Choreographer and filmmaker Sue Healey introduces a new series of work inspired by Hong Kong

Hong Kong has inspired hundreds of books (think Janice Y K Lee’s novels), films (almost all of Wong Kar-wai’s movies) and works of art (including Michael Wolf’s striking photographs). And now, in 2017, it’s inspired a whole series of dances.  

From November 1 – 3, Hongkongers can watch ON VIEW: HONG KONG, 10 new dances and short films inspired by the city. These videos are the result of an ambitious collaboration between the West Kowloon Cultural District, 10 dancers from Hong Kong, cinematographer Maurice Lai and Australian choreographer Sue Healey, who’s famous for weaving together the worlds of dance and film.

See also: 10 Hong Kong Events You Can’t Miss In October

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Above A still from the video featuring Mui Cheuk-yin. (Photo: Courtesy of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

While all the videos are available online, there will be a live performance at ArtisTree in Tai Koo Place on November 2 and 3. At these two events, the ten dancers will perform live in front of screens showcasing their videos, creating a thought-provoking, multi-layered work.

Before the live performances, we spoke with Australian choreographer Sue Healey on why dance and film are such perfect partners and why she loves working in Hong Kong.

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Above A still from the video featuring Ivy Tsui. (Photo: Courtesy of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

As well as choreographing live performances, you regularly make films about dance. What sparked your interest in combining dance and cinema?

Today we live in a screen culture—this is an undeniable fact. I believe that dance artists must work in this medium, or else we’ll be inundated with imagery that is shallow and only designed to advertise or superficially entertain.

Dance is a wonderful partner with film—both mediums are about movement. Dance is ephemeral, fleeting and disappears as soon as it is performed—this is its uniqueness and beauty of course, and it will always exist in a live form. But by filming dance, I can create an intimacy and a visual accuracy that is difficult to explore in live theatre. The camera can also reveal things that are impossible in a live sense. This is the magic that I love to work with.

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Above A still from the video featuring Joseph Lee. (Photo: Courtesy of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

What should audiences expect from ON VIEW: HONG KONG?

The ON VIEW series creates portraits and highlights the special qualities of dance artists. We often celebrate actors, musicians, singers, but such attention given to dancers is rare. The audience also gets to experience dance from unusual perspectives – from being very close to the action, by walking around the performers, to experiencing live and filmed dance in new ways.

How does Hong Kong inspire you personally?

Hong Kong is a fast-paced intense reality. Art can be an antidote to the craziness of the 21st century and I think there is real potential for the West Kowloon Cultural District to be a catalyst for extraordinary art-making and presentation in Hong Kong.

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Above ON VIEW: HONG KONG Rehearsal. (Photo: Courtesy of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority)

So far the ON VIEW series has been filmed in Australia. Why did you decide to extend the series to Hong Kong?

This was an easy decision as there are many wonderful dancers in Hong Kong. I chose 10 artists of different ages and experience, creating a diversity of dance languages, and revealing the extraordinary range of what dance can say.

ON VIEW: HONG KONG will be on show at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place from November 1 – 3. Live performances will take place at 8pm on November 2 and 3.

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