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Entering The Battle Zone And Vortex Of The Avant-Garde In Hong Kong Dance

The opening gambit at the Hong Kong Arts Festival’s Contemporary Dance Series this year is a piece titled Battle Zone in which four young men – two trained primarily in Chinese dance and contemporary dance, and two in street dance – engage each other in various twists on a traditional b-boy battle.

The socks-clad contingent of Kenny Leung (co-choreographer) and Henry Shum, and the trainers contingent of Yip Chan (co-choreographer) and Kaspy Ma, mix it up in arenas onstage defined by shifting pools of light (the work of Timmy Cheung) and a soundscape, by collaborator Peter Lenaerts, that feels alternatively claustrophobic and liberating.

Bringing street dance into the theatre and fusing it with other dance styles is not new, and some of the most interesting work, like that of the Brazilian Ritmos Family and London’s BirdGang, tell compelling stories.

In contrast, Battle Zone explores how each dancer culls movement to make it his own and how he uses it to claim space, shape space and protect space.

The preoccupation with space as a precious commodity is nowhere more intense than in Hong Kong, where the vast majority live in quarters that seem unimaginably tight to some. In the explosive movements that the restless Ma so impressively exploits, thrusting and jabbing at right angles, we see him demolishing walls and erecting new ones. Shum, on the other hand, seems constrained by vertical space, launching himself into heart-stopping spiraling air twists very close to the ground – as if drilling into a mountainside to make more space. Leung appears to reject the slim territory available to him on earth; he floats in air and dives into water with a poetic grace. Chan shares Leung’s lightness of movement but channels it into a more brittle and rapid-fire vocabulary.

The dancers occasionally move as one, but mostly they are rugged individualists; when they do interact, it is in the form of a negotiation – sometimes fraught, sometimes peace-making. Or they engage in a shared construction job involving invisible machinery. At one point, three of the men move in unison as if clearing a field with invisible machetes, while the fourth looks on.

This episode instantly evoked a scene in Christian Spuck’s Anna Karenina for Ballett Zürich, which was running simultaneously at the Grand Theatre next door. In that scene, compassionate landowner Konstantin Levin attempts to join the peasants who are mowing his fields with scythes. They deride his efforts, but he does not give up, and they soon come to accept him. Both movement and industrial soundtrack closely mirror the episode in Battle Zone described above. This juxtaposition of classical and street underscores their common ground, their perspective on dance as ‘battle.’ This can be a cordial competition or an outright conflict between dancers, even in the push-pull of a romantic pas de deux. It can also be a class struggle that ends in entente ­– as with Levin and his serfs – or in revolution.

Big-city ballet critics are on a mission to scout and christen the heirs apparent to George Balanchine, Kenneth MacMillan and Frederick Ashton, who propelled the ballet of Imperial Russia into the 20th century. Street dance is the lever that can catapult it into the 21st. And since we don’t expect the big-city critics to hang out on street corners smoking out the next battle, we need to keep sending the Kenny Leungs and Yip Chans of the world into the theatre.

Battle Zone was paired with Vortex, a work by Waysoon Poon for himself and Lo King-san, in which the pair drifts apart then together at a glacial pace and with a movement quality that is serene, almost meditative, and yet windblown and intense. The two men never actually make contact, though at times they are just inches apart, staring into each other’s eyes. They occasionally speak of each other in halting phrases that convey tenderness and intimacy but avoid conversation. The barely-there soundtrack by Peter Lenaerts reinforces the ardent yet tenuous connection between these two men.

This is a piece that never stops moving but because the movement is so slow it feels shrouded in stillness. In contrast, the feverish activity in Battle Zone is punctuated by many moments of stillness. Taken together, the two works prod us to find the movement in stillness and the stillness in movement, equally heroic in their slow, finely controlled shifts in body weight and in their space-conquering missions.

– The Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series continues at the Hong Kong Arts Festival through Mar. 25, 2018, with mixed programs that feature more local choreographers. Click here for tickets and more information. –




RAM CAMP in Kyoto 2017

Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]

RAM CAMP in Kyoto 2017 Work in Progress Presentation

October 29, 2017   North Hall, ROHM Theatre Kyoto

Programming evolves dance

As an exchange program within “Culture City of East Asia 2017 Kyoto,” Kyoto Experiment brings together dancers, choreographers and programmers from China, South Korea and Japan for a five-day intensive workshop. Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] has directed the Reactor for Awareness in Motion (RAM) R&D project since 2010, exploring new ways to make choreography through the use of virtual dance environments. Employing the toolkit developed by YCAM, the participants will devise original forms of dance through a process of learning about and understanding each other’s creative methods. The final day of the workshop will feature presentations of the results to the general public.

Culture City of East Asia 2017 Kyoto Exchange Program



By Wayson Media

陳敏兒、盤彥燊的創意交流之旅 To Festivals with Abby Chan & Wayson Poon

[中][ENG]陳敏兒、盤彥燊的創意交流之旅 To Festivals with Abby Chan & Wayson Poon

October 10, 2017 | 陳頌瑛 Anna CY Chan 翻譯 Translation: Scarlet Yu

放眼舞林 An Eye on Dance

To Festivals with Abby Chan & Wayson Poon

(左起 From left) 陳敏兒 Abby Chan, 黃大徽 Dick Wong, and 黃俊達 Ata Wong

圖片由西九文化區提供Image provided by WKCDA


For this issue, I invited two Hong Kong dance artists, Abby Chan and Wayson Poon, to share their experiences at the Edinburgh Festival and Full Moon Festival respectively. Both were invited to Creative Meeting Point co-organized by West Kowloon with dance institutions in Finland, New Zealand, and Scotland.

陳敏兒 – 愛丁堡藝術節

Abby Chan – Edinburgh Fringe Festival

兩次世界大戰均沒破壞蘇格蘭首都愛丁堡,每年八月的大街小巷都會擠滿參與歴史最悠久丶規模最大的愛丁堡藝術節的遊人和藝術愛好者。今年踏入七十載慶典,街頭巷尾遍地表演場地,保守估計有過萬場演出,厚厚的節目書,令人容易患上「選擇困難症」 。

Edinburgh, the ancient capital of Scotland was not spared destruction during the Second World War [and in the post-war period, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was founded to “provide a platform for the flowering of the human spirit.”] Every August, the city fills with enthusiasts of arts who come to its seventy-year-old Festival.  There were thousands of performances and it is difficult choosing from amongst them.

今次有幸聯同黃大徽及黃俊達兩位出色的香港跨界藝術家,參與西九文化區、蘇格蘭的Forest Fringe和紐西蘭的 Basement Theatre合辦,為期三年的「國際跨界實驗交流」計劃 ,於愛丁堡作文化交流的第一站。很久沒有由朝至晚趕場看演出,我們一星期內欣賞了14個演出。


Edinburgh was the first stop in the three-year International Co-Lab project co-organized by WKCDA, Scotland’s Forest Fringe, and New Zealand’s Basement Theatre that I visited together with two outstanding Hong Kong interdisciplinary artists, Dick Wong and Ata Wong. We attended fourteen performances in a week. Most of these questioned socio-political issues, for example: using jealousy and comparing mind-sets to indirectly critique the unfair allocation of resources in the globalized market economy; investigating refugee issues, racial discrimination, and hierarchical tyranny through personal experiences; connecting gender, biological cloning, and identity in an ironical, mocking style; uninhibitedly using the buttocks in a creatively sardonic way to respond to critics’ out-of-control practices; reflecting, through a repetitive quiz game format, on the state of affairs in which people ignore problems caused by collapsing financial systems, global warming, and globalization and refuse to make changes, and so on. There were two conceptual performances, a six-hour performance with two performers insulting each other non-stop to highlight everyday verbal violence, and another three-hour performance, at which a performer repeatedly sang the same song to each one in the audience with the audience members free to choose the time and the duration of the visit.

(左起From Left)  劉祺豐Low Kee Hong (西九管理局藝術發展主管 (戲劇) WKCDA Head of Artistic Development (Theatre)), 陳敏兒Abby Chan, 黃大徽Dick Wong, and 黃俊達 Ata Wong

圖片由西九文化區提供Image provided by WKCDA

這趟旅程才發現,其實人人都可以在愛丁堡藝術節演出,「節」已成為一個營商市場,促銷旅遊業利潤之推手。藝術家若沒有國家文化機構投放大量資金,也可以自資成就這個演出機會。藝術家需要賭博獲得多少好評作回報,一場演出若有多過七位觀眾就是高於平均入場人數,票房若能收支平衡就要慶祝,輸少當贏……或最重要是來「打個咭」。慶幸今次自己可以專心做觀眾,可以靠邊思考。冒名而來朝聖的藝術創作者除了賺了體驗和自我感覺良好外, 看到與世界接軌的作品,質素水準或會有所提升。但更重要是令創作及表演者思量,在這個藝術生態環境下,長年累月被壓在金字塔的底部,如何能倖存過來?

In fact, anybody can submit a proposal to perform at the Festival and it has become a marketplace that benefits local tourism. An artist without national institutional support can self-finance to participate. However, it’s a gamble for them, they must compete with big names at the Festival and usually shows have low attendance rates (an audience of seven is the average); barely breaking even at the box office is reason enough to celebrate. Perhaps the important thing is to be part of the Festival.  What I observed made me think that besides possible artistic benefits of experiencing other world-class performances, it is important for an art practitioner to reflect on how to survive at the bottom of the pyramid in such an art environment. 

盤彥燊 – 月滿舞蹈節

Wayson Poon – Full Moon Festival

盤彥燊Wayson在月滿舞蹈節期間的表演Wayson Poon at the Full Moon Festival

攝Photo: Jaana Salo & Jenni Kankaanpää

在田野、山丘、湖泊、藍天擁抱著的這個芬蘭中部小城鎮Pyhäsalmi,我參與了為期四天的月滿舞蹈節(Full Moon Festival)。它與一般舞蹈節的活動內容相近,包含工作坊、舞蹈演出和講座環節;但有點不同的是,舞蹈節的藝術總監是定期更換的,同時主題或焦點也會因所而改變。每年鮮明的主題,能吸引對此感興趣的藝術家和參與者,長途跋涉來到這個小鎮。而今屆則由Kisri Tormi 擔任藝術總監,主題設為「A Good Life」。來到這兒的大部份人,都困在這小鎮內,彼此碰見頻率相當高,對於藝術家而言,每天穿梭在大自然與劇場、排練室之間,所有活動、節目、交流都是十分有機地回應舞蹈節的主題。在小鎮的生活也好像包括在藝術節內容設計之中。舞蹈節的節目大多沒有強烈的政治味道,多數談論人性、藝術家自傳式的作品、還有具合家歡味道的作品。但可惜的是,大部份作品都是文字及語言為主的素材,對於不懂芬蘭文的我,很自然便影響了我對作品的當下體驗,唯有演出結束後,與當地藝術家或觀眾交談,求得翻譯,才有所領。但從另一個角度看,這也是增強與當地人文化交流的契機。

In Pyhäsalmi, a village in the center of Finland, surrounded by fields, hills, lakes, and the blue sky, I participated in the four-day Full Moon Festival.  Its content is similar to other dance festivals and includes workshops, performances, and talks. The difference is the artistic director is changed regularly, therefore, its theme or focus changes accordingly.  Based on the theme, it attracts artists who share the same interests.  At this edition, the Artistic Director, Kisri Törmi, came up with the theme, “A Good Life”.  The frequency of opportunities to encounter other participating artists was high because we were all enclosed within the village.  For artists who moved amidst nature to go to the theater and rehearsal room, all the Festival activities, programs, and exchanges seemed to organically reflect the festival theme, even village life gave the impression of being part of it. The performances focused mainly on personal subjects, autobiography, and family rather than politics.  Regrettably, most of the performances were text and language driven and as someone who doesn’t speak Finnish, it affected my experience of the shows.  I only received the missing pieces after the performance by asking for translations in discussions with the artists or audience members.  From another perspective, this difference encouraged a cultural exchange opportunity with locals.


Departing to Full Moon Festival (Foreground left and right) Wayson Poon and Ivy Tsui

圖片由西九文化區提供Image provided by WKCDA


陳頌瑛 Anna CY Chan


Head of Dance, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA)


News In Finland

Media News

Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong × Finland

April 10, 2017 | Jane Chan

The signing Ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding on Dance Exchange and collaboration between Hong Kong and Finland.
Photo provided by WKCDA.

 The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) is partnering with three Finnish dance institutions, Dance Info Finland, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance, and Dance House Helsinki, to offer six dance artists, three each from Hong Kong and Finland, opportunity to foster artistic dialogues with each other. The Hong Kong dance artists selected for the 3-year residency exchange program entitled, Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong × Finland, are Justyne Li Sze-yeung, Wayson Poon Wai-shun, and Ivy Tsui Yik-chit. The program aims to support artistic practice, research, continued professional development, encourage works-in-progress, and help realize co-productions between Hong Kong and Finland in 2019. The dance artists will take part in six residency exchanges in the coming years, working independently and collaboratively to further their artistic practice.

 The Hong Kong artists embarked on the project on 30 November 2016. Their exploration began with ICE HOT, an international dance festival in Denmark that gave them time to broaden their understanding of the regional dance scene in Northern Europe. This was followed by residency at Zodiak – Centre for New Dance at the Cable Factory in Helsinki as part of the Helsinki International Artist Program.

Visiting Dance Info Finland. Photo provided by WKCDA.

 The Artists

 Justyne Li began her career as a ballet dancer and never thought of doing anything else until she met her future husband, Wong Tan-ki, in 2004. Working with him she realized choreography could be a possibility and she has persevered at it ever since. When I asked why she wanted to participate in the program, Li’s reply was simple, “Why not?”. She wanted to try something new, break habits, be in new spaces, new contexts, and build new working relationships.

 Wayson Poon has been looking for new opportunities and ways to further his professional growth. This residency exchange program came just at the right time for him to develop an international perspective he knows is vital for his personal and professional development.

 Ivy Tsui had her heart set on choreography quite early on. She worked freelance for several years and realized there wasn’t enough time to refine her choreographic practice. She was continuously going from one project to another, busy choreographing and dancing. She has been interested in participating in a residency for some time but never had the opportunity. This residency will also give her time to reflect on her practice and a chance to stop ‘project hopping’. The project seems to have come at the right time for all of them.

Meeting with Finnish artists. Clockwise from left seated: Carl Knif, Ivy Tsui, Wayson Poon, Justyne Li, Sari Palmgren, Linda Martikainen.
Photo provided by WKCDA.

 Residency at the Cable Factory

 After attending the ICE HOT festival, they started their first residency period at Zodiak. The apartment they stayed in there was in the Cable Factory and close to the studio. “We’ve counted, it’s only 30 steps away,” Tsui says. They describe the apartment as very spacious. Space is abundant in Helsinki unlike Hong Kong where it is a very precious commodity.

 The Cable Factory is a former industrial complex converted into Finland’s largest cultural center. It is located by the sea, and very close to the city center. “It’s full of artists. You eat, sleep, breathe art as you are surrounded by many artists and projects”, Li recounts. “The studio faces the sea, there were foggy mornings, or ice floating on the sea and narrow beams of sun shining through the windows… Like a beautiful painting!” Poon exclaims.

 As Poon talks about it, it seems ideal, “The residency was a platform for us to communicate. We conversed, debated, and listened. Took turns to lead tasks and workshops based on our research to further our knowledge and receive feedback from the rest of the group. It was a great way to get to know each other through our practice”. Li and Tsui agree.

 A typical day went from 10am to 3pm in the studio followed by attending performances in the evenings. They would start with an hour warm-up every day, followed by workshops that they took turns leading. Li remarks, “The Finnish artists seemed to be very busy. Attendance was a struggle but on the other hand we were able to visit their project to see what they are doing and share what we are doing in a presentation for their students. I would love to have spent more time together. It was, however, a learning experience, gaining a different perspective to better understand the reality of their working life.” She suggests it may be beneficial to have full attendance to fulfil their objectives and further their practice. It seemed they had a great time despite having some constraints. There is always room for improvement, with artists and organizations learning from experience to help tweak the program.

Studio Work during Helsinki Residency. Photo provided by WKCDA.

Research Topics

 Each of their research areas is fascinating. Tsui focuses on communication and is interested in dance performances with text, having used text in one of her previous works. She came across artists using text in their works and most of them use English. She wonders why this is. Do the artists adapt their works for international audiences? Do they start with their mother-tongue? As part of her research, she taught the Finnish artists some basic Cantonese. She speculates, when people are faced with a foreign language, how do they communicate? She is fascinated by this idea and would like to explore the use of gibberish for her upcoming work, thinking about how it might be received. She pushed the idea further, extending the dialogue between body parts instead of between people, for example, head and hand, then adding another body part, like elbow. How would the dialogue and dynamics change?

 Li is finding ways to create improvisational tasks that challenge the mind and body. She thoroughly enjoys it when dancers are 100% focused on the task of improvising and forget that they are performing and being watched. That’s when she is most engaged. She would like to create tasks like that for her work. “We agreed it is a difficult since improvisation focuses on the moment and performance is a more considered form. Improvising in a performance can be contradictory. However, we know it is possible to improvise while performing but it is about the freedom within parameters that are set beforehand. Lots to think about”, she adds.

 Poon has two main research focuses: kinetics and creative tools. He is fascinated by how the body moves. At present, he is focusing on Qi. The energy and life force that living things possess. Qi is very much influenced by philosophies and beliefs from China and India that he has been reading a great deal about. These philosophies and beliefs not only help him to create but also add a dimension to his daily life. Osho (Shree Rajneesh) is one of the most influential philosophers for him.

 He also wants to find ways to structure improvisation for collaborators who aren’t trained dancers because he envisions working with collaborators from different disciplines. He would like to create and investigate some of these tools with other artists and hopes to come up with something fruitful by the end of the process. To Poon, every creative process is composed of software and hardware. For him, concepts, ideas, philosophies, and beliefs are the software. The studio, physical space, and materials that are tangible are the hardware. The body connects the two and is the starting point for research and for creation. “I doubt I will be able to develop these in three years but it is the learning experience that is significant for me professionally,” he says.

Discussion during Hong Kong Residency. Photo provided by WKCDA.


 When asked what they have observed or taken from the residency so far, Poon mentions that one of his foremost observations was how mindful Northern Europeans are of light. In Helsinki and Northern Europe, due to their geographic location, days are very long in summer and as short as four to six hours in winter. Poon relates this to how European artists use light as tools for storytelling and to enrich performances. “I was definitely inspired. I would love to research, develop, and work with lighting designers in the coming years to develop ways to work with light, space, and bodies.”

 The performances they attended throughout the weeks had a huge impact on Li. The extensive variety of productions were unlike those in Hong Kong due to differences in culture, climate, frame of mind, and space among other factors. Some works presented at ICE HOT may have seemed dull to others but were in fact Li’s cup of tea, especially pieces that dealt with repetition. Li recalls something Pina Bausch once said, “Repetition is not repetition… The same action makes you feel something completely different by the end”  maybe that is what attracts her to this device.

 Li enjoys performances that are logical and rational like science experiments. She appreciates the concentrated way of working and the artists’ determination to focus on just one thing and use different perspectives to view this one thing, whatever it may be. She tells of a dance she particularly enjoyed – a piece with three stationary dancers, each had a long string and used movement phrases to move the string in space. They performed the movements at the same time but in a different order. The piece was about 20 minutes long and the dancers created a soundscape of a melting iceberg. Li appreciated the piece, as it was like being taken on a journey, but was aware that it might not be to everyone’s taste.  She also enjoyed the winter in Helsinki. She realized nature, space, the lack of sunlight, and the cold weather have tremendous effects on people’s biological rhythms, she suspected these were the reasons the pace in Helsinki was slower and the artists there had a stronger sense of focus and attention to detail.

 Tsui spent most her time thinking about the relationship between research and exchange. Which should take priority? At first, she was overwhelmed and tempted by new and inspiring stimuli, nevertheless, she recognized that her core questions and research were connected to her sense of identity as both a person and a dance artist. Her recognition of the importance of self-reflection to art making was a valuable lesson.

 Tsui, Li, and Poon look forward to hosting the Finnish artists and showing them their home, Hong Kong – the fast pace of life in the city, its amazing food, and the dense living conditions. They would also like to see Hong Kong from their Finnish counterparts’ point of view. The Finns might offer them new perspectives that could help them consolidate notions of their own identity and how they see Hong Kong.


Second residency of West Kowloon’s ‘Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland’

“During this three-year exchange, I hope to find new ways of creating, thinking and innovating, instead of just bringing our work to perform in Finland and other places.” Local dance artist Ivy Tsui Yik-chit.

In the recently completed second residency of West Kowloon’s ‘Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland’, three Finnish dance artists Carl Knif, Sari Palmgren and Linda Martikainen visited Hong Kong to work with local artists Ivy Tsui Yik-chit, Justyne Li Sze-yeung and Wayson Poon Wai-shun. When they weren’t in the rehearsal room, they were out watching local dance performances and exploring Peng Chau and Lantau Island. To give them a holistic experience of Hong Kong, Wayson took them to the Big Buddha, for a vegetarian lunch at Ling Yan Monastery and a taste of Buddhist culture. “Productive communication doesn’t just take place while you’re rehearsing, but also while you’re hiking or on an outing. It’s the same with creative inspiration: it doesn’t just occur in the rehearsal room, our daily lives and surroundings can also inspire us.

‘Creative Meeting Point’ is not a project that requires artists to spend time in a rehearsal room practising or devising new choreography. It’s about connecting artists in their home regions and giving them time and space to learn about the local arts ecosystem and get to know each other’s creative methods and practice.

As in the first phase, the six artists took part in an exchange session to share thoughts on dance and life. Ivy accompanied the artists to Peng Chau and Lantau Island. “It felt like we were on a roller coaster – from being strangers to getting to know each other. We may not all be interested in the same things, but what’s important is to stay curious and open-minded.” Ivy described their interaction is like “dancing a tango” – gradually getting to know each other, and hoping for more sparks in the future.

Launched in November 2016, ‘Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland’ is a three-year collaborative exchange programme between West Kowloon and three Finnish dance institutions: Dance Info Finland, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance and Dance House Helsinki. The programme offers dance artists opportunities for artistic dialogue with international dance practitioners in their home regions.



Fine Finnish

By Trista Yeung

Collaboration is always exciting in the eyes of dancer Ivy Tsui Yik-chit, who learned its significance in Finland two months ago. Together with dance artists Justyne Li Sze-yeung and Wayson Poon Wai-shun, Tsui joined a three-year residency exchange program organized by the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and three Finnish dance institutions: Dance Info Finland; Zodiak – Centre for New Dance; and Dance House Helsinki.

Named Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland, the first step of the collaborative program requires the three local dance artists travel to Finland for two weeks to meet up with three Finnish artists, Carl Knif, Sari Palmgren and Linda Martikainen.

In the coming three years, the six will engage in a reciprocal residency exchange in both Helsinki and Hong Kong, and the period will work around major arts festivals and events in both cities.

The three Finns plan to come to the SAR next month for their next residency, when the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Art Basel will be held.

Tsui, who graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts – majoring in ballet and modern dance – gained attention by winning the 2015 Young Artist (Dance) Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, for commissioning choreographic works such as Dehydrated Flower, Frangipani and Morning Glory.

She said the exchange program offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for artists to broaden their horizon and obtain firsthand experience on art trends in northern Europe.

“With the advancement of online and social platforms, it is not hard to have a rough idea about the art culture in other countries,” she said. “But if you can witness or even talk to the artists, you can know their art more comprehensively, such as how they connect with the audience, how they communicate among team members, and where they find inspiration.”

The artists took part in the ICE HOT international dance festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December, laying the foundation for future collaborations on Nordic dance. Since 2010, the festival has toured around five Nordic capitals every second year, giving performances and offstage presentations to international dance professionals.

As the program is specifically targeted at international dancers, artistic directors and organizers at festivals and theaters, it allows artists to expand their networks and discuss future collaborations. Some of the performances are also open to local audiences.

In addition to the artistic program, board discussions, workshops and networking forums will be organized for dance professionals from around the world.

“It is good for artists taking the initiative to reach out for potential buyers. Many artists fail to notice the importance of presenting themselves,” Tsui said. “But no one knows the work better than the artists themselves. Such a platform provides the perfect opportunities for us to learn the skills.”

One of the onstage performances – Meadow, meadow, meadow – stirred her emotions in the discussion of life and death. The choreography was a collaboration between Finnish choreographer-dancers Elina Pirinen and Maria Saivosalmi, Palestinian- French vocal and performance artist Jassem Hindi, and Irish theater artists Ruairi Donovan and Cathy Walsh.

With three scenes symbolizing different stages in life, the performance featured a combination of peculiar body movement, voices and landscapes.

“The piece started with tranquil music and slow body movement, but then the second scene gave a sudden turn, when the performers asked everyone in the audience to join them on stage,” Tsui said. “In order to imitate the chaos and disorder humans face in life, they passed out wine, encouraging the audience to dance or even take off their clothes. The dramatic arrangement was really intriguing.”

The performance also persuaded Tsui to work with artists from different sectors, as it helped inject innovative elements to enrich a performance. Although cross-city dance performances are still difficult for Hong Kong, she hopes more art collaboration can happen in different sectors.

“In Finland, artists do not mind sharing their ideas and techniques with each other, which makes artistic collaboration very common among them,” Tsui said. “More importantly, every member of the team will voice their opinion over the piece, allowing individuals to shine even in group performances.”


WKCDA initiates residency exchange programmes for artists in Hong Kong and Finland

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.


Jean Abreu Dance starts new company work

Jean Abreu Dance starts new company work

Exciting new collaboration with visual artist Elisa Bracher & Chinese dancers

Jean Abreu has now completed the creation phase for his latest work called “(A)Thread” a major collaboration with renowned visual artist and sculptor, Elisa Bracher. Jean first came across Elisa’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 which featured a giant 8 ton lead sphere suspended in the air by metal cables. Her work explores the concept of ‘Balance’ in all forms and Elisa is creating a special moving set piece that works in harmony with the dancers. Now, the company has the chance to create this beautiful, exciting production in China in 2016 and cast some incredible contemporary dancers from China to the performance. If you would like to help us achieve this dream, we have some wonderful gifts for you in exchange for your donation. Please check out the campaign on the crowdfunding website Indigogo and share this endeavour with people you think would like to get involved.Thank you!

We are delighted to have a superb team of international dancers on board for this phase of development including Stephen Moynihan (Ireland), Rosana Ribeiro (Portugal), Paula Rechtman (Mexico), Joshua Smith (UK) and the very gifted Wayson Poon (HK) joined us as Assistant Choreographer and dancer.

Incorporating Jean’s impressions and inspirations from his recent travels to China and the input of Brazilian visual artist Elisa Bracher who has been visiting us, we are sure to develop an inspiring new cross-cultural project.

We are immensely grateful for the funding we have received so far and would like to thank Elisa Bracher and Arts Council England for their generous support and the support of our regional partners so far, Pavilion Dance South West, Bath Spa University & Lakeside Theatre.


HK New Wave in PAMS 2015

For its first time, the ADC will lead local arts groups and artists to take part in the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) from 5 to 9 October 2015. A variety of performances and an exhibition will be held, showcasing the diversity and vibrancy of Hong Kong performing arts to overseas arts organisations and agents.
‪#‎HKinSeoulthisOctober‬  서울아트마켓 PAMS