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Arts of Hong Kong 2020: A Lover’s Concerto by City Contemporary Dance Company (Preview)

HONG KONG – Playing as part of Tai Kwun’s On Stage Online series of performing arts programmes and their own Digital Dance Season, Hong Kong’s City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) presents A Lover’s Concerto, where different generations of couples who all met at CCDC perform a choreographed piece recreating their lasting memories, leading the audience in an exploration of relationships through interactions and by feeling each other’s heart beats.

Featured dancer-couples include award-winning Malaysian dancers Choo Tee Kuang and Loke Soh Kim; where Choo began his dancer career in 1987 with Singapore People’s Association Dance Company, before joining Singapore Dance Theatre, Hong Kong Dance Company and CCDC. Loke meanwhile, worked for Singapore People’s Association Dance Company from 1987 to 1989 and CCDC from 1990 to 1992. Together, the two established Dancenap Production in Kuala Lumpur, where she now serves as Company Director. They comment: “In the middle of our humdrum lives, there will be passion and romance; sometimes we will fight in jest. There will be times when our minds are in sync and times where we fully depend upon each other! We should carry on the dance until we get older and older!”

On the younger end of the age spectrum, Bobo Lai and Terry Tsang will also be featured as part of the lineup, with Bobo working as a full time dancer at the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, before joining CCDC in 2015. On the collaboration and their relationship, the couple comment: “Quarrelling helps us progress, If we never quarrel, it means we are just staying in our comfort zone, and we will never know our own limits. It’s a sign that we are gaining knowledge when we learn how to communicate with each other and maintain our connection through love even when we are arguing.”

Comments Noel Pong, who co-choreographed Bobo and Terry’s piece: “When I was first writing a proposal on my choreography, my first idea was about ‘absurdity’. That’s really because of what’s going on in society, in the world and in Hong Kong. So that’s how I see things. I see many things going on in the world, and no one is paying attention, because we just care about ourselves. I try to pick things I care for, and I show them to my dancers and see how they’ll respond to it, and then we kind of have an agreement on what is important to us, and the pieces come together. This piece will be rather chaotic and in your face at times, a messy place with weird food on stage, with dancers who do minimal movements, and they are gonna use their voice to talk about some text that sounds completely nonsense, and I think my audiences need to be mentally prepared before watching this piece.”

Shanghainese dancer Shirley Lok will be working with Hong Kong dancer Bruce Wong, both of whom were awarded several scholarships for their dance education. Most recently, Wong was even selected as one of the few finalists in dance worldwide for the prestigious Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative. Similar to Bobo and Terry, they feel that conflict is an integral part of any relationship, commenting: “Both sides gain a better understanding of each other during the conflict and will keep clashing in the future. The dance does not lead towards a destination, there is no determined next step. We believe that staying with each other is continuing on this path of life.”

For Malaysian dancer Goh Boon Ann and Taiwanese dancer Wu Yi-san (both of whom have performed with Taiwan’s esteemed Cloud Gate Dance Theatre), they find difficulty in choreographing as a couple, due to how tough it is to detach themselves from their daily lives, and the emotional toll it has on them. “Perhaps the idea that we both want to convey in this work and to present it truthfully is that we have to calmly accept this reality. We tried really hard to show the audience that it’s still important to be “brave” even as we grow older,” they say.

Finally, Luo Fan (a permanent artist at Göteborgs Operans Danskompani, Sweden) and Chang Lan-Yun are now celebrating their 10th year as a couple, and find it an opportune time to do a work together. “We wanted to start from our own experiences and search for those things we both find important. We believe that in order to maintain such a long-term relationship, “breathing” is of utmost importance. “Breathing” implies the existence of space. How will we feel if we don’t give each other any space?” they comment.

But in truth, the only way to see the state of these dance-couples’ relationships is through watching their choreography, as A Lover’s Concerto premieres this September and October. Watch as each couple carefully balances control and power in their performances in a delicate maintenance of give and take, and how their relationship with each other, through love and conflict, come to life through their movements in each episode, premiering tonight at 8pm on SISTIC’s live streaming channel.

A Lover’s Concerto episodes 1 and 2 stream on 13th September 2020 and 18th October 2020 respectively. Tickets to the live stream available on SISTIC, more information available on CCDC’s website here.

CCDC will also be presenting Project NEXT Wave on 2nd October 2020, and REAL Showcase Series – Solara & Luna on 30th October 2020 as part of their Digital Dance Season. Find out more about CCDC’s Digital Dance Season here

For news and updates, join CCDC’s Telegram Channel CCDC的小日子 ️(@lifeinCCDC)

Tai Kwun’s On Stage Online programme runs from 13th September 2020 across various platforms online. For more information, visit Tai Kwun’s website here

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