“Spotlight Hong Kong” Closing Ceremony

Article By Alison Ng

With up-scale stores and a beautiful view of Columbus circle, the Time Warner Center is usually filled with leisurely tourists and fashionable shoppers; on February 3, however, the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office decided to change things up a bit with their closing ceremony of the “Spotlight Hong Kong – East-meets-West Arts and Culture in Frames” exhibition. The early afternoon not only brought remarks and performances to the 2nd floor of the center, but also eager press outlets and flashing cameras that halted onlookers.

The “Spotlight Hong Kong” exhibition, which featured various art pieces showcasing Hong Kong and Chinese culture, was opened to the public from February 25th – March 3rd on the 2nd floor of the Time Warner Center building. The display included several costumes from the Hong Kong Dance Company’s upcoming The Legend of Mulan performance at Lincoln Center, one of which was Mulan’s (Pan Lingjuan) battle dress in the show. It also included four paintings by Michael Sloan, which depicted Hong Kong street markets and vendors, and famous movie posters signed by the actors. In addition, there were three photographs that showcased Hong Kong culture: dragon and lion dances and dragon boat racing.

Speakers of the event included Steve Barclay (Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office), Yuntao Yang (Artistic Director of the HK Dance Company), Wilson Fung (Vice Chairman of the HK Dance Company), and Winston Wang (Deputy Director of Culture Exchanges Division, China Arts & Entertainment Group). While Barclay’s remarks ended the exhibition, the other speakers’ statements opened the story of the Hong Kong Dance Company’s The Legend of Mulan. It makes it first debut outside of Asian at the David H. Koch Theater.

The Legend of Mulan ballet is based off of China’s legendary hero, Mulan, the character in the Ballad of Mulan, a Chinese poem that dates back to the 5th century. It tells the story of Mulan, a peasant girl who disguised as a man in order to take her aged father’s place in the army. After many years of battle, she gave up her position at court to return home.

“[The Ballad of Mulan] was told in the form of poetry, in a plain but lyrical style, immensely rich in aura and imagery. It naturally reminds one of the language and expression of dance,” Yuntao said. “In capturing its poetic spirit, HK Dance Company transforms the narrative voice into dance movement, and pays meticulous attention on the aesthetical effect of the dance.”

Fung also noted that it was an honor for HK Dance Company to be back in the U.S. to perform and that they were thrilled to share The Legend of Mulan with New York.

After, Lingjuan Pan, who plays the role of Mulan in the ballet, performed a small piece for the audience. With a long stick, she demonstrated Mulan’s determination right before joining the army, dancing with fluidity and determined emotion.

The event also featured violinist CheHo Lam, who performed a three minute except of “Butterfly Lovers.” Composed by Chen Gang and He Zhanhao, the violin concerto was created as a musical
adaptation of the famous story, The Butterfly Lovers. In the story, a woman disguises herself as a man in order to go to school. There, she falls in love with a male classmate who does not know she is a woman. While the romance between the characters is tragic, the couple is reunited after dying by turning into a pair of butterflies.

Overall, the closing ceremony of the “Spotlight Hong Kong – East-meets-West Arts and Culture in Frames” exhibition not only offered great remarks, but also introduced the Hong Kong Dance Company’s The Legend of Mulan.

Performances of The Legend of Mulan will be staged at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center with four performances from March 5th – March 7th.

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