CONTEMPO LION DANCE | Hong Kong, Haw Par Music

Daniel Yeung is one of the most celebrated choreographers in Hong Kong: even his brief contribution to a mixed bill recently is its own masterpiece. But for a while now, Yeung has been interested in the quietly revolutionary blending of traditional Chinese street entertainment with traditional drama and contemporary dance.

This new project, as part of the Jockey Club New Arts Power programme, is also site-specific, with four legged lions dancing all around the gardens, roof and interior of Haw Par Mansion (also known as Tiger Balm Gardens), in a promenade performance (although we are, luxuriously, invited to sit at certain sections).

The performance begins with a tentative display of human acrobatics, including some stomach-lurching sideways jump rolls off walls, by Kwok’s Kung Fu & Dragon Lion Dance Team. Before long, a pantomime horse-style, four-legged lion has joined the scene, leaping across terrifyingly thin columns. Upstairs, playing the owner of Haw Par Mansion, musician and storyteller Chan Chi-kong regales us of his life in traditional Cantonese narrative singing style (known as nanyin), while the owner’s wife, played by Icey Lam, dances in traditional Chinese costume, and then in a flamenco style.

Hong Kong locals will definitely get more out of the show, knowing Cantonese, and knowing a rough history of this famous venue before attending. But English-speakers will marvel at the skill of the whole ensemble, and the venue itself.

Running for two performances only.

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