Nomination | The 20th Hong Kong Dance Awards | Outstanding Medium Venue Production
The first international collaboration for the Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series, this special commission is built on the Artist-in-Residence project of Italian choreographer Alessandro Sciarroni with Hong Kong choreographer Mao Wei, who took part in the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2016.
Continuing their partnership and building on Sciarroni’s acclaimed FOLK-S, they further explore the counterpoint in Eastern and Western dance and folk traditions. This full-length new work features professional dancers from Hong Kong and will also include selected local students. It is developed over a series of workshops and rehearsals in Hong Kong.
Choreographer's Note | Alessandro Sciarroni
I’m delighted and honoured to have been invited for a second year running to be part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Last year, after presenting a work inspired by traditional European dances, I had the opportunity to work on the material from that show with 28 non-professional young performers. The idea of teaching them a few steps from the show which originates from a European folk dance and to blend these same steps with other traditions stemming from a culture that is more familiar to the performers, represented a dream for me at the time. To have had the opportunity to return to Hong Kong, to continue to work with some of the young performers and to complete the cast with the addition of 5 professional dancers, was for me a very stimulating experience. This work would not have been possible without the contribution of the young choreographer and dancer Mao Wei who, with passion, hard work and generosity put himself at the service of this project of transmission of the traditional dances. We worked together with the intention of bridging two traditions, which are so distant and different one from the other, trying to adapt the rhythm of the two cultures and, at the same time, to preserve their distinctive natures. Given the level of complexity of the steps, the performance that is born for this experience requires great skill on the part of the dancers and I am very happy to say that, even during moments of difficulty, the young performers embraced the work with lightness and steadiness.
At the centre of the work that we have created together stands the idea of dance as an archetypal and universal expression of human nature. The work shows the fragility and the strength of our species finding itself at the mercy of the same movement of the planets; and it describes creation’s magnetic energy to which all creatures are subject.
Choreographer's Note | Mao Wei
I am honoured to collaborate with Alessandro Sciarroni in creating this new work, which is a re-creation of FOLK-S, will you still love me tomorrow? This work has always held special significance for me. Apart from the fusion and innovation of Chinese and Italian folk dances, it features a group of secondary school students with little or even no experience in dance as its main ensemble, which is a considerable challenge for the work on many levels. How to guide the students through learning the basic steps of each folk dance, towards a gradual understanding of the culture and history of the people; how we dive from the present moment into age-old cultural traditions and then come back to the present, to inherit and pass on the legacy of the traditions; all this has posed a series of challenges for us.
To me, this is not just a performance. It is an act of respect for tradition, a kind of ritual, and a form of reflection.
When Alessandro and I were creating this work together, we often considered the students’ capacity for performance, since this dance is a test of the performer’s physical, mental and emotional stamina. It is an endless unfolding of repetitions, swapping places, converging and dispersing, from the group to the individual, and then from the individual to the group. It contains a great deal of meaning. In this dance you see human relationships and the power of the group; you also see the passing on of legacy, and even innovation. The work is not complex in itself, yet it embodies exceptional substance. For many of these students, this may be their only ever performance on stage, and I hope this experience will become a special memory in their lives.
Poon Chun Ho
Lam Chun-yin Anson
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Lau Kun-chi Gee Gee
Thanks to the students of Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School, Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School and Elegantia College for their participation in this production
Thanks to Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School for providing rehearsal venue for this programme