The Hong Kong Ballet teams up with M+ to put on "Beyond Carbon: The Climate Change Project", an immersive experience intended to spark debate on climate change. Postponed due to the fifth wave, the show is due to run in mid-March.

Climate change may not be the typical subject matter for a classical dance company, but the Hong Kong Ballet is committed to pushing the boundaries in its Beyond Carbon: The Climate Change Project production at M+, the city’s museum of visual culture. International and local choreographers created 12 dance works based on what they view as the most imminent environmental crises. Three of the choreographers discuss their works with us.

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Carbon Footprint by Kyle Lin Chang-yuan, a Hong Kong Ballet corps de ballet dancer

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Above Kyle Lin Chang-yuan. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Ballet.
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Above Carbon Footprint by Kyle Lin Chang-yuan. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Ballet.

The sustainability decisions we make in our daily lives are increasing our carbon footprints. I want my new work to be dramatic and visually impactful for the audience. As the dancers move around the white paper on the floor, the ink on their bodies leaves black stains everywhere, serving as a metaphor for the irrevocable pollution damage we are doing to our environment.

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The Measures by Stephen Shropshire, choreographer, curator and independent dance researcher

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Above Stephen Shropshire. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Ballet.

Being from Miami and now living in the Netherlands, I am well aware of the effects of climate change. Consider only the recent devastating floods in the south of the Netherlands when the River Maas broke its banks, or the increased severity and frequency of tropical storms and hurricanes in Miami. The choreography embodies the climate crisis not as an abstract idea but a material problem. There is an obstacle that challenges the choreography. This obstacle might be understood as a flood, a virus or a raging fire. But it is through this obstacle—in the collision of technique, concept and form—that something about the climate crisis might be conveyed.

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The Lost Season by Ricky Hu, Hong Kong Ballet’s choreographer-in-residence

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Above Ricky Hu. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Ballet.
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Above The Lost Season at M+. Photo by Keith Hiro. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Ballet.

My work is about the temperature rise in the past century; people weren’t so aware of the change until the coronavirus lockdown. With decreased human activities, we are suddenly amazed by the revival of ocean life or the re-emergence of the Himalayan peaks from smog. In my work, a dancer is gradually engulfed by a red cape that turns into a balloon, which symbolises time. It shows how we’ve been oblivious to being suffocated by our actions all these years.

Beyond Carbon: The Climate Change Project will be postponed to mid-March 2022.

Editor's note: Social distancing rules are currently in force for various businesses and venues in Hong Kong, please make sure you follow the latest government guidelines and be responsible when participating in public events. All the events mentioned in the article are still happening on the date of original publication, please refer to the event organisers’ official websites and social media platforms for the latest information.

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