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Friday, April 22, 2016, 00:32

In step with the times

By Dara Wang

In its 35th year, Hong Kong Dance Company has built a rich, critically acclaimed repertoire, even as they keep learning from their journey so far. Dara Wang has a ringside view of what’s to come.

In step with the times
Dance-drama Storm Clouds , based on the popular comic series, The Storm Riders , won several trophies at Hong Kong Dance Awards. (Photos provided to China Daily)

In its 35th anniversary year, Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC) is ready to take the stage with an exciting new range of shows. While The Legend of Mulan continues to be the flagship production of the company, four years running, the current season will see performances of Storm Clouds , Reveries of the Red Chamber and Chinese Hero: Tales of the Blood Sword , scheduled to debut in coming November.

HKDC adaptations of Chinese classics are usually done with a view to making these more relatable to the audience. While the trend in cinema or literature has been to make a super-hero of Mulan, HKDC’s Artistic Director Yang Yuntao is in favor of playing up the human side of the fable of Mulan, trying to draw parallels with the daily lives of common people. “For people like us with no personal experience of war, the saga of Mulan in the battlefield seems too far away from our lives. However, the filial ties and fortitude displayed by Mulan in a harsh environment can strike the right chord with a contemporary audience,” said Yang.

HKDC performances resonate well with the audience also because of their emphasis on conveying the emotion of a piece. HKDC’s principal dancer Pan Lingjuan said, “HKDC scales down the display of dance techniques in favor of a smooth conveying of emotion. Even an abrupt kick— a basic dance move — might come in the way of the audience appreciating the mood of the moment.”

Dancer Tong Chi-man reiterated the importance of maintaining perfect synchronicity between dancers performing in a group. “Each move by a dancer in a group plays an important part to help immerse the audience into the story,” he said.

In step with the times
Principal dancer Pan Lingjuan plays the heroine, Hung Chi, in Storm Clouds .

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