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The world’s a stage: ArtisTree Open Rehearsals with iCoDaCo

16 Aug 2018

By Amanda Sheppard


What does “transformation” mean to you? Chances are, if you asked 10 people, you’d get 10 different answers.


This is the fascinating proposition at the heart of a new work by the International Contemporary Dance Collective (iCoDaCo). But in Transformation, they take the concept further, exploring not only different individual perspectives but cultural backgrounds as well.


Exploring cultural backgrounds is what iCoDaCo does. Founded in 2012 by Israel Aloni and Lee Brummer of European dance group ilDance, iCoDaCo is a bi-annual contemporary dance project that promotes the collaboration of different artists from around the world. “We aim to demonstrate how people coming from different backgrounds can create something new, exciting and rewarding to all of them,” says Aloni. Transformation is iCoDaCo’s latest work and, this August, it comes to Hong Kong as part of ArtisTree Open Rehearsals 2018.


This is not, however, a fully formed production. In fact, its stop in Hong Kong will be the first time the eight producers and artists will all have met in person.


Arriving in Hong Kong from Sweden, Aloni and Brummer will be joined by choreographers Eddie Ladd (Wales), Weronika Pelcynska (Poland), Imre Vass (Hungary), and Hong Kong natives Mui Cheuk-yin and Joseph Lee. Gwyn Emberton (Wales) and Hong Kong-based producer Jacqueline Wong complete the ArtisTree residency’s cultural mosaic. 


So far, it’s been an eight-month exchange of ideas through online video meetings and correspondence between the artists involved. The premise of this project is particularly exciting for Wong. “[It is] a dream to produce a dance from different backgrounds, age groups, dance trainings and distinct ways of dance making,” she says.


What further sets Transformation apart from traditional dance work is the way it will be created – without a designated leader. Instead, the process will take on a democratic approach, with each dancer contributing ideas in equal measure, leading bite-size explorations on their interpretations of “transformation” to shape the final dance work. “The artists are coming into this situation collectively,” says Emberton. “It’s a very different process of decision making [to an ordinary production].”


The stint at ArtisTree also marks the first time iCoDaCo has gone beyond Europe, and Hong Kong’s contemporary history will serve as particularly poignant context – and inspiration – for Transformation. “I feel there was a real significant step towards transformations in the [Hong Kong] people, of people wanting to be a part of something,” says Aloni.


Our city won't be the only thing that influences the final dance work: at the Open Rehearsals the audience will witness the journey of dance creation from concept and dialogue to structuring movements and, says Wong, “will play a part in [the piece’s] evolution, with artists incorporating their responses into the creative process.”


Though Transformation will continue to evolve as iCoDaCo completes additional residencies in the hometowns of each contributor (the finished dance work will premier in Poland in November), the final showcase at ArtisTree will commemorate the ensemble’s time in Hong Kong – a time Aloni describes as spent “hearing the language, eating the food, feeling the weather,” and, ultimately, “knowing where this culture comes from.”


ArtisTree Open Rehearsal Series 2018

Transformation by iCoDaCo

Open door rehearsals
17 & 20 August, 12.45pm

Final showcase
22 August, 12:45pm & 6:30pm

Free admission. Please see the programme details here.

Follow @artistreehk on Instagram for #ABiteofInspiration

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