2 March 2013, No. 12 Cattle Depot, Hong Kong
Saw a site specific dance piece last night at the Cattle Depot Artist Village. It’s the only existing pre-war animal quarantine / slaughterhouse in HK, which was transformed into an artist village in 2001. Cool site, but, um, I’m not gonna comment on the show we saw. But I did come to realize…
1. Abstract dancing, or dancing abstractly requires strong technique. In fact, you have to work twice as hard dancing abstract movements, as otherwise it just looks amateur and sloppy. Also, if it’s abstract, it’s automatically harder work for the audience, so by demonstrating strong technique, the audience at least has a frame of reference or something to grasp onto. Also if you are going to do something abstractly, commit!
2. Along the same lines, performers have to work twice as hard when performing site specific pieces. I think there’s a danger where one assumes the site makes a piece interesting. That may be the case, but whatever you are doing should be interesting wherever you perform it. Don’t rely on the site to deliver… don’t just assume the audience will be wow’ed by the site. The site should not be a distraction, but an addition. And the standards of whatever you are doing should not be compromised just because it’s not being delivered on a conventional stage.
Anyhow those were my two revelations so the night was not a waste 😀 But to be fair, the performers showed conviction and put in quite a bit of work. And I got to see how the local arts community has transformed this site into a nice little village.