The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with three dance institutions in Finland to launch a three-year residency exchange programme between Hong Kong and Finland running from 2016 until 2019. Titled ‘Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland’, the collaborative programme offers dance artists in Hong Kong and Finland opportunities for artistic dialogue and exploration with international dance practitioners in their home regions. It also aims to support artistic research and development, promote work-in-progress development and help realise possible co-productions between Hong Kong and Finland.

As part of its support to the long-term artistic development of Hong Kong’s dance sector, the WKCDA is partnering with three Finnish dance institutions, Dance Info Finland, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance and Dance House Helsinki, to initiate this programme. Three artists from Hong Kong and three from Finland will take part in six residency exchanges over a three-year period, where they will dialogue with local dance practitioners in workshops and art festivals, and work collaboratively to enhance their artistic development. These residencies will steer towards a final co-production project in 2019.

The first residency exchange starts today, with three Hong Kong dance artists – Ivy Tsui Yik-chit, Justyne Li Sze-yeung and Wayson Poon Wai-shun – embarking on their learning journey to the Nordic region. From 30 November to 18 December, the artists will participate in “ICE HOT”, an international dance festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, to explore and understand the regional dance and performing art scene in Northern Europe and to meet presenters from around the world. After that they will take up residency at the Zodiak – Centre for New Dance in Cable Factory, Helsinki, Finland, as part of the Helsinki International Artist Programme.

In the coming three years, these six artists will do reciprocal residency exchange in both Helsinki and Hong Kong and the period will work around major arts festivals and events in both cities so that they can benefit from more exchange opportunities with different artists from different disciplines. For example, the three Finnish dance artists will come to Hong Kong in March 2017 for their next residency where the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Art Basel will be held.

Apart from research and exchange, the six artists can also have the opportunity to share their work-in-progress materials and ideas with producers from around the world. For example in May 2018 during the annual Producers’ Network Meeting and Forum presented by Performing Arts department of WKCDA, they will be able to meet and discuss collaboration possibilities with producers from Hong Kong, Mainland China, Macau, Taiwan and other Asian region.

“Through this programme we hope to foster the creativity and vision of local artists, and promote the creation of original works with an international perspective. The programme will also enable us to take Hong Kong dance to an international stage in anticipation of future collaborations between the West Kowloon Dancehouse in the Lyric Theatre Complex and our dance counterparts in other regions,” said Anna CY Chan, Head of Dance, Performing Arts of WKCDA.

“We are privileged to partner with some of the most significant dance institutions in Finland to realise this exchange programme. The Dance Info Finland and Zodiak – Centre for New Dance are both renowned organisations dedicated to promote the development of contemporary dance as well as international collaboration while the Dance House Helsinski, similar to West Kowloon’s Dancehouse in the Lyric Theatre Complex, will be opened in 2020/21 providing amenities and venues for high quality dance performances. We look forward to building strong network with different dance institutions around the world, and forming more partnerships for the future opening of the Lyric Theatre Complex,” she added.

‘Creative meeting point: Hong Kong x Finland’ is the first joint effort between the WKCDA and international dance institutions. The WKCDA is currently working to establish further collaboration and exchange agreements with art institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom. Details will be announced in due course.


Participating artists from Hong Kong
Tsui Yik-chit, Ivy

Ivy Tsui Yik-chit graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) in 2009 with a first class honors degree. Majoring in ballet and modern dance, she received several awards during her studies, including the Disney Scholarship, and scholarships from the Society of the Academy for Performing Arts and the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation. Since graduating she has worked as an independent dance artist. Her works, Dandelion (2013) and Breathe (2014), were invited to the Beijing Dance Festival and the Guangdong Dance Festival. Her commissioned performances and choreographic works for the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department, include: Dehydrated Flower, Frangipani, Morning Glory, Absent Presentee and Circus in the Dark–2015 Community Cultural Ambassador Scheme. She received a nomination for Outstanding Actress at the 7th Hong Kong Theatre Libre for her performance in Absent Presentee. She is the winner of the 2015 Young Artist (Dance) Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.

Li Sze-yeung, Justyne

Justyne Li Sze Yeung graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, School of Dance, Ballet and Modern Dance Stream. She is a former member of the Hong Kong Ballet and Tanz Graz (Austria), and was a soloist with Ballett Bremerhaven (Germany). Currently working as an independent dancer and choreographer, she has performed at the M1 CONTACT Contemporary Dance Festival, d’MOTION International Dance Festival, the Guangdong Dance Festival and the Beijing Dance Festival. Her recent choreographies include: Dance Internship II; Dance Internship I with the Hong Kong Ballet; Galatea X; Galatea & Passenger, LCSD’s “New Force in Motion” Series (2010), Galatea & Pygmalion at the Hong Kong Dance Festival 2010 and 2013.Galatea X received the Hong Kong Dance Award 2014 for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer. Galatea & Pygmalion received the Hong Kong Dance Award 2011 for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance. Li was also nominated for Outstanding Performance in the same year.

Poon Wai-shun, Wayson

Hong Kong-based contemporary dance artist and choreographer Wayson Poon Wai Shun is active in Europe and Asia. He is one of the founders of The Body Acts dance studio, and was a resident artist at the Chaoyang Cultural Center Nine Theater and the School of Multimedia Arts of China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. His best-known works include: Fleeing by Night, Behind 3.0 and Untitled. Poon’s works have been performed and toured in a number of countries and at various arts festivals. In recent years, Wayson has led workshops about his body research and creation at Bath Spa University (UK), Asia Dance Project (Korea), Melbourne Festival (Australia), Chengdu Yuan-shu Contemporary Dance Space (China), and with the Jiangsu Provincial Song and Dance Ensemble (China). Poon has also been the rehearsal director of A Thread by Jean Abreu Dance in London since 2014 and performed in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

Participating artists from Finland

Carl Knif

Carl Knif graduated from the Theatre Academy in Helsinki in 2000 and has since then been in the frontline of Finnish dancers. He has been a dancer in Tero Saarinen Company since 2004. Since 2007, Knif has focused on his own choreographic work. His piece, Hologram Walls (2010), was commissioned by the Helsinki Festival. Other works include Manuscript (2012) for Kuopio Dance Festival as well as Mothertongue (2013) in collaboration with the Finnish National Ballet. He founded his own company Carl Knif Company in 2012. Knif was given a three-year artistic-grant by the Finnish Swedish Cultural Foundation in 2014. In 2015 Knifs solo RED was chosen by Aerowaves, Dance Across Europe, as one of the twenty most interesting choreographies of the year. His pieces have toured both nationally and internationally.

Sari Palmgren

Sari Palmgren graduated with a MA from the Theatre Academy in Helsinki in 2004. Since then she has been working as a freelance choreographer, dancer and dance teacher in Finland and abroad. She is working widely with stage works, theatre, different social choreography projects and dance films. Her latest works are Licking things (2016), Valkoinen peura (2016), homevideos (2015), Connective Patterns (2008 and 2015) Mortal road movie (2014),The Earth Song (2013, tour 2016-2018), Lost Missing and Forgotten (2012). Palmgren is a member of the board in Tanssille ry, which organizes weekly morning classes and workhops for the dance professionals in Finland. She received a three-year artistic grant for 2016-2018 from Arts Promotion Centre of Finland.

Linda Martikainen 

Linda Martikainen is a Finnish choreographer, performance artist and movement teacher based in Helsinki. Linda creates unconventional and experimental performances where the senses and thinking of the audience are challenged. Linda works in the medium of performance art as well as of film. Her latest dance short film, Triskelion (2015) explored distance between a human and an object through proximity, touch and encountering. Her most recent performance, a/part/ment(2016), was for one viewer-experiencer at a time and it took place in public urban space and in a residence building in central Helsinki. At the moment Linda is collaborating on S-projekti, which is a solo project where two choreographers share their journey of solo creation. Throughout a year, on every third month, they present to each other, to the working group and to an audience their latest discoveries. Linda did her MA in Choreography at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki. Before that she graduated as a dancer from the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD).

Programme partners

Dance Info Finland

Dance Info Finland, established in 1980 (original name as The Finnish Dance Delegation) has the mission to promote the development of Finnish dance art and improving its status and operating conditions in society. It is also an active expert in international collaborations taking part in the steering committee of the ICE HOT Nordic Dance platform, Australia-Finland Dance Exchange and so forth. Dance Info Finland is also members of International network for Contemporary Performing Arts (IETM), The European network for information centres of the Performing Arts, Nordic Forum for Dance Research, North European Dance Meeting network, Aerowaves (a network of dance professional from 33 European countries).

Zodiak – Centre for New Dance

Zodiak – Centre for New Dance is a progressive dance organisation in Helsinki and the most significant production house of contemporary dance in Finland. The mission of Zodiak is to produce, present and promote works of high artistic quality and innovation. Zodiak provides a creative environment and collegial platform for independent dance artists and groups. For the audience, Zodiak offers a versatile program of cutting-edge contemporary dance, events and activities. Zodiak is supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and the City of Helsinki and it is also a member of the European Dance House network.

Dance House Helsinki

A new Dance House Helsinki is planned to be opened in 2020/21 funded by City of Helsinki and private foundation. The Dance House Helsinki aims to be an accessible and welcoming gathering place for the public/sector while providing amenities for high quality dance performances. The Dance House Helsinki will also ease the decades-long, chronic shortage of rehearsal and performance space for dance artists in the metro area of Finland. Although the physical Dance House building doesn’t exist yet, it has already been actively providing and developing activities for the public and the dance professionals such as international and national touring performances, mentorship program and national dance forum.

About West Kowloon Cultural District

Located on Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, the West Kowloon Cultural District is one of the largest cultural projects in the world. Its vision is to create a vibrant new cultural quarter for Hong Kong. With a complex of theatres, performance spaces, and M+, the West Kowloon Cultural District will produce and host world-class exhibitions, performances, and cultural events, as well as provide 23 hectares of public open space, including a two kilometre waterfront promenade.