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April 23, 2010

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Shopping mall dance

HONG Kong's famous City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) will perform two edgy works in Shanghai next month: a new creation about writer Eileen Chang and an interaction with consumers in two shopping malls.

On June 25, CCDC will stage "Tales of Two Cities - Hong Kong-Shanghai and Eileen Chang" at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

The work by resident choreographer Helen Lai looks at the later years of Chang who wrote famously about Shanghai in the 1930s and 1940s, notably "Love in a Fallen City" and "Lust, Caution." She then lived in Hong Kong and moved to the United States where she lived as a recluse and died alone in Los Angeles in 1995.

"Tales of Two Cities" includes recitation from famous works and was created especially for World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

"I hope to make a dance work tightly related to Shanghai, and Eileen Chang is the best choice," says award-winning dance maker Lai, who has been hailed by Cloud Gate's Lin Hwi Min as a "choreographer's choreographer."

"Two Cities" takes spectators on an emotionally charged journey exploring Chang's life.

"I want to express various faces of the women in Chang's literature through my dance work," says Lai.

Her idea for the dance originated from a rare photo of the writer in her final years, an image that Lai then turns into a montage of dance movements, music and text from some of Chang's best-known stories.

In 1979 Lai joined CCDC as a founding member and was artistic director from 1985 to 1989. She has been resident choreographer since 1991 and has received numerous awards.

CCDC is renowned not only for dance staged in conventional performance venues, but also for its innovative site-specific dance works in other building spaces, parks, malls and unlikely settings.

On June 19-20 the company will stage shopping mall creations in Shanghai Times Square on Huaihai Road E. and Plaza 353 on Nanjing Road E. Dancers from Beijing Dance (also known as LDTX) will take part.

The creations are titled after a Chinese saying about life's essentials, "Dress, Eat, Live, Travel," or "DELT - A Site-Specific Dance Gala."

They are created by internationally acclaimed CCDC Artistic Director Willy Tsao and two young award-winning choreographers Daniel Yeung and Ong Yong-lock.

The innovative dance is tailored to the spaces of each mall, and the dancers will be moving fluidly among the crowds, giving visitors a close and interactive experience with contemporary dance. It's highly improvisational.

In the innovative works, dance becomes everyday life and everyday life is transformed into dance. The shoppers/audience are no longer observes but participants, responsible for creating and completing the dance itself.

The CCDC is the "artistic soul" of contemporary Hong Kong, wrote the South China Morning Post.

It has presented more than 200 original works and performed worldwide over 30 years. It has presented works of leading choreographers such as Tsao, Lai, Mui Cheuk-yin, Pun Siu-fai and Yuri Ng, and has collaborated in innovative works with artists from other fields.

Tsao, one of the most prolific Chinese choreographers, established the group in 1979, along with Lai, and has been artistic director since 1989. He takes inspiration from Chinese culture, including art, philosophy, history, opera and rock 'n' roll. He has received numerous awards.

"My mom is Shanghainese," he says, "and I have familiar feelings in this city and when I hear the dialect."

"Tales of Two Cities"

Date: June 25, 7:30pm

Venue: Drama Theater of Shanghai Grand Theater

Tickets: 80-480 yuan (40 yuan for students and seniors over 65)

Tel: 6372-8702, 6327-1943, 6359-8032

Online booking:

"DELT ? A Site-Specific Dance Gala"

Date: June 19, 3pm, 5pm

Venue: Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Rd E.

Date: June 20, 2:30pm, 4:30pm

Venue: Plaza 353, 353 Nanjing Rd E.

Admission: Free


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