Dance Review on "Negotiation" at New Vision Arts Festival

28 Dec 2018 | Ashley

In the rare instances where I would confuse Hong Kong City Hall with Hong Kong Cultural Centre, this happened on the day of the performance in early November. The show "Negotiation" was supposed to be at Hong Kong City Hall, but I was at Cultural Centre instead. Luckily, I could still catch the show, except the very first bits, maybe the first 15 minutes of it. Anyways, I am saying this just to be fair. I am writing about the parts which I have seen.

Handout for the show

"Negotiation" is majorly a dance performance, choreographed and performed by Olé Khamachania from Laos, and Picket Klunchun from Thailand. They incorporated traditional and hip-hop elements in their dance. From the name of the performance, we could understand that it is a piece negotiated between the traditional and the new. There were some parts of their movements where they did something that resembled martial arts, or qi gong. I am not sure if they have that sort of movements in their culture but from my perspective, I could sense a hint of traditional Chinese elements. Moreover, I feel like there was a storyline between these two men, or a concept at least, which also surrounds negotiation. I felt like they were constantly in combat, until towards the end, they hugged each other for a very long time, and that was where they reconciled.

The set and lights were very simple. There were no props whatsoever, and the lights were basically white lights in squares and spotlights. The dancers were also only wearing black. What was interesting about their blocking, was that at the beginning, they did their own thing, very energetically, fit, ready to battle. Never did they look at each other in the eye or danced facing the same direction. Soon, they faced each other, this was when they really started their confrontation. Eventually, they hugged at the middle of the stage, as a luminous rectangle frame descended from above to trap them at where they were standing. It was actually a pretty peaceful scene. I liked the idea of the frame and how comfortable the dancers were with each other. Just a simple movement, a hug, could represent reconciliation. No complicated choreography, just what all humans are capable of doing, a hug.

This performance was quite nice. It was nothing too crazy, nothing too extravagant, but it explored dance forms and human relationships. I thought the middle was a little less intriguing though, as the music was repetitive and visually, everything was extremely simple, but I appreciated how energetic and consistent the dancers were. They also had good chemistry together as they were rhythmically in sync when they performed.

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