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News Highlights

City Contemporary Dance Company celebrates Eileen Chang's life and works at Shanghai Expo (with photos)

Hong Kong's City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) staged their new production, "Tales of Two Cities - Hong Kong. Shanghai. Eileen Chang" this evening (June 25) at World Expo 2010 Shanghai China (Shanghai Expo).

Choreographed by the internationally renowned Ms Helen Lai, the dance theatre was a HKSAR cultural programme for Shanghai Expo featuring a dynamic performance based on the life and works of legendary novelist Eileen Chang. It was presented at the Drama Theatre of the Shanghai Grand Theatre with tickets sold out before the show.

Ms Lai said: "I have long been an admirer of Ms Chang's books. I decided to choreograph the dance work as a tribute to her in what would have been her 90th year."

Ms Chang died in 1995 in Los Angeles, USA.

Ms Lai said she got the idea for the performance after seeing a photo of Ms Chang as an elderly woman. She translated her idea into a montage of dance movements, music and text. Scenes from Ms Chang's popular works, including "Love in a Fallen City" and "Aloeswood Incense: The First Brazier" were re-interpreted for the production.

The performance tells the stories of Shanghai and Hong Kong, the two most dynamic powerhouses in China, through the eyes of Eileen Chang in her twilight years.

It incorporates intriguing flashbacks to the writer's golden days as well as some of the characters she created and is performed to Western and Chinese music. Classically trained dancers from the CCDC play the role of Ms Chang and other characters.

Ms Lai has been hailed as "a choreographer's choreographer" by Chinese contemporary dance master Lin Hwaimin, and Time Out Beijing described her as "Hong Kong's master choreographer". Modern Weekly wrote that her uniqueness was characterised by her subtlety and her advocacy in the integration of drama, music and limbs to develop the concept of "dance theatre". The CCDC, established in 1979, has been described by the media as the "artistic soul of contemporary Hong Kong" and enjoys critical acclaim worldwide for its prolific repertoire encompassing 200 original works.

"Tales of Two Cities" was the second piece to be presented by the CCDC for Expo after its site-specific dance gala "DELT" on June 19 and 20.

During the Shanghai Expo period, 24 groups from Hong Kong will participate in 26 programmes comprising 70 performances at the Expo site and other prominent performing arts venues. Four visual arts exhibitions will also be presented as key components of the cultural programme.

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