Review- 2019 Dancers Homework- City Contemporary Dance Company


By Rhian Widdowson



2019 Dancers’ Homework showcased four new pieces from four emerging CCDC artists, Shirley Lok, Ivan Chan, Lee Ka-ki and Terry Tsang. The Founder and Artistic Director Will Tsao discussed how this was an opportunity for dancers to show and continue their journeys as choreographers with the support of CCDC to share whatever they wish. Contemporary dance is varied and has different meanings for each dancer, choreographer and viewer, and so each artist portrayed an idea, feeling or secret through their choreography, sharing their journey with the audience.


The first piece ‘Voyage’, choreographed by Ivan Chan, was a dialogue between desire and the body and that, as a dancer, he is constantly examining his own body. There was a lot of audience connection with the dancer starting by being sat in the actual audience.  It began with an orange being rolled onto the stage, which he then slowly examined. This piece uses a lot of silence and slow build up to create an atmosphere of anticipation. Motives were revisited, a lit up ball and a larger ball were also rolled onto the stage, making the audience question what the balls represented. The biggest pull I found of this piece was the use of light. Lighting was kept to a minimum until a second dancer brought a torch onto the stage. This torch created incredibly large shadows behind Ivan, highlighting different parts of his body. A lot of text in Cantonese was used in the performance which I felt affected my understanding of this piece, but I still engaged and took away from it.


The next piece, ‘Zen’, choreographed by Lee Ka-ki, was inspired by the rhythm of daily life, examining our present situation and how we had very innovative use of white blocks that when placed together created a cube. They were constructed, deconstructed and manipulated in the piece to create interesting images and movement. A simple beat was created by a metronome, with a slow build up from a musician on stage. A blend of different dynamics of movement, formations, repetition and clear sections outlined the piece.            


Shirley Lok’s piece, ‘Generation Beta’, stood out for me personally. She discussed, post-show, about what it means to be a human being and going through the impact of technologies. How the world is fast developing but what are we losing through this? The almost futuristic white costumes and a metal door like frame were on stage as the audience members returned to their seats after intermission. This piece, for me, showed so much connectivity between the dancers, music and movements. There was an innovative use of the props, in sections dancers continued to manipulate and moved it whilst continuing to move, creating a perfect flow. The dancers were so in sync and during their moments in unison they generated strong build-ups. This piece was strong in all areas as well as innovative, and showing new ideas whilst keeping the simplicity. I can’t finish without mentioning one of the dancers in this piece, Natalie Mak. Every time I see her dance for CCDC she surprises and impresses me with her adaptability and power.


The last piece was choreographed by another of my favourite dancers from CCDC, Terry Tsang, who also performed in the piece. His piece is personal to himself, about his negative relationship with hairy cats and dogs in Hong Kong, and it immediately gained the audience full attention. The lighting was very low and one could make out a creature, crawled into a ball, in the corner rocking, swaying. The hair creature seemed feral and scuttled around the stage, coming very close to the audience. Once one became accustomed to this unknown thing moving around, the feeling moved from apprehension to humorous due to some of the movements. Once the creature moved into a standing position, it was obvious that nothing of Terry was visible and that he was covered in hair, head to toe. The music became almost tribal, and the movements began to match the music, the movement accentuating the costume. A climax in the music and the creature seemed to appear to become psychotic, revealing Terry covered in paint, in a thong and vulnerable as if he is being freed from the creature. The creature appeared soon after and the duo began to have a struggle of power, the creature seeming to consume Terry.         


In three of the pieces, there was the use of text in Cantonese which will have added to the choreography. Moving forward, perhaps they could translate the text into the programme for reflection so can be accessible by all viewers. Overall, an interesting and engaging evening portraying the talents of these artists, that CCDC continues to support, showing CCDC’s innovative and progressive in the contemporary dance world.


This production has now closed. 


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


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