Contemporary dance, for us, is often a love-hate relationship. There are times where movements are so abstract, they frustrate with their opaque qualities, yet there are times dances are performed with such determination that we simply remain mesmerized by the pure emotions they evoke in us. Belonging to the latter category is Neo Dance HK’s latest triple bill work, Neo Dance HK X Singapore, which played at the China Cultural Centre last weekend. Performed and choreographed by Neo Dance HK founders Justyne Li and Wong Tan-ki, Neo Dance HK X Singapore featured a strong set of performances that showcased both dancers’ immense skill and creativity upon taking to the dancefloor.
The show opened with Justyne Li’s Dance Internship II, where she imagined herself as a young dancer about to embark on a life changing internship. Utilizing measured movements, Justyne showcased her excellent foundations in dance, displaying finesse as a ballet dancer and flexibility and strength in her movement. In this piece, the entire stage was practically her canvas, and Justyne was essentially painting a beautiful, easy to understand story on it. One could follow the progression of her ‘internship’ as she started off uncertain, yet as the performance went on, grew steadily more confident and brought out the full capacity of her body, allowing us to truly feel the joy emanating from her as she danced across the stage.
Tan-ki’s Tap Solo was set to the tune of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, creatively utilizing 3 different wooden platforms onstage to play with the tonalities of the tap dance, adding emphasis as he shifted on and off them and introducing crescendos and decrescendos into the performance with this technique, all while maintaining the same level of intensity. A technically gifted performer, his feet move perfectly in time with the music, and showcased immaculate timing alongside great strength and perseverance.
The show ended off with a number by both performers. Titled Galatea X, the performance is inspired by the Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion, who fell in love with his statue (the eponymous Galatea). The lengthiest piece of the three, Galatea X was an exercise in exploring movement, showcasing both Justyne and Tan-ki’s flexibility and their incredible onstage chemistry together. This was an extremely professional performance, cheekily enjoyable to watch, yet also brimming with a certain level of provocativeness, perfectly broadcast to the audience as we felt the same joy and sorrow Pygmalion did as he interacted with Galatea.
Neo Dance HK was an effective showcase of the talents that both Justyne and Tan-ki possessed, evident from the grace and confidence with which they performed their choreographies, and the fully sensory experience felt by the audience throughout. Accomplished and well-rehearsed, this was an enjoyable hour spent taking in the sheer extent of the skill displayed today, and certainly, we hope to see the already critically acclaimed Neo HK Dance continue to go places in future.
Performance attended 17/12/17, 3pm