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News Highlights

Willy Tsao conducts modern dance master class at Tongji University (with photos)

The Founder and Artistic Director of the City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), Willy Tsao, today (June 22) introduced the concept of modern dance and its basic techniques to university students in a master class at Tongji University in Shanghai.

Some 25 students attended the class, one of the extension activities in collaboration with Shanghai universities that is riding on the HKSAR's cultural programme for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

"I have established a long-standing relationship in cultural collaboration with Mainland organisations," said Mr Tsao.

"I first led the CCDC in touring China in 1980 and then later to Shanghai. This year, we were invited to perform twice at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

"Last weekend (June 19 and 20) we presented 'DELT - a site-specific dance gala' in two Shanghai shopping arcades and the response was overwhelming."

DELT stands for "Dressing, Eating, Living, and Travelling", which are regarded as essential elements of everyday life for young people in Hong Kong.

The performances in Shanghai Times Square and PLAZA 353 used modern dance to showcase these elements in different surroundings. The artists improvised their routines to draw the audience into the performance leading up to a climax in the centre of the stage.

Mr Tsao said: "During the performances, I noticed that while the dancers moved fluidly around the crowds inside the malls, the visitors were happy to enjoy a close and personal experience with contemporary dance.

"The audience became very excited as they found themselves no longer the observers but participants at certain moments, responsible for creating and completing the dance work."

Mr Tsao said he was happy to connect with college students and share his ideas on modern dance as well as introduce basic techniques during his master class.

"I hope the students enjoyed the master class and through it, discovered the joy of modern dance," he said.

Mr Tsao established CCDC in 1979 and has been its Artistic Director since 1989. His recent choreographic works include "One Table N Chairs", "The Conqueror", "Warrior Lanling" and "Dao.Extraordinaire".

His works have been presented in arts festivals in Canada, Korea, Israel, Germany and Singapore as well as in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei.

Other extension activities to be held jointly with universities under the HKSAR Expo programme will include a demonstration workshop by Theatre du Pif at Shanghai University. On June 18, renowned theatre director Edward Lam conducted "An Open Class on Urban Trilogy" at Fudan University in Shanghai to introduce his latest production "Grand Expectations".

During the Shanghai Expo period from May to October, 24 groups from Hong Kong will participate in 26 programmes comprising 70 performances at the Shanghai Expo site and other prominent performing arts venues in Shanghai.

The next performance will be the CCDC's "Tales of Two Cities – Hong Kong. Shanghai. Eileen Chang", a tribute to the legendary writer commemorating the 90th anniversary of Ms Chang's birth. It will be presented this Friday (June 25) at the Drama Theatre of the Shanghai Grand Theatre.

For full details and ticketing information of the Expo performances, please visit the Event Calendar section on Hong Kong's Expo website, www.hkexpo2010.gov.hk.