Author: Natasha Rogai

Originally from London, Natasha Rogai has lived in Hong Kong since 1997 and is the dance critic of the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English language daily newspaper. She writes regularly for The Dancing Times and was a long-time contributor to Balletco. She is Secretary of the Hong Kong Dance Alliance, the local branch of the World Dance Alliance.

Under are the articles written for DanceTabs. Reviews on Balletco
Trisha Brown Company in Set and Reset.© Julieta Cervantes. (Click image for larger version)

Dance at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2014: Trisha Brown, Akram Khan, Pina Bausch, Jockey Club Series

The 2014 Arts Festival offered contemporary dance from established international masters along with new wave work from Asia, Scandinavia and Hong Kong itself.

Lusymay Di Stefano and Claudio Coviello in [I]Giselle[/I].© Marco Brescia and Rudy Amisano, Teatro alla Scala. (Click image for larger version)

Ballet at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2014: La Scala Ballet in Giselle & Scottish Ballet in Highland Fling

The Festival kicked off with two classical ballet companies presenting very different versions of the oldest and most celebrated Romantic ballets in the repertoire: a classic rendering of Giselle and a radically different take on La Sylphide…

Poster for Mulan.© Hong Kong Dance Company. (Click image for larger version)

Hong Kong Dance Company – Mulan – Hong Kong

The production provides a welcome showcase for the power and virtuosity of the company’s men who are on magnificent form, led by the splendid Chen Jun.

Eifman Ballet in Anna Karenina.© Hana Kudryashova. (Click image for larger version)

Eifman Ballet – Anna Karenina – Hong Kong

Quintessential Eifman packed with athletic choreography, striking theatrical effects and superb dancing, it makes gripping entertainment if not high art.

CCDC in Lai Tak-wai's Timeline.© Cheung Chi Wai. (Click image for larger version)

City Contemporary Dance Company – It’s My Turn showcase – Hong Kong

It’s My Turn is the 2013 edition of City Contemporary Dance Company’s annual showcase for new choreography… Although this wasn’t a vintage year, all four pieces offered something to enjoy…

Poster for Hong Kong Dance Company in Masquerade.Photo © Workhouse Limited. (Click image for larger version)

Hong Kong Dance Company – Masquerade – Hong Kong

The show is lively, entertaining and features stand-out performances in the leading roles

Poster image for Geneva Ballet's Romeo and Juliet.© GTG/Magali Dougados. (Click image for larger version)

Geneva Ballet – Romeo and Juliet – Hong Kong

Bouvier’s concept is valid and interesting, the execution less satisfying. She is certainly a talented choreographer and produces some striking images…

Maria Alexandrova in The Flames of Paris.© Damir Yusupov. (Click image for larger version)

Bolshoi Ballet – Flames of Paris – Moscow

The Bolshoi Ballet are touring ‘The Flames of Paris’ to London this summer – but Natasha Rogai recently caught up with it in Moscow for us. So what shape is the company in?

Polina Semionova in Romeo and Juliet.© and provided by HK Leisure & Cultural Services Department(Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Hong Kong Arts Festival Season – Hong Kong

The season began with a high-energy mixed bill which showed the company on sparkling form.

A 1973 poster for the ballet held on chineseposters.net

Shanghai Ballet – White-Haired Girl – Hong Kong

Ideological qualms aside, White Haired Girl is an odd bird. The choreography is a hybrid between textbook classical vocabulary and Chinese opera, an idea interesting in itself but here executed with a lack of imagination…

City Contemporary Dance Company in The Comedy Of K.© Conrad Dy-Liacco. (Click image for larger version)

City Contemporary Dance Company – The Comedy Of K – Hong Kong

City Contemporary Dance Company’s closing show of 2012 was a welcome revival of Helen Lai’s 2004 The Comedy of K, a seminal work which shows this celebrated choreographer at the height of her powers.

Nutcracker on Ice.© Imperial Ice Stars. (Click image for larger version)

Imperial Ice Stars – The Nutcracker on Ice – Hong Kong

“While this may not be a Nutcracker for those looking for subtlety or sophistication, it’s a fun show designed to thrill adults as well as children.

Tang Shu-Wing and Xing Liang's Thunderstorm.© Yvonne Chan. (Click image for larger version)

Tang Shu-Wing Theatre Studio – Thunderstorm – Hong Kong

…an outstanding production which deserves to be seen again.

City Contemporary Dance Company in Fighter.© Conrad Dy-Liacco. (Click image for larger version)

City Contemporary Dance Company – Stripteaser 2012: dance meets fashion – Hong Kong

City Contemporary Dance Company’s Stripteaser 2012 offers four short works created by different choreographers, each working with – and supposedly drawing inspiration from – a local fashion designer.

Rambert Dance Company in Monolith.© Chris Nash. (Click image for larger version)

Rambert Dance Company – Hush, Monolith, Faune, What Wild Ecstasy – Hong Kong

The choice of programme was something of a curate’s egg – disappointingly so in view of the company’s rich repertoire – but two out of the four works were excellent and the dancing was spectacular.

Hong Kong Dance Company in Spring Ritual-Eulogy.© Conrado Dy-Liacco. (Click image for larger version)

Hong Kong Dance Company – Spring Ritual-Eulogy – Hong Kong

Overall, this thoughtful piece confirms Yang as a choreographer of intelligence and originality. Design, lighting and music are all excellent, as is the dancing from this fine ensemble company.

Itzik Galili's The Sofa in the 4 Tendances programme. © Sigrid Colomyes. (Click image for larger version)

Bordeaux Opera Ballet – In The Steps Of Petipa and 4 Tendances – Hong Kong

The company brought two contrasting programmes, one classical, In the Steps of Petipa, and one modern, 4 Tendances (Four Tendencies). Of the two, the dancers looked far more at home in the contemporary pieces…

City Contemporary Dance Company in Blind Chance. © Cheung Chi Wai. (Click image for larger version)

City Contemporary Dance Company – Blind Chance – Hong Kong

Dominic Wong is one of Hong Kong’s more unpredictable choreographers. Each new work he creates seems to explore a new direction and Blind Chance, his latest creation for City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), is no exception.

Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo's Le Songe (A Midsummer Night's Dream). © Marie-Laure Briane.

Les Ballets De Monte Carlo – Le Songe – Hong Kong

Anyone who went to Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s Le Songe, artistic director Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream expecting a family show will have been in for a shock. Packed with graphic sexual imagery from start to finish, this is the kind of production that has small children asking “What are they doing, Mummy?”…

Maguy Marin's Grosse Fugue. © Michel Cavalca.

Lyon Opera Ballet – Hong Kong Arts Festival quad bill – Hong Kong

Grosse Fugue by Maguy Marin… Performed with energy by the dancers and received with rapturous applause by some of the audience, this is either genius at work or less fun than watching paint dry, depending on your point of view.

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