Without a shadow, life is but a dreary void.Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
YET, STRANGELY ENOUGH, A SHADOW CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT A SOUL.
In Haruki Murakami’s novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the protagonist, upon entering the town of the “End of the World”, like everyone else, abandons his shadow. Although the atmosphere there is peaceful and people live in harmony, they have lost their shadows and with them, the ability to feel and resonate with others on a deeper emotional level. It’s as if they’ve become empty shells.
“Shadow” is memory, a part of oneself that accompanies and follows like a shadow, “Form” embodies the physical body, which becomes the medium for dance and self-conversation.
Dance Theatre Womanhood, a production that “touches the very heart”, is coming to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from May 12 to 14, 2023. Choreographed by Xie Yin, former Assistant Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Dance Company as a freelance choreographer for the first time, the show centres around the themes of femininity and memory. Four female dancers from different regions come together in a nuanced and captivating performance.
The shadow appeared unable to speak or gesture, yet it longed to confide in me. It was fully conscious of my presence, sitting there and gazing at its image. If the shadow were to perish, I would be destined to lose my equilibrium forever.Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
“The most important task is to find a new way forward by looking at the shadow in the present, regardless of whether it contains pain or darkness, and reflecting on the past. I am not trying to praise any great woman, as these four dancers are just one of many.” The performance is divided into three parts: the growth, the female body, and the ritual. Xie Yin deepens the theme of “memory” in the form of dance with the female body, honestly facing oneself from different angles and perspectives.
“Red Thread” plays an important role throughout the performance: it serves as a bridge, leading the dancers to find their way back home; it also transforms into an umbilical cord, symbolising the blood ties between a mother and her child, it represents the memories of pain and trauma that the body carries, and it is also a reminder of the relationships that cannot be moved beyond. Xie Yin also incorporated costumes worn by dancers in the past 20 years as props, reexamining and reopening them to find answers after struggles.
Why are you using the female body as a theme? As Xie Yin explains, “The time of the external world and the time of the female body are not synchronous. The female body constantly reminds us how to proceed and make choices at each stage of life.”
“I am 44 years old, and I have gone through the stages of being a young girl, going through puberty, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, which have all brought various changes to my body. Besides being a woman, I am also a dancer, and over the years, dancing with my body has allowed me to rediscover and reflect on this physical vessel.” She said.
Performer: Hong Kong Dance Company
Date: May 12-14, 2023
Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Theatre
Ticketing website: https://www.urbtix.hk/event-detail/9689/
Data source：Hong Kong Dance Company, Press Release of Dance Theatre Womanhood
Photo source: Press Release of Dance Theatre Womanhood