Project HK: Shining the Limelight on Hong Kong’s Young Dancers

Having grown up with disposable film cameras, it is amazing to see how far we’ve come with photography. From drones to GoPros, the field for developing artistry is vast. The pairing of dance and photography has opened up new pathways for both dancers and artists. As the industry is changing, it is important to create opportunities for our youth to explore the possibilities in art and dance.

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Capturing the incomparable character of the city and the brilliance of young dancers, PROJECT HK is a creative photography and dance based art project that features stunning photographs of Hong Kong’s talented youth!

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With the emergence of other photography projects which feature professional dancers amongst scenic cityscapes, PROJECT HK was developed to create an opportunity for children to engage in these creative photography projects. The first of its kind in Hong Kong, PROJECT HK captures photographs of young dancers amongst some of the city’s most iconic landmarks!

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These ravishing photos share the gems and best-kept-secrets of Hong Kong, highlighting the contrast between the busy, modern and cosmopolitan cityscape versus the tranquil, historic and breath-taking views of Hong Kong’s natural landscapes.

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Dance photography is not an easy thing to do, as it requires capturing art in motion. A particularly remarkable aspect of PROJECT HK, is the process that was required to snap these stunning photos. Notoriously known for its dense population, the hubs of Hong Kong are crowded, busy and booming. The dancers, photographer and crew needed to be quick and on their A-game to capture these photos. Though very talented, these dancers are still children, so it is truly commendable the energy, commitment and patience that these young folks had to sustain. Nevertheless, PROJECT HK provides an innovatively fun and challenging outlet for these young dancers to share their passion for dance and their home to the world!

 

Be sure to check out the full collection of photos from PROJECT HK! And maybe you’ll discover a few new spots in the city to snap your next jump shot or selfie!



Photo Credits: Twinkle Dance Company



Dance Costumes Made to Wow!

Bring that va-va-voom and wow factor to the stage, because we’re featuring some of the most amazing dance costumes from past professional dance productions. Get inspired and add a bit of pizzazz to your next casual Friday outfit!

 

Puttin’ On The Ritz with all that Glitz

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Put on your chicest pair of sunglasses before you hit the theatre, because this costume glimmers, glares and sparkles! First staged by The Royal Ballet, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a spectacular ballet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. The feet of eight dancers on pointe appear In the iconic scene where the caterpillar enters the stage. As if the synchronised movements of the ballerinas weren’t spectacular enough, they each wore a pair of royal blue pointe shoes embellished with crystals. The entire performance features the creative ingenuity of Bob Crowley’s costume designs. Besides the beautiful dancing and choreography that goes into a production, it’s important to recognise the role of the many artistic elements that bring this vision to life.

 

Borrowing from the Past

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Fashion is all about finding a balance between the past, present and future. When costume designers create innovative costumes for a dance production, they tend to borrow from the past and project the future. Hong Kong Dance Company’s production of Red Poppies featured a wealth of culture, heritage, and innovative designs. Borrowing elements of traditional Tibetan garments, Cui Binghua’s costumes incorporate intriguing designs while showcasing the beauty of Liu Lingli’s choreography. Chinese Dance costumes are known to marry fashion with function, creating a relationship in which the movement and the garments complement one another.

 

The Bigger, The Better

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“After all imagination is a beautiful thing” – Zora Neale Hurston

Reminding us where our creativity ignites, Alexei Ratmansky’s ballet Whipped Cream is all about releasing your wildest dreams. Performed by The American Ballet Theatre, this playful storyline is big and bold. The costumes designed by Mark Ryden are inspired by our favourite childhood candies, treats and pastries. Make sure to watch this ballet on a full stomach, or you’ll be growling for the next hour and a half.

 

‘Werk’ that Quirk

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Turning Hong Kong’s extreme working culture, into a technicolor ‘werking’ culture is Hong Kong Ballet’s 40th Anniversary ad campaign. It’s not easy to pull off these neon colours, let alone doing it in ballet tights and leotards. But Hong Kong Ballet brings out the fun and quirky characteristics of Hong Kong, while staying true to the strength, power and beauty of ballet.

 

Light it up!

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Kwok’s Kung Fu & Dragon Lion Dance Team is transforming tradition by lighting up local Hong Kong festivities with an LED Lion Dance. As the leader of the dance troupe, Andy Kwok is all about keeping up with the times while still honouring heritage and tradtion. The LED Lion Dance features lights on the costume that are coordinated to the rhythm of the music. These lions know how to break it down on the dance floor with some hip hop, and they can literally light up any party!

A dash of Pumpkin Spice

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Cinderella is notoriously known for her glass slipper and pumpkin carriage, two things that no one in their right mind would ever bring to a ball (though I’m sure someone from the Met Gala could prove me wrong). Nevertheless, Cinderella is a fairytale…which means that anything goes! James Kudelka’s ballet production of Cinderella performed by The National Ballet of Canada was filled with imaginatively fantastical costumes. David Boechler’s costume designs featured the classical elements of ballet, whilst adding light-hearted humour to this ‘all too serious’ art form. The mascot-like pumpkin heads that the male dancers wore during the waltz scene was just the right amount of pumpkin spice!

Thou Costume is Blazing

To dance or not to dance, that is the question. To dance, obviously! Crystal Pite’s contemporary choreographic work, The Tempest Replica is based on motifs of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. Performed by Kidd Pivot, these dancers are transformed into unworldly beings by Nancy Bryant’s brilliant costumes. These designs are no basic plain white T-shirts, the details are in the seams from head to toe.

Fashion is not exclusive to the runway or red carpets, it’s everywhere we go, but it is also an important part of dance. So next time you catch a dance performance, pay attention to the other artistic elements of the performance and see what you discover!


Photo Credits: 1. Photo by Dean Alexander, Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet | 2. Photo by Johan Persson, Courtesy of The Royal Ballet © ROH / Johan Persson 2013 | 3. Photo by Crystal Kwok, Courtesy of Hong Kong Dance Company | 4. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy of American Ballet Theatre | 5. Photo by Dean Alexander, Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet | 6. Photo by Kyle Ford | 7. Photo by Bruce Zinger, Courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada | 8. Photo by Jörg Baumann, Courtesy of Kidd Pivot







Dance Away the Summer Slump

Keeping Up Your Dance Training Over the Summer Holidays

  

The school year can build up a lot of stress, so it’s only natural that we use our summer holiday to relax and recharge. But beware of the summer slump! As dancers, the skills we trained so hard for during the year can deteriorate if we don’t do any supplementary body training over the summer.

It is possible to take a break from dancing while still exercising the mind and body to maintain your skills. Here, we’ve worked up a list of ideas to help incorporate some basic training to target your body coordination, endurance, balance, flexibility and last but not least, your creativity and artistry.

 

Body Coordination

Firstly, raise your right hand, and now your left. You still got it! Jokes aside, here are a couple of ways to incorporate some body coordination exercises into your summer holiday.

  • The Classic Catch: Whether you have a dog, or happen to be outdoors with your family, there’s always time for a classic throw and catch with a ball. If this is too easy, challenge yourself by training your non-dominant hand. The classic catch doesn’t always have to be with a ball, you can always spice up your beach outings with a frisbee!

  • Hula-Hoop: Bring a little island breeze of Hawaii into your summer by picking up the hula-hoop! This childhood pastime is truly beneficial for all ages. What may have seemed “easy” as a child, is actually harder than you think! The hula-hoop involves the entire body, and there is a lot of micromanaging that goes on to keep that hula-hoop circling around. Plus, you can experiment with all the ways of playing with a hula-hoop; around your ankle, your wrist, the possibilities are endless!

 

Endurance

The portion of training that most of us dread is endurance, because it implies time, sweat and effort. Endurance is important for dancers, as it allows us to perform our best over long periods of time. Check out these ways of keeping the blood flowing, and the lungs happy!

  • Splash!: Who doesn’t love to jump into the pool, ocean or lake during the summer? Have a pool party, and swim with your friends. Of course, it may require a couple of races or playing games like water frisbee or badminton to really get your heart rate up.

  • Skipping Rope: Work on your double dutch skills by skipping rope. Not only is this good for your coordination and balance, it is also great for your endurance.

  • Trampoline: Feeling weightless for a millisecond is indescribably fun. Plus nowadays, you can go to an indoor trampoline gym that offers dodgeball amongst many other activities.

 

Balance

We all love to prove that we have good balance. I’m not talking about work-life balance, though that’s important too. We’re talking about working on ankle stability, the core and proprioception.

  • What’s SUP?: Stand-up paddle boarding is a summertime favourite. And the ultimate reward for your good balance is not getting your hair wet! Paddle your way to new views, whilst working on your core, legs, arms, and of course your balance.

  • Standing in Sand: Find your way to the beach, and try out some balancing Yoga poses on the sand. The uneven and soft surface is a great way to work on your ankle stability. And if that’s too easy, try closing your eyes while you balance and enjoy the sounds of the waves!

 

Flexibility

There are some obvious contenders for working on your flexibility over the summer, like yoga, or well…yoga. But here are some other ways to incorporate a little stretch into your routine!

  • Massage: Summer is for relaxing, so rejuvenate those muscle fibres by treating yourself to a massage. Whether visiting a registered massage therapist, or investing in some at-home massage equipment (foam rollers, foot massagers, etc.), a massage allows the body to open up, creating space so that we can start stretching and moving more effectively.

  • Aqua Stretch: Stretching in the pool can be a lot of fun, as we take away the strain of gravity on our joints. The ledge makes for a wonderful ballet barre or wall to help you create resistance in your stretches.

Creativity and Artistry

There’s plenty of summertime activities that can boost your creative eye. Here’s just a few suggestions.

  • Snap that!: We live in a society obsessed with photography, so why not snap some fun summer shots? Underwater cameras like the GoPro are great for capturing some captivating photos of sea creatures, or even your friends doing fun and fancy poses under the sea! Work towards creating a summer album, of all your most memorable adventures.

  • Outdoor Doodles: Whether you are going to the beach, forest, or park bring along a sketchbook and some pencils, or watercolour paints. Let nature inspire you, and start creating your masterpiece! If this sounds like too much work, then find a nice tarmac or sidewalk and start creating some chalk art.

 

There’s no excuse now to fall into a summer slump, because we are always surrounded by plenty of options and things to do! By experiencing new forms of physical activity and summer adventures, we are enhancing both our versatility in dance as well as our artistic thinking. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and don’t forget to add a little spark!

Photo Credit: Dancewear Centre Canada

Family Game Night: Dance Edition

Fun Dance Games for Everyone!

The dice have been rolled, and nothing but anticipation and suspense fills the air, and… woohoo! You win!

Some of our favourite childhood memories are stowed away in a storage unit, closet or attic. Those were the days, when the whole family sat around the dining room table or on the living room rug and played boardgames.

Spice up your next Family Game Night with these dance inspired games!

 

Get Silly with Strictly Come Dancing: The Board Game!

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Because being serious, is seriously overrated, get ready to giggle and groove with this Cha Chamazing boardgame. Based on the hit Ballroom and Latin Dance Competition TV series, Strictly Come Dancing, this game combines trivia, dance moves, and pure family fun! Get up on your feet and start shaking those Habanera hips, because Strictly Come Dancing will get you performing dance-offs and taking on histarically hilarious challenges.

 

Can you remember…? Test your Memory with Top Dance! Just Dance

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Lost your keys again? Train your memory with Top Dance! Just DanceJust Dance is known for its fancy choreography, pumped up moves, and catchy tunes! Top Dance! Just Dance takes elements of our favourite dance video game and brings it to the board. This game is basically a series of flash cards, except that instead of flashing words or math equations, these cards have dance moves on them. While a key player performs different movement combinations from the cards they’ve drawn, other players must test their ability to recognize and observe, as they try to match the movement cards to the key player’s dance combo. Who doesn’t love a game that’s fun and trains the brain. Dancers are known to have impeccable memorization skills. So start studying those dance moves!

 

Take a Throwback Thursday with Twister

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Getting tangled between other people’s hands and feet, and holding shapes for long periods of time may not sound like dancing, but Twister is a great way of moving the body and training your balance, problem solving… and even a bit of flexibility. Though this game is for both young and old, it is fantastic way of teaching little ones about the body and colours. The ultimate icebreaker to any party, Twister will have everybody smiling and laughing in no time!

 

Bump to the beat with Bop it! Game

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All the millennials out there can remember this game, as it was a 90’s sensation. Hasbro has bopped out the old, and bopped in the new with Bop it! Game! Adding a couple of new moves, such as “selfie it”, “golf it” and “comb it”, Bop it! Game now uses motion technology to test out whether these youngsters can keep up with the original Bop it! masters. Make your next family game night a Bop it! dance battle, and have loads of fun with this multigenerational game!

 

Start creating those memories that will last a lifetime! The ones that get us away from the television screen, or our mobile phones and allow us to see the laughter and smiles on our loved ones’ faces. Stir up that competitive spirit, and start your next family game night with a little shake, twist, or bop!



Photo Credits: Dancewear Centre, John Adams Leisure LTD, Buzzy Games, and Hasbro

Hop till you Drop!

An Overview of Hong Kong Dance Moms’ Summer Dance Intensive: Studio Hopping 2019 

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From Sha Tin to Central, our Studio Hopping 2019 event reached near and far, covering all sorts of dance styles across this great city of Hong Kong! Geared towards children, our week long Summer Dance Intensive gave students the opportunity to explore various dance forms and exposed them to different ways of teaching and learning. Not only did this event give young aspiring dancers a chance to learn some new moves, but it also opened up new possibilities for our local dance studios and schools across Hong Kong to share their wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills in dance education.

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Connecting our local dance community, Hong Kong Dance Moms partnered with ten different dance studios to offer a variety of dance classes for children between the ages of 3-10. Making sure our event was accessible for all, we offered students the chance to select 5 different dance classes for a nominal fee. Bringing the world of dance to our very own backyard, students didn’t even need to go away on summer holiday to experience new cultures, as they learned Ballet, K-Pop, Jazz, Hip Hop, Kathak(Indian Classical Dance), Tahitian Dance, Belly Dance, Street Jazz, Urban Dance, and Musical Jazz.

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Though these new encounters between dance teachers and students were brief, it was fantastic to see that this event created a bridge for dance studios and aspiring young dancers to meet and explore the possibilities in dance! Part of the journey of dance is in discovering new challenges, both the highs and lows. Though a child’s first step in dance may seem plain and simple, there is actually so much complexity to what they are experiencing. It’s not just about the dance steps they are learning, it’s also about the interaction between the student and their teachers, peers, parents, and their exposure to the body, different languages, vocabulary and space. Studio Hopping 2019 was one small step for dance and one giant leap for our participants!

We couldn’t help but break into a happy dance when we received so much buzz and interest in our event, we truly thank you all for your support! A big thank you to our partnering dance studios; Academy of Dance, BE Dance Academy, Dream Dimension, Ellumination Dance Studio, G-Kids Dance Academy, SGM Dance Production, Studio Assemblé, Trio Spin Studio, Twinkle Dance Company, and Yaya Kids Dance!