're going to tell a story, tell it). The piece is well performed by two APA students, Chen Mai and the stunning Joshua Jasper Narvaez, a talent to watch.

Allegro, E-Side Dance Company, Ngau Chi Wan Civic Centre Theatre. Reviewed: July 11