Review- Choreographers' Showcase- Hong Kong Ballet


By: Haddie Nguyen


I had the pleasure of seeing Hong Kong Ballet's latest show over the weekend. The Choreographers’ Showcase serves as a platform for Hong Kong Ballet dancers to present their creativity, ideas and accumulated dance experience. New choreographers and ideas deserve celebration and a platform to showcase. I was happy to learn that Hong Kong Ballet has been doing this since the 80's. This year, this platform extended to different kinds of choreography providing a fresher experience for the audience.


This year's choreographers were Kenneth Hui Ka Chun, Li Jia-bo, Nguyen Ngoc Anh, Jonathan Spigner, Yui Sugawara, John Utans and Yang Hao. All were talented and showed some interesting moments in their pieces. Although, I didn't enjoy them all, I'll do my best to tell you about the best parts. 


There is a "sticking bit" when reviewing a show that is made up of small parts. You can absolutely love one piece and then hate the next. Thankfully, all the pieces are short and leave you wanting more or make you grateful that it's over. I prefer this style of dance showcase over a traditional ballet and loved they had a theme for this year's showcase. One can only take so much of one arc before it becomes repetitive. 


Panta Rei by Hui Ka Chun Kenneth was one of the highlights of the evening. This piece explores life in Hong Kong. With vast amounts of people who work for what matters most to them - money, fame, family, home. They have little time for rest or enjoyment. However, it is not about what you see, instead it’s about how you feel about yourself. It was a beautiful piece with a lot of resonance in the audience watching it. I enjoyed the crowd scenes and how he took normal day actions/functions and turned them into art.


Days Gone By by Jonathan Springer also took at look at the life of Hong Kongers but was less successful in the execution of the concept. It felt like an outsider looking in and he didn't get the successful vibe with the audience that the earlier Panta Rei did. Because the two pieces felt very similar, it might have been better to put Springer's piece first in the lineup, so they we didn't compare it so much to the earlier/more theatrical piece.


Overall, the showcase was quite good. There were a couple pieces that came across a bit pretentious but that's an easy trap to fall into with ballet. Sometimes the dancers would pause after doing a series of moves seeming to be waiting for applause that never came. I wish they would have concentrated on the work and storytelling; the characters and showing great emotion through their bodies and faces. The new face of ballet is one about community and acceptance, beauty and wonderful storytelling. When the dancers of Hong Kong Ballet concentrate on this, they create magic on stage.


The Choreographers' Showcase has now closed. For more information, click here.

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Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 1.0


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