Dance HK/NY

January 19, 2001

Dance HK/NY

Kwai Tsing Theater
Hong Kong, China

January 19-20, 2001

Reviewed by Kevin Ng

Dance HK/NY is a Hong Kong-based modern dance company founded in in Hong Kong in 1998 by artistic director Rosalind Newman, the New York choreographer who has served as a senior lecturer at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts since 1989. This season, the company consists of fourteen dancers, who, except for three students, are Hong Kong Academy graduates.

This program showcased Newman?s choreographic craftmanship in the three rhythmically vibrant, visually complex, metaphor-packed works. First came Writing on Water, which Newman originally created in 1990 for dance students at Hofstra University in New York, with religious music by Wim Mertens. It featured an intriguing frieze-like grouping and a one of Newman?s recurring movement motifs: dancers forming a human bridge to support a female soloist borne aloft by several male attendants. After a middle section danced in silence, the exultant finale saw a fascinating contrast between motion and stillness, with dancers running, falling down, and ultimately being frozen into stillness one by one.

, with folkloric music by the Balanescu Quartet, was imbued with a humanism and angst reminiscent of Jirí Kylián?s work. It concerned a loner being rejected by the community. A female soloist placed downstage left appeared to be dreaming of a community that she desperately wanted to join. That community consisted of six village couples who appeared upstage right in a celebratory dance with a variety of pleasing patterns, but the soloist could only watch. In the end, the villagers wound up watching her as she played with the falling snow.

The final work, Mirrors, set to music by Arvo Pärt, was a premiere, but seemed like a strange recapitulation of Dissolves. A young girl frolicked with her mother in the snow, which again fell at the beginning and end of the piece. Another loner is rejected; this time it?s a female dancer snubbed by a tangoing couple. This work, which deals with unrequited love, features a beautiful pas de deux with the long, flowing lines of classical ballet. Reflecting mirror panels that resemble stained-glass windows are effective (although the lighting, which was uniformly dark for all three pieces, begs for greater contrast). Throughout the evening the company danced with a fresh vitality, honoring Newman?s inspired choreography. It was dancemaking of an order not often seen in Hong Kong.