Hong Kong Ballet | turn(it)out festival Goes Virtual and Will be Free

turn(it)out festivalThe Orpheus Cabaret promotional image | Dancers (from left): Wang Qingxin, Garry Corpuz | Photography: SWKit | Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet

Hong Kong Ballet (HKB)’s first ever ballet-themed festival turn(it)out festival will now go virtual and be free for all due to extended social distancing measures. Co-presented by Freespace at the West Kowloon Cultural District (West Kowloon) as part of Hong Kong Ballet in Residence 2021, the highly anticipated dance festival explores ballet’s role in our modern world and will be available for streaming on the websites of HKB and West Kowloon for two and a half weeks during 18 March – 4 April 2021.

Bringing together Hong Kong and international audiences virtually, turn(it)out festival features five(by)six, a compelling programme of five intriguing contemporary ballets by six international dance-makers, The Orpheus Cabaret, a fresh new collaboration between seven HKB emerging choreographers and a team of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) creative writers, Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella, a charming introduction to the world of ballet for young audiences, and BINGE-WORTHY, a dazzling collection of short videos from the HKB vaults. An exciting array of fringe activities for both adults and children will be available to view on demand during and after the festival, including Open Company Class, Ballet Barre Classes, the interactive Cross Training for Dancers series, MASTERCLASS! series, ballet-blah-blah-blah and other unexpected experiences.

five(by)six presents five extraordinary contemporary ballets by six international dance-makers. Grappling with ballet’s role in the modern world, Holland-based American choreographer Stephen Shropshire begins a three-year artistic residency with HKB with Handelwerk, an intriguing new work set to sublime music by celebrated baroque composer George Frideric Handel. HKB’s Artistic Director Septime Webre’s world premiere of Second Movement brings together two stunning dancers in an epic duet with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A suite from Nguyen Ngoc Anh’s Beyond The Line, illustrating the courage to break one’s limits in a fusion of dance forms, will be performed for the first time in Hong Kong. The programme also features an award-winning piece by Hong Kong choreographic duo Justyne Li and Wong Tan-ki. Set to Philip Glass’ driving score, their riveting Galatea & Pygmalion retells the classic Greek myth of the sculptor Pygmalion and his lifelike statue Galatea, exploring the relationship between a creator and his creation. Although Pygmalion eventually passed away, Galatea remained forever. Finally, the current ‘It Girl of Ballet’ Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s physically charged ballet Sombrerisimofeatures six blazing male leads and their incredibly malleable bowler hats in this sensual, innovative work. All dance works will be presented with additional behind-the-scenes footage of lively rehearsals and compelling choreographer interviews. Streaming is available from 10:00am on 18 March HKT.

The Orpheus Cabaret is a fresh new collaboration that brings together seven choreographers associated with HKB and a team of HKU creative writers led by Chair of Creative Writing & Theatre Page Richards, a professor and director of the HKU Guild. The classic Greek myth of Orpheus journeying to the Underworld to bring back his beloved Eurydice gets a new twist in this provocative new dance cabaret online. The Orpheus Cabaret will be pre-recorded and screened on Zoom at 8:00pm on 19 March HKT (8:00am, 19 March EST; 12:00pm, 19 March GMT). Registration is required due to limited quota.

Featuring fresh new choreography and direction by Webre, in partnership with veteran theatre director Ata Wongand based on an original concept and script by Yuri Ng and Rick Lau, the premiere of Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella will bewitch audiences of all ages online with its triumphant rags-to-riches story, interactive narration by Yung Yin Sing Lucas and extravagant new costumes by renowned costume designer Yoki Lai. Part of HKB’s best-selling family series, this production will introduce the world of ballet to young audiences in this entertaining one-hour adaptation of the classic fairytale. The video will be available to stream in English or Cantonese with subtitles from 10:00am on 20 March HKT.

BINGE-WORTHY is a collection of ballet shorts curated by Webre, including riveting excerpts from the classical and contemporary repertoire, refreshing human moments, and interactive content. Pop some popcorn and binge them all from 10:00am on 21 March HKT!

Other fringe activities include Open Company Class where HKB Ballet Master Luis Torres takes the dancers through their daily paces as they progress from warming up at the barre to extravagant pirouettes across the floor and the Cross Training for Dancers series with comprehensive 5-minute workouts led by HKB Ballet Master Yuh Egami. Additionally, audiences of all ages can explore creative movement and enjoy music from ballet classics with HKB’s Artistic Team in Ballet Barre Classes, which includes the first episode of ‘Silver Ballet’, HKB’s newest free virtual workshop designed for seniors, with gentle exercises that focus on enhancing physical fitness, cognitive stimulation and overall well-being.

Learn more about ballet from the new MASTERCLASS! where HKB’s Artistic Team and international guests coach HKB elite artists in classic and contemporary repertoire: in ‘La Sylphide: James’s variation’, distinguished August Bournonville répétiteur and expert Dinna Bjørn will coach HKB’s Jackson Dwyer in one of the most iconic solos in 19th century canon. In ‘The Art of the Pas de Deux’, Webre will coach HKB’s Dong Ruixue and Li Lin in Cinderella’s graceful Act II pas de deux, HKB’s Eunsil Kim and Nana Sakai tackle mercurial fairy variations with coaching by Tang Min in ‘The Fairies Dance!’. In ‘Cinderella’s Funny Man—the Jester’, HKB principal dancer Shen Jie pushes himself to the limit as he tackles the Jester’s challenging variation, coached by Webre and celebrated Belgian-Colombian choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa will coach HKB’s male dancers through her dynamic ballet in ‘Coaching Sombrerissimo’.

The ballet-blah-blah-blah hosted by Webre will be back with an inspiring episode ‘Creating Work in a Pandemic: A Conversation with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Stephen Shropshire’ where two contemporary Europe-based choreographers discuss the ‘new normal’ of coaching and creating original content during the pandemic.

In addition, two new episodes of HKBALLET CLASSROOM focusing on Cinderella will be released. Explore Prokofiev’s lush score for this cherished happily ever after fairytale in ‘Ballet Do Re Mi—Cinderella’ and learn some stage makeup basics in ‘Cinderella Makeover—Turning into an Ugly Stepsister’ where a HKB dancer will transformed by a professional makeup artist.

All turn(it)out festival fringe activities will be available at 10:00am on 18 March HKT and will remain available after the festival ends.

Get the best seat in the house safely at home, and don’t miss this extraordinary online festival with its electrifying and thought-provoking works for all ages!

Creative Team


Handelwerk by Stephen Shropshire (World Premiere)
Choreography and Costume Design: Stephen Shropshire ^
Music: Keyboard Suite no.7 in G minor, HWV 432 by George Frideric Handel
Piano: Rachel Cheung
^ Shropshire’s multi-year residency is supported by the Performing Arts Fund NL.

Second Movement (World Premiere)

Choreography: Septime Webre

Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (music courtesy of Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra)

Costume Design: Yoki Lai

Excerpt from Beyond The Line (Hong Kong Premiere)
Choreography: Nguyen Ngoc Anh
Music: Duong xa van dam (The Road to Infinity) by Quoc Trung

Galatea & Pygmalion (HKB Premiere)
Choreography: Justyne Li, Wong Tan-ki
Music: Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra—Movement 2 by Philip Glass

Choreography and Costume Design: Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Music: Intro Espinita and Espinita by Banda Ionica, Klute by Titus Tiel Groenestege, Payo Mitcho by Titi Robin

The Orpheus Cabaret(World Premiere)
Choreography: Forrest Rain Oliveros, Jonathan Spigner, Jessica Burrows, Sarita Chan, Leung Chunlong, Lin Chang-yuan Kyle, Li Lin
Artistic Collaborator: Professor Page Richards

Ballet Classics for Children: Cinderella(World Premiere)
Choreography and Direction: Septime Webre
Associate Director: Ata Wong^
Script and Original Concept: Yuri Ng and Rick Lau
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
Costume Design: Yoki Lai
Set Design: Leocampo Yuen
Narrator: Yung Yin Sing Lucas
^By kind permission of Théâtre de la Feuille

Programme Enquiries: 2105 9724
Hong Kong Ballet reserves the right to alter the programmes and artists

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