“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,” Anna CY Chan, Head of Dance, Performing Arts, West Kowloon

Recently launched, West Kowloon’s new dance exchange programme “Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland” is a collaborative project with three Finnish dance institutions: Dance Info Finland, Zodiak – Centre for New Dance and Dance House Helsinki. The three-year programme gives three artists from Hong Kong and three from Finland the opportunity to take part in six residency exchanges for artistic research and dialogue with international dance practitioners in their home regions. The first residency exchange has just begun, with three Hong Kong dance artists – Ivy Tsui Yik-chit, Justyne Li Sze-yeung and Wayson Poon Wai-shun – travelling to Denmark and Finland to explore the dance and performing art scene in Northern Europe. The three artists will first participate in “ICE HOT”, an international dance festival in Copenhagen, and then take up their residencies at the Zodiak – Centre for New Dance in Helsinki.

“Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland” is the first joint effort between West Kowloon and international dance institutions and aims to promote work-in-progress development and help realise possible co-productions between Hong Kong and Finland. We are currently working to establish further collaboration and exchange agreements with art institutions in Australia and the United Kingdom.

 

Hong Kong artists on their exchange journey to northern Europe No.1

West Kowloon’s new dance exchange programme “Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland” launched recently with three local dance artists, Ivy Tsui Yik-chit, Justyne Li Sze-yeung and Wayson Poon Wai-shun embarking on an exchange and learning journey to northern Europe. The first stop of their trip was “ICE HOT”, an international dance festival in Copenhagen, where they had a packed schedule watching performances from around the world and meeting with artists and producers from various fields. The diverse range of performances induced them to raise questions about content and form; how would the same performance be received when put into the context of Asia; and the dynamics between the body and propositions.

The next stop was Helsinki, Finland where Ivy, Justyne and Wayson took up their residencies at Cable Factory, a large-scale arts and cultural centre. Hosted by the Helsinki International Artist Programme, the Hong Kong and Finnish artists began their creative research and exercises at the studio of Zodiak – Centre for New Dance. They also took the opportunity to visit a school in countryside to learn more about the dance and choreographic projects of choreographer Sari Palmgren, one of their fellow Finnish artists in the programme, and shared their creative works to the students there.

The school was actually in Huittinen which is quite far from Helsinki. A round trip from Helsinki to Huittinen took at least 6 hours and therefore the expedition involved a very early morning call with just 5 minutes to get a breakfast! Yet everyone agreed that being able to experience the countryside of Finland – and getting to try a typical Finnish sauna – made it all worth it! For more highlights of the exchange, please stay tuned for more updates!

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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.

Hong Kong dance artists return from Finland for the 3rd residency exchange

West Kowloon Cultural District collaborates with three Finnish dance institutions to launch a residency exchange programme named “Creative Meeting Point: Hong Kong x Finland”.

This July, three Hong Kong dance artists, Wayson Poon, Justyne Li and Ivy Tsui, took part in their 3rd residency exchange in Finland, where they met up with the Finnish dance artists, Sari Palmgren, Carl Knif and Linda Martikainen, attended masterclasses, and watched a lot of performances, including Sari’s new work.

Besides rehearsals and research work, one of the highlights of their trip was taking part in the Full Moon Dance Festival, where Wayson had the opportunity to perform in the Opening Gala – an experience that helped him connect with artists from around the world.

“When I first visited Finland I felt like a guest and wasn’t really able to communicate or have deeper exchanges with our new friends. This time, I’m really happy to be able to show my work and my research-in-progress and get feedback from other artists. It was a very positive exchange experience,” Wayson said.

The theme of this year’s Full Moon Dance Festival was “A good life”, with most performances related to life issues and how to improve society. While the style was mostly not particularly heavy, a lot of them used text and dialogue, so the language barrier was a problem. But talking with the creators after the show helped our dancers get a better understanding of the work and context.

First held in 1992, the Full Moon Dance Festival takes place in Pyhäjärvi. As one of Finland’s leading arts and cultural events, it’s a place where almost every iconic Finnish contemporary dance artist has performed or taught.