Dancing kicks off show

City talk | Siu Sai-wo 9 May 2019

The Academy for Performing Arts is staging its annual Academy Festival, and I went to see the opening event by the School of Dance.

Just before the festival, the academy received the good news that its position on the latest QS - Quacquarelli Symond - world university ranking has jumped from 51-100 last year to 13 to become No 1 in Asia.

Director Adrian Walter and academy council chairman Stephen Chow Chun-kay both highlighted the achievement before the toasting ceremony.

At the cocktail gathering, 59 dance artists performed four premieres in various styles, expressions and themes, choreographed by international and local choreographers Jonathan Watkins, Xing Liang, Rick Nodine and Anh Ngoc Nguyen.

The festival, which is taking place until July, features dozens of performances in Chinese opera, dance, drama and music to showcase the outstanding talent of students from the academy's six schools. There are also film screenings and exhibitions on stage design and costumes.

The idea of staging the festival originated with Chow, who proposed it after becoming chairman. It is the event's third edition this year.

Chow is in the technology industry, specializing in the manufacture of micro electronic materials here and in the mainland.

He said he fell in love with Chinese opera as a student in the United States, and has for years been training under the school of renowned opera artist Lam Kar-sing.

His sifu, a wen wu sheng - an artist who plays the scholar-cum-warrior role - taught him both opera singing and fundamental movements like "round table walking."

Chow regularly sings Chinese opera every month, and is a key member of the Lam Kar-sing Foundation, helping to stage exhibitions of the late master's costumes regularly.

He said with a chuckle that he has handed over the operation of his technology business to his son, and the company went public last year. That has given him more spare time, which he is spending mostly on performing arts-related public duties.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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