Pair of water-driven dance shows add splashes of symbolism and spectacle to New Vision Arts Festival

H2o is a contradictory component. It is the resource of lifetime, yet it is able of destroying life. We cannot endure devoid of it, but it can also make us awkward.

This year’s New Vision Arts Competition in Hong Kong, organised by the Leisure and Cultural Expert services Section, will see water perform a central purpose in two distinct dance displays.

The Japanese production Rain is co-made by Aichi Prefectural Art Theater and Dance Foundation Yokohama (DaBY). It was developed when Hiromitsu Katsumi, managing director of DaBY, and Eri Karatsu, government producer of Aichi Prefectural Art Theater and DaBY’s inventive director, approached choreographer Ryu Suzuki with the idea of adapting a typical small tale of the very same title into a dance performance about human interactions.

The tale Rain by British writer W. Somerset Maugham, initially published in 1921, is explained to from the viewpoint of Dr Macphail, whose travels by sea have taken him to an island in the South Pacific. There, a measles outbreak involves him to quarantine together with two missionaries, Mr and Mrs Davidson, as effectively as a prostitute, Miss Thompson.

The problem is designed even worse by torrential rain that retains everyone confined in one home. In the meantime, Overlook Thompson is in no way by yourself, with her ongoing sexual escapades overheard by Mr Davidson. He gets established to make her see the mistake of her means, but this seemingly perfectly-indicating effort and hard work inevitably brings about a lethal result.

The Japanese dance creation Rain, based on a quick tale by British writer W. Somerset Maugham, explores the matter of human interactions.

“I imagine the rain is used in this story as a metaphor of this oblique drive that surrounds us,” Suzuki states. “Dance is a single of individuals approaches extremely helpful at dealing with obscure subjects these types of as this.”

To design and style the set for Rain, installation artist Shinji Ohmaki generated lots of drawings and proposed a variety of components. But in the long run, the final decision was manufactured to adapt just one of his existing artworks, Liminal Air – Black Weight, which is composed of a large black rectangle produced of hanging nylon strings.

“Shinji’s idea of the function was to visualise the relation involving the mass and darkness in place,” Suzuki points out. “The authentic variation was established in 2012, a calendar year immediately after the big earthquake [in Japan] and the accident at the [Fukushima] nuclear electrical power plant in 2011.”

He adds: “For us Japanese, the image of black rain reminds us of the radiation and then all individuals stories linked with it, like from Hiroshima, Nagasaki or Fukushima. Those are invisible forces we are dealing with in this planet. And which is most likely why the final decision of employing Liminal Air was a all-natural just one.”

For the duration of the performance, dancers emerge from and vanish into the selection of black strings, introducing pressure and drama to the tale unfolding on stage.

The established design and style for Rain tailored an installation artwork by Shinji Ohmaki, titled Liminal Air – Black Excess weight, that consists of a big black rectangle created of hanging nylon strings.

In Japan, the manufacturing showcased celebrated ballerina Yui Yonezawa as Miss Thompson. For the shows at the New Vision Arts Competition, Zhang Yutong, a dancer from the Hong Kong Academy for Executing Arts, has been picked to take up the role.

Suzuki says of the choice: “Yutong has been accomplishing Chinese dance, and she is researching woman psychology. The part was at first made with Yui in brain, and I was wanting for another classically skilled dancer. But following looking at Yutong dance, I preferred to see her version of Skip Thompson.”

Rain also options an initial rating by Japanese musician and sound artist Evala. It will be introduced from November 10 to 12 in the Studio Theatre at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

An additional dance show remaining showcased at the New Vision Arts Pageant is Ink, established by internationally acclaimed Greek choreographer Dimitris Papaioannou and which also marks his return to the stage as a dancer soon after a 10 years.

Actual water plays a key position in this two-man or woman performance, with a sprinkler soaking the phase as Papaioannou, dressed in all black, faces off in a duel of movement in opposition to a nude figure, executed by German dancer Šuka Horn.

Papaioannou claims the exhibit was born out of issues about human wishes. “The love we motivation, are we ready to acquire it when it arrives? Or do we demolish it when it comes?” he provides. “Is drive a monster that feeds upon its non-fulfilment? Are we genuinely wanting for peace of head, or are we searching to constantly be thirsty?”

The two-human being dance exhibit Ink also functions German dancer Šuka Horn. Photograph: Julian Mommert

Ink is complete of the symbolism and hanging visuals that the choreographer is recognized for. In one particular scene, Papaioannou struggles to lure Horn powering a clear acrylic sheet on the dark, bare stage. In a different, he makes use of a rope to slowly but surely pull the nude dancer, who is coated up by an octopus, toward him across the flooded floor.

“I’ve always experienced a childhood memory of these fishermen in the Mediterranean, when they captured an octopus and they had to destroy it. They have to toss it on the rock in advance of cooking it so that it turns into tender,” Papaioannou points out.

“This has constantly been completed by younger fishermen underneath the sunshine, and there was a repetition of violence to it. But there was also one thing sexual about this repetition. And there is this alien excellent to this creature and the way it rests on the human system. It is a creature that is like a sexual nightmare just before we realize it and its knowledge.”

Papaioannou is known for infusing symbolism and striking visuals into his get the job done, and in Ink, an octopus has levels of this means. Photograph: Julian Mommert

Papaioannou notes that he and Horn symbolize two opposites, which fuels the stress in the functionality.

“Šuka is mostly a overall body, and he is extremely young and much more innocent. I am mostly a thoughts – I am considerably older and considerably much less innocent. I am on your own in the underworld, seeking to make issues function like an artist in a workshop,” he suggests in describing the two roles.

“And he’s anyone that came into my lifetime with all the bodily power, and is expanding up and maturing through his conversation with me. There is a specified kind of fact that is reflected in a very twisted way, of system, in the precise romance of the figures.”

Ink will be offered from November 9 to 11 in the Grand Theatre at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

The New Vision Arts Pageant 2023 will take spot from Oct 20 to November 19, with stay performances introduced at a variety of venues throughout Hong Kong. For the complete timetable and ticketing info, go to