Preview- Soledad- CCDC


By: Meaghan McGurgan


CCDC has grown a fabulous reputation over the past few years as a dance company that creates innovative work and cares about the state of dance in Hong Kong. Their latest piece, choreographed by Helen Lai is called Soledad. 



Soledad means solitude in Spanish and is inspired by the Nobel prize winning novel by Gabriel García Márquez called One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is the first collaboration between Helen Lai and well known UK artist Peter Suart. Between them they are weaving together a world of love, desire, and power. They hope to create a world existing within a great and inscrutable solitude. 


Helen Lai was a founding member of CCDC, and was the Artistic Director of CCDC  from 1985 to 1989 plus Resident Choreographer from 1991 to 2011. Lai's works are known for being cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary. Her works are received internationally, striking audiences with her unique choreographic style. In Soledad, Lai explores the theme of time through representation of momentous sequences in the novel. These then echo historical timeframes in Hong Kong. The creative team explores the idea of "perpetual and parallel solitudes between worlds".


For those of you who are unfamiliar with One Hundred Years of Solitude; it was written in 1967 and tells the multi-generational story of the Buendía family. It has sold over 30 million copies world-wide and been translated into over 37 languages, included Klingon. Without giving away too much of the plot to the story, the dominant theme in One Hundred Years of Solitude is the inevitable and inescapable repetition of history for this one family. They live on an island, surrounded by water, another dominant theme for the book. Can they ever escape? Are they simply fated to walk in circles forever? Are they doomed by the past actions of family members they never even met?



A novel with such large concepts makes it great fodder for a dance piece and experimental staging. Ms. Lai's favorite part of the production is a part where it’s described as "non-stopping raining over 4 years in the fictional town of Macondo. Everyone was so depressed in this condition. And I think it’s a very impressed picture."


Choreography is a very personal journey for an artist. It's about telling a story through the body and artists like Helen are very particular about what works they choose to work on. She is an award winner, after-all... She won't just do anything, just because it pays the bills. It has to speak to her. "When I produce a work, I won’t say “I’m like this, I’m like that” explicitly. When I choose a topic or theme; it already contains my own elements, my interests, my choices and my attentions. So, you can say, you can see who I am through a production.... Let the audience get what they feel when watching the show." For her it's about creating something and leaving it up for interpretation, which is nice to see.



Soledad with its complex themes, long time span and continual circles could easily confuse audiences, but Helen Lai and the creative team are hoping that the complexity of the work won't scare away audiences, regardless of age. "I hope even some of them didn’t see the book before and they will get something from the performance. Let the audiences (including adults and children) to imagine, no matter you know this book or not," says Helen.


This production is a little different than other CCDC shows in the past because this is first time Helen has chosen to work together with another artist. "I never do choreography with other artists. But this is the first time, with my friend Peter Suart... We know each other over 20 years. I didn’t have such idea before but suddenly I would like to try to co-operate with others." The co-operation creatively should lead to new and interesting work for the audience to enjoy. 


Soledad is playing at the Kwai Tsing Theatre from December 11th to 12th at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now through URBTIX. You can find out more about the show on the CCDC website and check out their Facebook page for more pictures and quotes from the artists.


For more information about Soledad, click here.


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