Review- Dancers' Homework- CCDC


By: Meaghan McGurgan


I travelled to the CCDC Dance Center in Wong Tai Sin this weekend to see their showcase of new choreographic talent, "Dancers' Homework." For those who had never been to the space before, the location of the theatre was a bit of a challenge. But within this building there was a small studio performance space that was perfect for this type of show.


Being a new choreographer is a huge challenge. People expect big things and with a medium like modern dance, which is so subjective, it can be unfair to compare these guys to the pros or even each other. Instead, I will speak about my favorites of the evening. 


The thematic base of the show was "Hong Kong". It was the city and point of inspiration for the artists. It was something that could go in a million directions and allow for a huge amount of creativity, which I appreciated as an audience member. The choreographers chose to highlight both the good and bad parts of the city. 


Lee Ka-Ki's Dan's Room came across as the most romantic. It was a pas de deux, with modern interpretations through light and sound. It was incredibly creative and clever in its execution. I thought the concept was very interesting. The piece was more about what you didn't see, rather than what you did. A majority of the dance was done in minimal or dim lighting, which made for some disappointments when the lights finally came on toward the end. Lee Ka-Ki staged a majority of the piece in the far upstage and due to some architectural beams in the space, important moments in the last 5 minutes of the dance were entirely blocked by these. Had he simply moved them to center stage or more down stage, the audience would have had better perspective on what was happening when the lights finally came on. Shockingly, I found this piece much more engaging when the lights were off. Perhaps this is what he was going for? I hope so, because the absence of light was a beautiful touch.


Terry Tsang's Hide.Flee was the standout piece of the evening and was the crowd favorite, by far. A beautiful mixture of: pleasure, pain, death, life, heaven, hell and plastic wrap. He blended exquisite beauty with raw emotion on stage. The dancers in this piece didn't hold back and fully committed to the concept, especially with their faces, which really sold us the moment. The use of color on stage was simple but effective. Tsang's choreography, although theatrical, never felt contrived. It was a masterpiece and has great potential for fuller exploration. I hope he will continue working on it. When the 2 hour version comes to fruition, I will be first in line for tickets. 


Of course, not all works of art are masterpieces. (They never can be.) But the variety of presentation is the wonderful thing about this style of show. I think a showcase performance is one of my favorite ways to see dance, as a medium. It's a little bit of something for everyone. Another great benefit about showcase style performances is that everything is short and sweet. It leaves me wanting more, which is such a rarity.


This brings me to Malvina Tam's At That Time. I felt this piece didn't work, for several reasons. The choreographer tried to take a normal everyday object and make it extraordinary on stage. Her choice? An office chair. It's not a new concept but one that is very appropriate for HK. Overall, this piece felt very unfinished. It had a lot of potential as an idea and some promising moments, with her extensions and twirls on the chair. It's very obvious she is very talented as a dancer and has wonderful technique. But the piece came across quite flat and disjointed due to the repetitive nature of the movement. It needed variety and something to grab our attention. It left me quite confused about the intention of the work.


The unsung hero of the evening was the lighting designer Low Shee Hoe. This designer did a fantastic job of lighting all the shows beautifully with minimal equipment. He gave each number its own unique look and provided a wonderful ambience for the dancers. It was a truly wonderful piece of design to be celebrated. Bravo!


If you're wanting something new and challenging to watch, consider Dancers' Homework. It won't disappoint, at least not for long... 


Dancers' Homework is playing through January 3rd. For more information, click here.


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hongkong, dance, review

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.0


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