2014-03-28 10:40:59 CRIENGLISH.com Web Editor: Chi Huiguang
Leafs change color, winter turns into spring and life takes us all down different paths. It is well-known that the only constant in our lives is change. At this year’s Jue Festival, the dance, Fleeing by Night, explores the concept of change and our response to it.
Doris Wang spoke to the dancer Wayson Poon to find out the story behind his creation.
In the darkness, a man lies on a bed sheet surrounded by crumpled up pieces of paper. As the man gets up, every little movement he makes pushes away a paper ball. This is the beginning of Fleeing by Night, a contemporary dance created and performed by Hong Kong dancer Wayson Poon.
“Fleeing by Night is divided into three parts. The first part, the one with the paper, represents a space filled with distractions. By pushing everything away, I’m clearing up the space.”
For the second part, Poon leaps and turns on a bed sheet covered in darkness. At some points of this phase, his choreography even included Tai-Chi and martial arts. However, Poon says the blending of western and Chinese culture was unintentional.
“I am trained as a contemporary dancer but since I came to Beijing, I have encountered many martial artists and tai chi masters. I found their moves interesting so I tried to imitate them and incorporate them into the dance.”
Fleeing by Night can be interpreted in multiple ways but Poon says for him, it is based loosely on his life experiences. The peeling away of the black sheet and revealing a white one underneath at the end of Act Two represents Poon leaving Hong Kong and arriving in a new city �C Beijing.
A graduate of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, 29-year-old Poon came to the Chinese capital four years ago to start his career as a dancer and choreographer. But for a long time, he was at a loss. Having no idea how to create and choreograph dance routines, he sought the advice of Dutch dancer Ria Higler.
“She taught me various exercises to interact with my body and get to know myself as a person and as a dancer. Then, I realized that I want to create a dance routine.”
From 2010 to 2014, he has created more than five contemporary dance routines. His creation, Behind Your Back 3.0, has been performed in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Beijing multiple times to positive reviews.
Poon has collaborated with artists from various countries including England, Germany, and the Netherlands. In Fleeing by Night, he is working with composer and pianist Raymond Yiu.
Fleeing by Night has gone through many changes since it was created last year. The version seen by audiences at the Jue Festival this year is its eighth edition.
The latest version features a combination of lights, music and sound. Each segment starts with the ringing of the gong. Sometimes, you will hear the strikes of the clock. At other times, classical music. At the beginning of the second segment, you will even hear the sounds of a Beijing subway station.
This latest edition of Poon’s dance is an amalgamation of suggestions from the people he worked with and those who watched his performance.
Throughout the process of creating and revising dance routines, Poon says he has learned that change is inevitable. Like the last act of the dance where he is adjusting to a new environment, Poon realizes he must accept both the benefits and detriments of change.
“Change is inevitable and cannot be controlled. But you have to accept it with a positive attitude. At the same time, you cannot forget who you are and you must know your strengths and weaknesses, what you can do and cannot do. It is only then that I can respond to the change and move forward.”
Wendy Yang is one of the audience members. She thought the story was about self-control and following your dreams.
“I think you just need to stop thinking so much about your life. Like all the papers on the floor, you just need to push them away so you can be an excellent dancer in your own life and make it colorful. If there’s something in your mind, you can always follow it and be happy”.
Whether it is finding your dreams or struggling with change, Poon says the message conveyed through his performance is different for everyone and it is up to the audience to interpret what the meaning is. He hopes his creation will inspire his audience to think deeply about their own lives, about what kind of conflicts they have encountered and how they resolved them.
For Studio +, I’m Doris Wang.