Review - Hong Kong Delights: City Contemporary Dance Company & Mr.Quartet

  8-6-19

By Rhian Widdowson

 

 

 

 

I have always loved contemporary dance and since my arrival in Hong Kong, I have followed the City Contemporary Dance Company and their works. I especially love when they collaborate with others to create something new and fresh.


For me, live musical accompaniment to dancing always takes dance to the next level: increasing the intensity, pushing the dancer’s musicality and weaving a web with the movements. Mr Quartet, includes two violins, a viola and a cello. They are set up at the back centre of the stage, and their talent is clear as soon as they begin to play.


The show is divided into seven performances, with the music for each created by a different composer. The first performance, ‘Sway’, was visually hypnotic. Bodies weaving in and out of each other, trying to escape but then getting sucked back into the vortex. The music complemented the movements, entwining together to become one.


‘Scale’, was one of the highlights of the show. A very simple idea of a rotating circle and when in the ‘spotlight’ at the front of the stage, each dancer, in turn, would perform a solo. The dancers would ‘pass’ on the spotlight through connecting by touch. This was simplistic, and almost cliche, but it worked and I found it a great way to feel almost as if I was being introduced to each dancer and their way of dancing. In this section, I didn’t even notice the music as I was so engrossed by each dancer.


The next four performances were all solos. I feel that CCDC is at its strongest in group performances and for me, the solo’s often lose my interest and I generally find the group performances more interesting and intense. However, Felix Ke’s performance in ‘Savage’ completely blew me away. He brought a fresh, light-hearted approach, almost comedic style that had me completely engaged with his performance from start to finish. He brought together a fusion of dance styles that kept the performance interesting, lively and refreshing. Along with his dancing style, he showed great musicality and I felt like he was performing with the musicians, as if dancing with and alongside them, not just to them.  His use of a suitcase which revealed a glass ball in his performance was mesmerising, although I feel like it wasn’t necessary and that he didn’t need any props to engage his audience.


There was another use of props in solo’s, some felt a little disconnected, but the use of a bean bag in ‘Split’, really added to Bobo Lai’s performance. At first, you question what the prop even is at it appears to move with no interference from others. It seems to be making the performer go crazy and this is reflected in her movements and the music, the connection clear and easy to see. At times its as if a question and answer is happening between the bean bag and Lai and this developing relationship keeps you absorbed in the performance throughout.  


The final piece, ‘Still’, instantly grabbed everyone in the audience’s attention. All of the dancers were lying down on the stage and appeared to be naked. Then as the lights were brought up, you realised the dancers were dressed in nude underwear. This piece had a similar feel to ‘Sway’ with bodies writhing and almost squirming. It also reflected the feel of ‘Scale’, with dancers being in the spotlight and recreating parts of their solos but matching the new composition and instead of connecting to each other and transferring the spotlight through touch, they do this through eye contact, which matched the intensity of the music.


Overall this was a very enjoyable show and a great way to highlight the different dancers' strengths in CCDC. However, I do feel that more connection and collaboration between the different performances would’ve been interesting along with a stronger presence of Mr. Quartet in the show.


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