For a decade, Hong Kong Ballet's presentations lacked both mixed-bill programmes and guest appearances by international stars. Fortunately things have changed in the year or more since John Meehan became artistic director and staged a Balanchine mixed programme as a statement of intent.
Last weekend the company danced its first premiere for this season, another mixed programme, entitled Momentum. It featured a guest appearance by the New York City Ballet principal Sofiane Sylve and her Hungarian partner Tamas Solymosi in the pas de deux from Act 1 of Petipa's Le Corsaire, a less familiar duet from that ballet than the one associated with Fonteyn and Nureyev.
Sylve and Solymosi provided plenty of excitement. Solymosi had an appealing personality and flamboyance, Sylve a formidable technique. Her dancing, however, was rather mechanical, lacking a certain radiance, while her partner's jumps lacked height. They would have done better to dance Balanchine's Tchaikovsky pas de deux, Balanchine being central to NYCB's repertory (and, for that matter, the piece being part of Hong Kong Ballet's repertory too).
The programme, accompanied by taped music instead of an orchestra, opened with the Hong Kong premiere of the one-act version of another Petipa classic, Paquita, in Meehan's staging. The first cast sparkled with Jin Yao, the company's finest classical ballerina nowadays. Jin illuminated the ballerina role with her singing lyricism. Her dancing was exquisite in the pas de deux, and her solo was gloriously danced. Zhang Yao strongly partnered Jin, but his own solo dancing lacked precision.
Huang Zhen was better as the danseur in the second cast with his noble bearing and easy virtuosity. The soloists were uneven. Particularly impressive among the four solos for women was the long-limbed Liu Yu-Yao in the third; her smooth phrasing was a delight. In the intricate pas de trois, Hikota Taira had a clean technique. The corps de ballet danced with a bright enthusiasm, though they lacked upper-body uniformity and stylistic grandeur.
The company's creativity was reflected in the premiere of Night Light, a new work by dancer Eve Chan. Set on a bare stage to excerpts from music by Arvo P?rt and other contemporary composers, as well as fragments of television news, it is about a man trying to escape from the stress of city life in his night-time dreams. It starts with a white backdrop behind which a row of dancers in silhouette are shown as office workers typing away, before taking a surrealistic turn as our hero starts to dream. Chan's choreography, which serves the ballet's theme well, is promising if not particularly outstanding. Brett Simon was superb as the male soloist, while Faye Leung danced beautifully as the ballerina representing the unattainable ideal vision in his dreams.
The best dancing in the programme was the premiere of Australian choreographer Stanton Welch's 2001 Bach ballet Clear. Created for the American Ballet Theatre just after the September 11 2001 attacks, it is not a great ballet, but it is intelligently crafted and has an easy appeal. Welch's choreography certainly provides enough technical bravura and virtuosity to show off the physical prowess of the seven bare-chested male dancers. There is a striking sequence in which they enter the stage in turn from the right in a series of soubresaut jumps. Frequent head-waggling and fussy arm movements abound.
Brett Simon and Chen Qing were expressive as an Apollonian/Dionysian pair in a male pas de deux. Wei Wei was outstanding as the leading man, and partnered an excellent Faye Leung (the only woman in the ballet) in another intense duet. This is a wonderful acquisition by Hong Kong Ballet, whose male dancers have never been displayed before in such strength.
10年来，香港芭蕾舞团(Hong Kong Ballet)的演出一直缺乏多剧目的节目和国际明星嘉宾的加盟。幸运的是，自从米瀚文(John Meehan)担任艺术总监，并用巴兰钦(Balanchine)的一出多剧目表明了自己的意图之后，这种状况在一年多的时间内发生了转变。
上周末，香港芭蕾舞团带来了本舞季的首场演出。这是另一场多剧目演出，名为《芭蕾引力》(Momentum)。纽约市芭蕾舞团(New York City Ballet)的首席舞蹈演员索菲娜•西尔薇(Sofiane Sylve)及其匈牙利舞伴陶马什•绍伊莫希(Tamas Solymosi)表演了珀蒂帕(Petipa)的《海盗》(Le Corsaire)第一幕中的双人舞段落。与芳廷(Fonteyn)和努列耶夫(Nureyev)相关的芭蕾舞剧相比，这部双人舞不太为人所熟知。
西尔薇和绍伊莫希的演出令观众大为震撼。绍伊莫希有着极富魅力的个性和华丽外表，西尔薇的舞蹈技巧则令人叹为观止。然而，她的舞蹈有些呆板，少了一些大气，她舞伴的跳跃动作也缺乏高度。如果他们演出巴兰钦的柴可夫斯基双人舞(Tchaikovsky pas de deux)，本会表演得更好。巴兰钦的作品是纽约市芭蕾舞团的核心保留剧目（因此，也是香港芭蕾舞团的保留剧目之一）。
作为舞蹈演员陈基琼(Eve Chan)的新作，《迁影》(Night Light)的首映反映出了香港芭蕾舞团的创造性。舞蹈背景是一个空旷的舞台，伴着阿沃•帕特(Arvo P?rt)等当代作曲家的音乐，以及一些电视新闻的片段，剧情讲述了一个试图逃离都市生活压力的人在自己梦中的经历。开场时，一排舞者的剪影投射在了身前的一块白色幕布之上，模仿办公室职员在打字，此后，剧情出现了一个超现实主义的转变，主人公开始做梦了。陈基琼的编舞和舞剧的主题相当吻合，就算称不上非常优秀，也显示出了很大的潜力。男子独舞演员布雷特(Brett Simon)极其出色，女演员梁菲(Faye Leung)扮演了主人公梦中无法达到的理想境界，舞姿异常优美。
节目单中最好的舞蹈，是澳大利亚舞蹈指导斯坦顿•韦尔奇(Stanton Welch)在2001年创作的巴赫(Bach)芭蕾舞剧《空•色》(Clear)。该剧是韦尔奇在2001年“911恐怖袭击”刚刚发生之后为美国芭蕾舞剧院(American Ballet Theatre)创作的，它并非一部伟大的芭蕾剧，但创作很聪明，并且容易为人所接受。在技术层面上，韦尔奇的编舞的确具有很大的勇气和品味，展示了7位赤裸上身的男性舞者的身体力量。其间有一幕令人惊叹的场景，舞者从右边依次跳跃着进入舞台，头不停的摇晃着，手臂也来回摆动。