Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Since the travel schedule doesn't allow me to catch much of da:ns festival in Singapore, and I definitely don't want to watch The Bolshoi Ballet do Swan Lake again, I decided to try to catch some dances or plays held in Hong Kong.

Saw 'The Dream of the Red Chamber', a collaboration between Hong Kong Ballet and Germany's Ballett Dortmund, a performance which marks the start of Hong Kong Dance Festival. Music composed by Michael Nyman is played by the Hong Kong Sinfonetta.

As epic as the classic 'The Dream of the Red Chamber' is in its cultural significance in Chinese literature, I absolutely dislike it. Not a fan of romances in any form, and certainly hated it when I had to study all the symbolism and sit for an exam on it. It's almost as bad watching 'Romeo and Juliet' on stage as a play or as a ballet. Yes yes, while I don't like the story, I can appreciate acting or dancing for this genre.

Apparently, after premiere night, a 12-minute visual projection sequence somewhere towards the end of the ballet that takes audience through China's history, has been cut; presumably over discomfort about the portions of Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution, although the company insisted it isn't so. In te morning, almost choked on my yoghurt when I read the review in SCMP. Although I thought the stage sets were beautiful, along with the costumes, and strong dancing, I found it somehow lacking. While I don't think the ballet's an "artistic disaster" suffering from "banal choreography", it certainly had a "weak structure". The writer's strong feelings about the ballet are fairly similar to what I thought of the performance.

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