Internationally renowned choreographer Helen Lai adapted an excerpt from her dance theatre work The Island Whispers … (2014) as a site-specific outdoor performance at Tai Kwun, allowing audiences to choose their own perspectives and distance to see the work. With the venue closed, the work has been developed into a dance documentary, offering a rare chance to get behind the scenes with Helen Lai, letting audiences to get a glimpse of the creative process from “the most powerful Chinese choreographer”, as described by the Taiwanese modern dance master Lin Huai-min.
With “undeniable choreographic skills”, the nine-time Hong Kong Dance Awards winner leads seven talented local dancers around Tai Kwun’s historic site, looking for traces of existence left behind by individuals, places, and time. Inspired by and echoing the poignant and intellectual poetry by Polish Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska, the work itself is a flowing dance poem about memory.
They were or they weren't.
On an island or not.
An ocean or not an ocean
Swallowed them up or it didn't
Atlantis by Wisława Szymborska
The documentary features interviews with Helen Lai, who expounds on her inspiration and creative process. Dance artists will also share their views behind the scenes and their connections to the work. It also includes rehearsal footages of the site-specific adaptation of The Island Whispers … which attempts to capture the essence of Lai’s timeless work.
The world has moved on, and it is already time to begin anew from the rubble of a city where everything has disappeared...