Review- Eureka- CCDC


By: Justine Denning


The title 'Eureka' brings strong connotations and expectations (and this before even entering the performance). This word 'Eureka' suggests that I will leave with a sense of understanding, clarity and ultimately a concept of the show which I will view for a little under two hours. Did I achieve this moment of enlightenment? I'll return to this later. 


Eureka was devised into three dance acts, the first choreographed by Victor Fung, part two by Lai Tak-wai and the finale by Bruce Wong. Each act promised to deliver that moment of 'Eureka' within the confined space of the studio in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.


I have deliberated greatly on how to comment on the first act titled 'If walls could talk'.  The description within the programme promised me an act that was 'Rather than being a dance piece in the traditional sense, this work might be more accurately described as a theatre work created on dancers''. For me this was where the problems began to arise with the production. With a slight use of props and a cyclical structure (inspired by the play La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler, I may add), the act was certainly defined in terms of  character performances by the individual dancers. The intertwining storyline featuring co-existing characters, certainly wasn't groundbreaking for me  and neither was the circular staging, which I found an ineffective use of the space, due to the fact that the conclusions of each character's story was never discovered and it left the act feeling slightly hollow.


I had two big issues with the first act. One, was the choice of music - I found the selection dated and extremely off-putting. Each song was oddly placed and slightly cliché (but then, again, everyone has musical differences so perhaps it was just not to my taste). The second - and my biggest issue with the act was that this piece is supposedly set to explore the power dynamics within relationships and society but I spent a large amount of time being offended at what I was watching. 


The women in the piece were stereotypical cartoon characters and I felt that their selected dance movements were objectifying and demeaning. Yes, there can be an argument that these roles are gender reversible and this treatment exists for the most power related relationships. (Examples of this are airhostess and passenger or boss and low-ranking colleague...) My point is that in performances displayed for the public I think that an artist should feel some sense of responsibility. These two-dimensional character roles shouldn't be the only choices for your female ensemble. I am tired of seeing every female boss being portrayed as a lonely, sex hungry, cougar. It's as if people think you can't possibly be successful as a female boss without being dysfunctional somewhere else in your life.


Regardless of my opinions, there were some moments of hope in this piece - a clever use of the airhostess to announce the interval was a nice touch and Kelvin Mak is certainly a very talented dancer to watch out for. 


The second act Overwhelming was a well constructed piece, using  10 large wooden boxes as props; it succeeded in creating an atmosphere of isolation and desperation. The dancers managed to portray a sense of hopelessness,  the drifting banality and confusion that we can feel in our daily lives, assisted with wonderful moments of lighting and staging. Here is where I saw the dancers' true potential and attention to minute detail. During the tableaux moments, the staging and control of the dancers was so wonderful that it could have been a photograph. I always enjoy pieces that provoke you in some way, whether emotionally or intellectually, and Overwhelming achieved this.  


The third act How to become was largely Bruce Lee inspired and it was simply masterful. It was a grand finale for the show. The definition of 'leadership' and 'youth' was interesting to watch and I enjoyed the way it created a futuristic environment; a dystopian world where only oneself and the dancers belong. This act truly used a fusion of martial arts and dance to create a piece that flowed and blended together. Bruce Wong created some unique dance compositions and I was fascinated to watch him construct large exciting visuals using all of his dancers. These are moments that you can only view yourself. Together with his cinematic choices for lighting and music, this was the act which excited me to view further productions from CCDC.


This production was a mixture of emotions for me. Did I achieve my Eureka moment? I'd like to say that this promise did not fall short and, after the second half, I walked away with a desire to find a beginner's contemporary dance class. 


Eureka has now closed. For more information, click here.

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


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