Preview: Month-long performance series celebrates relaunch of multi-purpose art space ArtisTree in Hong Kong

The relocation forms part of Swire Properties’ ongoing HKD15 billion redevelopment of the Taikoo Place district in Hong Kong.

The new 7,000 square feet venue aims to foster the growth of young talents and mid-career artists, with a focus on the performing arts.

The foyer of the new ArtisTree at Cambridge House, Taikoo Place. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

The foyer of the new ArtisTree at Cambridge House, Taikoo Place. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

The new 7,000-square-foot ArtisTree multi-purpose venue in Hong Kong is slated to be opened in June 2017 after its relocation from Cornwall House to Cambridge House in Taikoo Place within the Swire Properties-owned business hub. Situated in a district in which commercial offices and lifestyle amenities converge, the venue serves as an art and event space for the public.

With a focus on performing arts, the space will host a month-long series of productions and masterclasses by local and international artists following its official launch on 8 June.

Click here to watch a video on the new ArtisTree space on YouTube

First opened in 2008, the venue aims to make diverse arts and cultural events accessible to local communities. Over the years, the space has hosted over 130 events, including exhibitions such as the inaugural Vivienne Westwood A Life in Fashion exhibition, The World of Tim Burton, Outside the Box | Frank Gehry exhibition and Building M+: The Museum and Architecture Collection and ZAHA HADID: There Should Be No End To Experimentation.

Art Radar takes a look at the upcoming events.

From left: Nic Muni, Artistic Director of ‘La Traviata’ presented by ‘More than Musical’, Lucy Choi, co-founder of ‘More than Musical’, Frank Leung, Principal of via., Don Taylor, Director, Office, Swire Properties, Daniel Yeung, Artistic Director of ‘ContempoLion’, Rumiko Hasegawa, co-founder of ‘More than Musical’ and Wei-En Hsu, Artistic Director and pianist of ‘La Traviata’. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

From left: Nic Muni, Artistic Director of ‘La Traviata’ presented by ‘More than Musical’, Lucy Choi, co-founder of ‘More than Musical’, Frank Leung, Principal of via., Don Taylor, Director, Office, Swire Properties, Daniel Yeung, Artistic Director of ‘ContempoLion’, Rumiko Hasegawa, co-founder of ‘More than Musical’ and Wei-En Hsu, Artistic Director and pianist of ‘La Traviata’. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Daniel Yeung, the creator of ‘ContempoLion’ describes how he came up with his reimagining of Hong Kong’s lion dance tradition. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Daniel Yeung, the creator of ‘ContempoLion’ describes how he came up with his reimagining of Hong Kong’s lion dance tradition. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

1. ContempoLion (9 and 10 June)

ContempoLion is the brainchild of Hong Kong choreographer Daniel Yeung. It showcases the Cantonese lion dance tradition with a contemporary flair, blending artistic form of contemporary dance, lion dance techniques, aerial arts, live video projection and electronic music arrangements. The multimedia contemporary dance performance is commissioned by Swire Properties to celebrate the relaunch of ArtisTree.

Daniel Yeung, Artistic Director of ContempoLion. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Daniel Yeung, Artistic Director of ContempoLion. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yeung has won numerous awards, including Hong Kong Dance Award by Hong Kong Dance Alliance and Rising Artist Award by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. He has also studied choreography in the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom and has performed internationally.

Speaking about his creation in an interview, he remarks:

Lion dancing isn’t just about giving or performing, it’s about watching and learning. We wanted to create something organic. We don’t say that it’s a lion dance, we say it’s a contemporary dance with elements of lion dance training.

Rumiko Hasegawa, Founder & Managing Director of ‘More Than Musical’, a non-profit opera company based in Hong Kong. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Rumiko Hasegawa, Founder & Managing Director of ‘More Than Musical’, a non-profit opera company based in Hong Kong. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

A previous production by ‘More Than Musical’ - a performance of the Opera ‘Werther’, directed by More than Musical’s Opera Director Nic Muni. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

A previous production by ‘More Than Musical’ – a performance of the Opera ‘Werther’, directed by More than Musical’s Opera Director Nic Muni. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

2. La Traviata (17 and 18 June)

The 90-minute performance is presented by More Than Musical, a Hong Kong-based non-profit opera production organisation which is founded by Rumiko Hasegawa and Lucy Choi Ting-ting.

In an interview with South China Morning Post earlier on, founder Hasegawa says:

Hong Kong people are so busy. They don’t want to invest three or four hours of their time to see an opera. People are also intimidated by the theatre setting and the foreign languages. They think they won’t understand opera.

Soprano Lei Xu delights the audience with a dramatic aria from ‘La Traviata’, accompanied by award-winning pianist Wei-En Hsu. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Soprano Lei Xu delights the audience with a dramatic aria from ‘La Traviata’, accompanied by award-winning pianist Wei-En Hsu. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

The condensed version of Verdi’s La Traviata, an Italian classic, will be held without traditional staging, making the experience more immersive for the audience. The organisation aims to make opera accessible to the public by distilling their productions into critical scenes.

A special masterclass on 16 June named “Happy Hour with Award-winning Opera Stage Director Nic Muni” will be held. Viewers are invited to watch the opera stage director Nic Muni coaching young and talented professional singers, as well as listen to his sharing. As a recipient of six National Opera Association Awards, he has directed numerous opera productions around the world, including at the New York City Opera.

Caroline Finn, Artistic Director, National Dance Company Wales. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

Caroline Finn, Artistic Director, National Dance Company Wales. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

3. Animatorium and Folk (24 and 25 June)

The National Dance Company Wales will present the Asian debut of two productions: Animatorium and Folk. Directed by Artistic Director Caroline Finn, the aim of these performances is to make contemporary dance accessible. In Animatorium, a group of dancers act as though they were manipulated by a central ‘Master’ character. Meanwhile, in Folk, surreal and familiar scenes inspired by 17th- and 18th-century European oil painting depict a dark yet comic interpretation of life and society that resonates with the viewers’ everyday experiences.

After acquiring her BFA from the Juilliard School in New York in 2004, Finn worked as a freelance dancer and choreographer. She won the Matthew Bourne New Adventures Choreographer Award 2014 and has led numerous productions internationally.

‘Folk’, a production by the National Dance Company Wales. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

‘Folk’, a production by the National Dance Company Wales. Image courtesy ArtisTree.

On 26 June, a special masterclass named “Contemporary Dance Masterclass with Caroline Finn, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales” will be held. Participants will learn warm up and contemporary technique work, as well as an excerpt of Folk.

Commenting in an on the idea of accessibility, she mentions:

I want to produce work that is accessible for audiences, but at the same time, not something that is handed to them on a plate. It’s about the audience finding a way through the ambiguity, through the music, the sets and the costumes.

Valencia Tong

1717

Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, Independent art space, performance, Hong Kong 

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