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City Contemporary Dance Company brings Eileen Chang's novels to life for Shanghai Expo (with photos)

Hong Kong's City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) will stage a new production for Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo) that is based on the famous works of legendary novelist Eileen Chang.

Choreographed by Ms Helen Lai, "Tales of Two Cities - Hong Kong.Shanghai.Eileen Chang" will be presented on June 25 at the Drama Theatre of the Shanghai Grand Theatre. It is a HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo.

Ms Lai, the CCDC's resident choreographer, said: "Our production pays tribute to this renowned writer during a year that marks the 90th anniversary of her birth in Shanghai on September 30, 1920.

"Scenes of Ms Chang's popular works, including 'Love in a Fallen City' and 'Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier' are re-interpreted in our production."

Ms Lai said the dance would tell the stories of Shanghai and Hong Kong, the two most dynamic powerhouses in China, through the eyes of Ms Chang, who died in 1995 in Los Angeles, USA.

"The idea of the dance originated from a rare photo of the writer in her final years and is translated into a montage of dance movements, music and text," Ms Lai said. The performance includes flashbacks to Ms Chang's younger days as well as traditional Chinese and Western music.

Ms Lai has been hailed as "a choreographer's choreographer" by Chinese contemporary dance master Lin Hwai-min, while the CCDC is dubbed by the media the "artistic soul of contemporary Hong Kong".

The CCDC, established in 1979, enjoys critical acclaim worldwide for its prolific repertoire encompassing 200 original works.

In another work that the dance company will bring to Shanghai for Shanghai Expo, CCDC Founder and Artistic Director Willy Tsao has joined two young and upcoming Hong Kong choreographers – Daniel Yeung and Ong Yong Lock – to present "DELT", a site-specific dance gala.

"DELT" is an acronym for "Dressing, Eating, Living, Travelling" and describes Hong Kong's unique culture and the lifestyle of modern Chinese.

It will be presented free of charge by the CCDC and BeijingDance/LDTX.

The performances, which are partly improvised and tailored to the setting, will take place at two of Shanghai's leading shopping malls - Shanghai Times Square and PLAZA 353 – on June 19 and 20 (Saturday and Sunday) respectively. Dancers will emerge from different corners of the shopping malls and interact with observers so that they too become part of the performance. The artists will eventually meet in the centre of the stage in a spectacular climax to the performance.

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

"DELT", a site-specific dance gala
Date: June 19 and 20, 2010
Time: 3pm and 5pm (June 19); 2.30pm and 4.30pm (June 20)
Venue: Shanghai Times Square (June 19) and PLAZA 353 (June 20)
Length: Approx 1 hour
Free admission

"Tales of Two Cities – Hong Kong·Shanghai·Eileen Chang"
Date: June 25, 2010
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: Drama Theatre, Shanghai Grand Theatre
Length: Approx 65 minutes
Ticket price: RMB 480(VIP), 220, 150, 80
Online booking: www.shgtheatre.com , www.ticket2010.com
Ticketing enquiries (Shanghai): (+86 21) 6372 8702
Programme enquiries (HK): (+852) 2329 7803
(Shanghai): (+86) 1500 1938 277
CCDC website: www.ccdc.com.hk