The dancing cluster

Moving Cities Hong Kong
Hong Kong is more than just a crowd of people. This city is a cluster of millions of individuals: a complex dance in a confined space

Jevan Chowdhury

Hong Kong is in lockdown. Laws, also to contain the virus, do not make it easier for the city to find its way into its still new role. So is the dance scene: the departure on the one hand, the attempt to go new ways and to break with traditions on the other.

Hong Kong

I live in Hong Kong, together with 7.5 million other people – depending on your perspective, in a bustling and business-minded city-state or in a Special Administrative Region that maintains a special definition of one and two.

I am an art critic, I see the city, I see what it produces culturally, and what it suffers. Between skyscrapers rising steeply up the mountains and the Pacific expanse of the sea, which can be felt on the countless islands and which also belong to Hong Kong – between these contrasts, dance is growing with every generation – if it does not become mute or emigrate, but feeds on the future, or on other models of theatre, or on other ways of looking at the body with other technologies, especially here.

At first glance, Hong Kong’s dance scene looks like any dance scene in a big city, with all the familiar problems: Rehearsal opportunities are as rare as theatre engagements. Funding is only available in homeopathic doses, support is often enough a matter of luck.

And yes, there is Covid-19 in Hong Kong too – at the moment all the theatres are closed again. And yes, there are also reservations in Hong Kong about people who dance and even do it professionally. Especially since in Hong Kong almost the same conditions apply as everywhere else, only that in addition to Covid-19 our legislation are undergoing revisions, too.

What I want to tell here, in front of the dance images of London-based photographer Jevan Chowdhury, is a report on the situation, which I try to describe as objectively as possible in order to focus the gaze on this city and its people, such as the commuters moving along a permanent, 220-metre-long photo installation in one the busiest subway stations. It is a collaboration of the Hong Kong Ballet with the Hong Kong Design Centre, featuring a production under the direction of Septime Webre.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind – the Fading Hong Kong Dance Scene

3,11

Hong Kong is tamed – it seems so. But under the surface, art is looking for new ways, especially in dance. Dance needs the body and increasingly finds an avatar of itself. The digital is one tool among many to help the body find its right when, in Hong Kong, it has to remain in lockdown

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