Review- Little Pieces- CCDC



By: Chloe Chia


It is never an easy topic to talk about memory, let alone represent it on stage. Memory is incomplete; it’s fragmented; it’s missing here and there; it’s treasured but hard to recover; it appears truthful but could be deceiving; it’s everything but a solid piece that can be easily grasped and secured in your pocket. 


Such could be a testimony for CCDC dancer Dominic Wong’s latest choreography, Little Pieces, but much of the subject matter could and should be further explored. 


The 75-minute modern dance piece comprises nine parts, six of which have a unifying theme of relationships (respectively titled “togetherness”, “wish”, “companionship”, “caring”, “fellowship” and “queer”). The first part started with a solo by female veteran dancer, Qiao Yang, as she recited her story of why and how she grew up with dance. It was a good starting point, heart-touching in reminiscing a departed family member, illustrating the theme “togetherness”. 


This sentimentality was then quickly cut into a cacophony of tense, high-pitched music where a group of female dancers danced almost uniformly to the beat of “Prey” by Beast. The music was very unsettling and such unaccounted tension reappeared several times during other group dances.


While most of the choreographies were performed rather low-key, several did stand out, especially Noel Pong and Bruce Wong’s duet in “Fellowship”, Natalie Mak and Lee Ka-ki’s sweet gentle duet in “Caring”, as well as Peggy Lam’s rather theatrical body movements. 


All dancers were dressed in a uniformity of white, hard-textured clothing, which resembles that of futuristic A.I. fabricates living in a spaceship on the moon. The idea of A.I. fabricates was not limited to my perception of the costumes but resonated also with the robotic choreography, techno music and repetitive movements, especially of running. In fact, most of the time, the dancers were doing small step jogging across the stage. In one instance, they seemed like soulless copies of alienated urban dwellers; in another, like robotic military trainees doing their regular morning running exercise. 


Perhaps the 'running' is something worth looking into. Why should this imagery appear throughout the piece?  Is it trying to tell how shards of memory excluded from remembrance (ie. at the edge of forgetting) were trying to find their way back to the brain, striving to be remembered or recalled?  To put it another way, are we as human beings constantly striving to recover missing pieces of memory to complete our own puzzle, as suggested in the house programme booklet? Whatever one calls it, the facial and body expressions on the runners looked adrift, lost and struggling for meaning. 


Memory might be scarce and fragmented but I don’t think it’s ever devoid of meaning. Very often, multiple dancers were doing different things on stage and individual themes of memory were not delved deep enough to get the message across. With the exception of duets performed well by veteran dancers, the overall impression was of swarming images clamoring and piling up on stage, quick to come and quick to go, which, with a lack of focus, transpired a conundrum of chaotic disorder. Even if that’s what was meant in matching the choreography to the themes, it was at times exhausting to experience -  visually, aurally and semantically.


A performance like Little Pieces can be tiresome at times, not just for the dancers involved, but for the audience too. 


Little Pieces is playing through April 17th. For more information, click here.



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