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Festival catches dance legends on film and video


The Leisure and Cultural Services Department presents precious films and videos featuring the legendary Rudolf Nureyev, top international ballerina Sylvie Guillem and Germany's brightest choreographers Pina Bausch and Sasha Waltz in "2-D Dancing: Movement in Image".

The programme takes place on September 19-28 at the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA).

A seminar, "Who is Rudolf Nureyev?", takes place on September 20 at 4:30pm at the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Science Museum. Dance critic Margaret Lau and choregrapher Yuri Ng will unravel the mysterious persona of one of the 20th century's most enigmatic legends with the aid of photos and footage drawn from their private collections.

On September 29 at 4:30pm at the Cinema of the HKFA, columnist/trend-setter Winifred Lai and choreographer Dick Wong will together explore the fascinating dialogue between dance and fashion. A special screening of the condensed version of Pina Bausch's "The Window Cleaner" will be shown.

Both seminars will be conducted in Cantonese.

"A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev", will pay homage to the great Russian-born dancer and choreographer, who died in 1993.

Among the films to be screened as part of this series are "Romeo and Juliet", showing Nureyev and his frequent partner Margot Fonteyn at the height of their powers, and "Don Quixote", which marked Nureyev's directorial debut and confirmed his standing as a complete artist. "This is Rudolf Nureyev", is a rare documentary showing his first performance in the classic "Raymonda" for the Royal Ballet touring company. It includes the two versions of "Le Corsaire" as well as "Young Man and Death". Finally, "Dancing Through Darkness" tackles the last decade of Nureyev's life as he struggled with private tragedy, ill health and his continuing struggle to transform the Paris Opera Ballet.

"Romeo and Juliet", "Don Quixote" and "This is Rudolf Nureyev" are in newly restored 35mm prints.

The series "Dear Ballerina: Sylvie Guillem" focuses on one of the dance world's biggest contemporary stars, who dazzles audiences with a sparkling brilliance that extends far beyond the boundaries of the traditional dance stage.

Guillem joined the Paris Opera Ballet at the age of 16, and it took her only five days to be promoted from soloist to the top rank. "Guillem at Work" showcases her early years as one of the company's "etoiles" and contains precious footage of her performance in William Forsythe's "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated". In "Guillem (2000)", she talked publicly about her life and work for the first time. The film includes rehearsal footage of "Giselle", her proudest creation. And Guillem's adventurous spirit and exquisite taste, reflected in her ability to integrate classical ballet and modern dance, are on full display in the film "Evidentia".

Among her many other achievements, the avant-garde choreographer Pina Bausch is famous for once placing an ad in a German newspaper that began, "Pina Bausch Searching for Ladies and Gentlemen Over 65......". It drew immediate response from senior citizens and dance lovers. The film "Ladies and Gentlemen over 65" documents the process of recruiting, training and rehearsing the elderly cast for a revival of a Bausch work. It draws a collective portrait of a group of retirees who find a fulfilling new life in the most unlikely place: the dance stage.

Known as Germany's brightest choreographer since Bausch, Sasha Waltz's debut house production "Body", the first installment of a trilogy, stunned the theatre and dance communities in 2000. In the concluding installment, "NoBody", she achieves that which would seem to be physically impossible: making the human body disappear into an art form. On a double bill with "Body" is Boris Charmatz's controversial work "Aatt enen tionon".

Taiwan's Cloud Gate Dance Theatre is the best known internationally of Asia's contemporary dance groups, and its initiative in turning its productions into dance videos is unprecedented in Asia. "Bamboo Dream" is the latest film created by Lin Hwai-min and hailed as his best yet, with the most inspiring and picturesque choreography.

"Selling Hong Kong", specially compiled by Dick Wong, is a collection of features produced by local choreographers, including Afa Chiang, Edwin Lung, Daniel Yeung.

"Fase" is the signature piece by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and has been hailed as one of the most important works in the new European dance movement. In addition to the filmed version of "Fase", admirers can gain a rare glimpse of the master choreographer at work in "Dance Notes (Corps, Accords)", which was the first time De Keersmaeker allowed a camera into her creative universe.

Not to be missed is "Dancing on Speed" which consists of five shorts from Belgium and the Netherlands. Highlights include "It" and "Rien de rien" by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, honoured as Best Young Choreographer at the recent Nijinsky Awards in Monte Carlo.

Two screenings of dance video/films produced by Wim Vandekeybus are scheduled for the Lecture Hall of Kwai Tsing Theatre. The award-winning "Roseland" will be shown with the short "Sliver" on September 7; "In Spite of Wishing and Wanting" and the multiple award winner "Inasmuch" will be shown on September 21. Vandekeybus himself will be present for the second screening, which will be followed by a discussion in English of his work.

Tickets priced at $50 per screening are available at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients.

A 10% discount will be offered for each purchase of tickets to "Blush" by Wim Vandekeybus/ Ultima Vez (Belgium) and "2-D Dancing: Movement in Image". Patrons can also enjoy a 10% discount for each purchase of six to ten tickets and a 20% discount for each purchase for 11 or more tickets.

For programme information call 2734 2900 or visit Reservations can be made be phone at 2734 9009 or on the internet at

End/Thursday, August 21, 2003

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