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The Interdisciplinary Collaboration between Dance and Cantonese Opera: A Case Study of Hong Kong Dance Company’s Waiting Heart

Wong Chung-yu Eveline

Translator: Lee Wan-ling Mary


In Chinese, 跨 (kua, to cross) means to move or cross over by raising one’s foot; 界 (jie, border) is the boundary between things or realms of concepts or disciplines such as professions and genders. Therefore, when these characters combine to form the Chinese vocabulary of 跨界 (kuajie), it means moving between different fields or interdisciplinary that involves two or more different subjects or areas of knowledge.[1] According to the definition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ‘The performing arts range from vocal and instrumental music, dance and theatre to pantomime, sung verse and beyond. They include numerous cultural expressions that reflect human creativity and that are also found, to some extent, in many other intangible cultural heritage domains.’[2]


The definition of ‘interdisciplinary performing arts’ is rather vague. And there is no standard answer to it due to the fact that there is no stipulation on the disciplines one has to cross to qualify as an interdisciplinary performance, meaning no specific conditions or restrictions. Therefore, at present, this can be understood as two or more performing arts forms crossing over each of their domains, presented in one single performance. In 2018, Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC)[3] and Utopia Cantonese Opera Workshop (Utopia)[4] jointly produced a dance theatre and minimal Cantonese opera piece Waiting Heart, which was received with high acclaim. Since Yang Yuntao became the Artistic Director in 2013, HKDC has presented many interdisciplinary collaborative works, such as Chinese Hero: A Lone Exile, a crossover between dance and comics. Therefore, interdisciplinary performance is not something new to HKDC, though it has not had many collaborations with Chinese opera troupes. As for Cantonese opera, practitioners of this traditional performing art form have rarely created interdisciplinary works. An exception is Utopia, as its adaption of a Chinese literary classic Waiting Heart can be seen as a breakthrough in the traditional performing arts form.


For this case study research, I interviewed the key figures of HKDC related to Waiting Heart — Artistic Director/Director/Choreographer Yang Yuntao, Executive Director Tsui Tak-wai, Principal Dancer Pan Lingjuan, as well as Rex Ng, Chief Executive and Creative Officer of Utopia and Associate Director/Scriptwriter for Waiting Heart, Maurice Lai, Technical Support Coordinator of Utopia and Concept/Video Designer for Waiting Heart, and Lee Cheyi, Music Director/Composer of Waiting Heart. As this essay focuses on the study of Waiting Heart, only the personal thoughts on the topic of the six interviewees involved are collected, including their insights on interdisciplinary collaboration between dance and Cantonese opera, observations of the audience and their responses, opinions on audience development and education, on which is based the subsequent analysis. Given the different roles played by the six interviewees in Waiting Heart, this research aims to approach the topic from multiple angles in the exploration and analysis of interdisciplinary dance performances.


Interdisciplinary: The Evolution Theory of Performing Arts

Suppose the art of dance performance is ‘a representation of purely bodily movements, without music, written or spoken language, projection, script, etc.’, i.e., a non-hybrid, homogeneous performing arts form. In this sense, from the ancient times to the present, dance in hybrid forms has accounted for a relatively larger proportion, especially in contemporary performing arts. One may say this is the formal evolution of performing arts. The development and application of technology have also helped achieve evolution, allowing the diverse development of performing arts to advance at high speed. Whether or not it is a necessity or convention of performance productions, or something to satisfy the desires of people (audience members), the content of a performance must be diverse, stimulating different senses and providing value for money. Some artists even believe that a performance of body movements requires other complementary art forms, that such an approach tends to more fully exploit and render effective the concept, creativity and power of the work, justifying interdisciplinary performance, and hence there is nothing wrong with it.


Regarding the reason why there are few Cantonese opera troupes or artists producing or performing interdisciplinary works in Hong Kong, Lai’s personal view was that these parties, young and old alike, were actually ‘uncertain about how to approach’ interdisciplinary performance. ‘The older generation may be more positive about it. They are more knowledgeable and carry less burden about crossing borders. If they agree to it, that means they have a certain idea about it. The younger generation, on the other hand, finds more problems with it, such as not knowing how to collaborate or integrate, or they carry a bigger burden than their seniors, feeling that they cannot mess with tradition. Will they be criticised for it? They fear making this mistake, or to be told by their masters that they have made a mistake, as there are some who like to exercise their authority.’ On the other hand, Ng believed that the reason Cantonese opera rarely crossed borders was that, for a start, the development of Cantonese opera had been at a standstill for some time. What did he mean by that? According to Ng, the last ‘Great Leap Forward’ in Cantonese opera can date back to the legendary collaboration between duo Yam Kim-fai and Bak Sheut-sin,[5] and Tang Ti-sheng[6] between 1956 and 1959, which elevated Cantonese opera to a kind of Renaissance. However, progress has stalled ever since. Until today, the development of Cantonese opera has never surpassed the previous breakthrough, while only a few in the industry continue to reinterpret and develop the legacies of their predecessors. The standstill led to Ng’s idea of ​​‘experimentation’, in which he attempted interdisciplinary performances with dance, looking for and exploring possibilities of Cantonese opera. In 2016, he proposed to Yang about co-producing an interdisciplinary performance of dance and Cantonese opera, based on the Cantonese opera piece The Legend of Purple Hairpin, in the hope that it would push Cantonese opera toward a new development after the long stalemate.


At the same time, Lai also mentioned that the creation of Waiting Heart had not begun from the dance form. ‘We wondered if The Legend of Purple Hairpin could be made into an interdisciplinary performance, especially with dance. This production began from a more traditional art (form): Cantonese opera.’ To sum up, Waiting Heart was a major breakthrough for Cantonese opera performance for it being the only interdisciplinary performance of dance and Cantonese opera presented in 2018, and, for Lai’s and Ng’s notions of Cantonese opera in terms of tradition, performers’ attitudes, and a long standstill in development. In addition, most of the dancers of HKDC come from mainland China. Their understanding of the culture, history, music, lyrics, and stories of Hong Kong’s traditional Cantonese opera is very limited. With the aforementioned premises, this interdisciplinary collaboration of Waiting Heart was obviously a big challenge for the artists on both sides (dance and Cantonese opera), while behind all this there was also this sense of mission for the future development of traditional arts. Such interdisciplinary performance is, in a different light, quite new and attractive to artists or even audiences, loading the exploration with potential meanings and values.


Returning to the term ‘interdisciplinary’, all six interviewees shared a similar response, that the base of an ‘interdisciplinary’ performance is the coming together of two or more stylistically different performing arts genres/forms/fields, in one performance in the same space. However, they also offered individual interpretations, which are quoted respectively in the following.


Looking back at the production of Waiting Heart and his own role in it, Lai believed that it was a common thing nowadays for dance or drama performance to crossover with two or more traditional performing art forms. ‘Direction, choreography, script, lighting design, video design, music design, all these are considered basic for contemporary theatre. This interdisciplinary combination is the same for most performances.’ Pan, who played the heroine of Waiting Heart, offered a further explanation to interdisciplinary performance. ‘Interdisciplinary performance is like two separate individuals, each reducing itself from one to half, and two halves added together becomes one again. That means one has to cut off half of one’s complete self and let another’s half in. I feel that we have all gone through this difficult process in our creation.’ Each one cuts out half of itself and joins with the other’s half, none has any advantage over the other. This is probably the most ideal model for interdisciplinary collaboration, but before the separation and after the union, the crucial part of mutual understanding cannot be overlooked. Whenever one goes from homogeneity to metamorphosis and evolution, a large degree of dedication and tolerance is required of every party involved in order to achieve something. For example, Pan mentioned in the interview that before rehearsing Waiting Heart, she (and others) first had to watch the Cantonese opera film The Legend of Purple Hairpin to understand its content and how conventional Cantonese opera singers sang and performed, to borrow from the body movements and forms of Cantonese opera and even to learn the singing, to help them perform the dance. As a dancer, she considered ‘how one can exploit one’s advantages in this interdisciplinary work’ to the extent of creating a new form of representation. She believed that a better interlace in interdisciplinary collaboration could only be achieved through more mutual listening and understanding of the internal experience of the characters and performers, which was not easy, but very important.


Lee, who is from Taiwan, also made an in-depth analysis. ‘In fact, this so-called interdisciplinary, in all art disciplines, refers to a process of evolution and is something that is happening all the time. In my experience, in terms of interdisciplinary thinking, one must start from zero to produce a successful work and consider how the two disciplines mix, none more important than the other, none takes precedence over the other. One reconsiders, when two disciplines collide, what is the point of view here? Only then can we develop a truly balanced or effective interdisciplinary collaboration.’ Veteran cultural critic Tang Siu-wa commented after watching Waiting Heart that, ‘On the whole, there is no bias between the dance theatre and Cantonese opera components in Waiting Heart. On the contrary, it is a very balanced, equal, and respectful dialogue.’[7] As seen in Waiting Heart, much time and effort had been invested to create the balance between the two disciplines (dance and Cantonese opera).


As the Associate Director/Scriptwriter of Waiting Heart, Ng saw even fewer restrictions in interdisciplinary performance and its rationale. ‘What is interdisciplinary? I don't think there should be too many presuppositions, such as “When two disciplines are put together, it is interdisciplinary.” I think that it (interdisciplinary) should be a very broad arena. To me, interdisciplinary is experimentation, and experimentation and innovation are two different things, and we cannot always equate experimentation with innovation.’ To Ng, Waiting Heart was indeed an experiment, or a good opportunity to make experimentation possible through this interdisciplinary collaboration. Likewise, Yang also believed that ‘it is not necessary for one to always work in the one area one is good at (dance) because, to create at times means to explore the unknown. As performing arts practitioners, we are wary of repetition, when things repeat, they feel like a job, something “stable.” But it is in our blood to want to take risks, to try new things.’ Experiment is a test done in order to learn something or to discover if something works or is true. In the process of experimentation, recurring problems, conflicts, and failures are inevitable. Whether the interdisciplinary performance appears natural and spontaneous, the availability of sufficient resources, such as rehearsal time, capital, human resources, etc., are to a certain extent some factors to assess success. It is equally important that artists and performers have sufficient time together before the performance, to fully understand each other’s thinking, concept, history, form, and style, and be prepared for unforeseeable conflicts and challenges, at the same time be ready to accept the ‘failed experiments’ in the process, and the need to begin all over again. This can be compared to a pharmaceutical factory that produces medications. If during an experiment, the disease is not fully comprehended and the time for research is limited, the drug developed will obviously be unsatisfactory, hence its ineffectiveness that declares its failure. Failure is not essentially a bad thing. It is valuable when one learns from it and turn the lesson into a key to success.


The experiment of Waiting Heart mainly combined two (or three, if we include the live Chinese music performance) traditional performing art forms: Chinese dance and Cantonese opera as one, in a performance. Interdisciplinary collaboration brings about the evolution of traditional or homogenous performing art forms, though it does not necessarily guarantee success. On the other hand, an experimental spirit is crucial to the evolution of art, and in the process of evolution, the most realistic and important aspect is how the artists and the teams deal with, respond to, understand, and cooperate with each other.


Interdisciplinary Experimental Spirit and the Creation of Atmosphere

Under the leadership of the Artistic Director and Associate Director, everybody — including the production team, dancers, performers, administrative staff — are members of the Waiting Heart experiment who carry out the research in their different roles with the shared spirit of experimentation. During the interview, Lai mentioned that dance itself is an art form that has been ‘crossing borders a lot’. He even considered that interdisciplinary dance has become a kind of tradition, although what form interdisciplinary dance performance takes is something that calls for further reflection. This seems to bring us back to the essence of experimentation and the experimental spirit: to focus on something while constantly reflecting, exploring, testing, and verifying. As an interdisciplinary experiment that has undergone repeated tests, has the audience of Waiting Heart given their consent by physically attending the performance?


Before responding to the demand for interdisciplinary dance works in the Hong Kong market, Lai brought up a point worthy of attention: ‘In fact, it has taken over two years from the first time I talked to Yuntao (Yang) about the feasibility of performing Cantonese opera and dance together to the actual performance. The rehearsal started quite early, the first rehearsal and experiment with the dancers took place about nine months before the performance.’ From this we can see that in terms of concept design, rehearsal and experiment, time has been sufficient. Under such conditions, there is enough time and occasions for the directors, choreographer, performers, and dancers to blend in, polish the work, and build trust and relationships. In Hong Kong, due to various resource constraints, it is a rare case for the creation process of an interdisciplinary performance to be stretched over two years, and practically only the nine major performing arts groups have the necessary resources. However, for different disciplines to collaborate, they have to blend in and experiment. Sufficient time and the availability of resources are some of the keys to the success. Apart from the nine major performing arts groups, is the Hong Kong government willing to provide more opportunities and resources to support interdisciplinary productions by other local groups? Do the decision-makers in the relevant government departments understand the requirements for the production of a fruitful interdisciplinary performance?


Lai continued, ‘Very often we envy those spectacular overseas performances, some dance performances that “cross wildly.” When they come to Hong Kong, everyone will be fighting over the tickets. And yet we never develop this in Hong Kong, to produce a similar interdisciplinary piece to tour around the world. Why does one want to see a very unconventional performance? This unconventionality draws people from different disciplines to see what it is, such is the charm of an interdisciplinary performance: it allows people to spy on a possibly unfamiliar performing arts form without much (psychological) burden. When we were developing the dance theatre (Waiting Heart), we had the audience and publicity in mind without feeling pressured, as we all knew it was an experiment.’


From the poster, leaflet, and promotion video of Waiting Heart, one can easily discern that the costumes and makeup of the dancers do not look too ‘Cantonese opera-like’, as there is no phoenix coronet, no Cantonese opera costumes, or the exaggerated eye makeup. The dancers are dressed only in a plain robe, matched with bright red eyeshadow and lip colour, faintly suggesting something unusual to dance. So, we see that in the publicity material, Waiting Heart avoided an overly strong Cantonese opera style, i.e., the traditional Cantonese opera costumes and makeup known to the general audience, while avoiding using only dance elements. After all, it was an interdisciplinary experiment. Apparently, an effort has been made in the promotional text, such as how ‘Tang Ti-sheng’s 101st birthday: An interdisciplinary celebration’ and ‘Till death do us part: a conquest of love, fate and free will’[8] indicate to the audience that it is more than a dance show. From the dancers’ makeup and the specially crafted textual description, the audience can find traces of the original Chinese opera. It does not only serve to eliminate the psychological burden for the audience to see an interdisciplinary work but also satisfies their curiosity to pry, creating the atmosphere for engaging in experimentation.


As the Executive Director of HKDC, Tsui is responsible for the company’s publicity, audience development and branding, education, etc. While ‘[what] the artist does is to weave new sensory organisations, extracting impression from perceptions, affect from affections’,[9] in order to prepare the audience for richer and more diverse sensory stimulation in an interdisciplinary performance, what can the performance venue and administrative planning do to create the atmosphere? Tsui had his own opinion regarding this. ‘For a dance company to achieve its artistic ideals, it needs to be seen. As for the importance of interdisciplinary performance to our company, in addition to meeting the needs of the audience, it is because of this possibility that we can develop new things or thinking. In terms of marketing and administration, the production of Waiting Heart, apart from achieving the company’s mission[10] and creating future possibilities with our limited resources, why not just admit the desire for more viewers? And I guess before watching Waiting Heart, even the regular audience of Chinese opera, theatre or dance have never imagined that the stage would be like that. The set design, projection, the runway-like stage must seem special and innovative for many; and the two levels of the auditorium (audience members can move freely on the upper level and are seated on the lower level) where viewers swap between the acts provide an experience that is unimagined by many people. Also, when you walk into a venue that looks like a fashion show runway, sitting in the audience pit and looking at the dancers’ feet in front of you, right at your eye level… to watch a dance performance in such a way that I can almost touch the dancers’ feet as soon as I reach out my arm, without the distance between the large stage and the audience, without becoming flat, and everybody on the same horizon, such a performance environment must inspire you as an audience: That a piece of work, a performing arts show involves many elements indeed.’


The perspective drawing of Waiting Heart’s stage design (experimental theatre set design) is also shown on the promotional leaflet, with special indications of ‘Sitting: Seeing from within on the stage’ and ‘Standing: Bird’s-eye view overlooking the stage as a bystander’. In terms of marketing strategy, the company deliberately disclosed the most unique aspects of the stage in advance, introducing and explaining to the potential audience that the performance would bring different sensory stimulations to the theatergoers in the hopes to attract more attention, and at the same time suggesting that other than the accustomed ‘seated’ performance, it was also possible to watch the performance ‘standing’, even moving around different positions, from different angles, through which changed the audience’s role from passive to an active one.[11]


Taiwanese scholar Chi Weijan interprets Jacques Rancière’s aesthetic theory in his book Don't Anticipate Explosions: Rancière on Aesthetics, ‘In the eyes of the experimenter, the true essence of theatre is the transformation of the passive audience into an active body, thereby transforming the theatre into a site with a sense of the community.’[12] The environment creates an ambience. From the promotional leaflet in the hands of the audience, to the physical stage design when they enter the theatre, to the proximity between dancers and viewers that makes even the tiny twitches in their muscles visible and the breathes they take audible, all these elements that affect viewing experience are highly charged with sensory stimulation: ‘While perception and affections are the products of rational thinking and moral judgement, the value of art lies in its ability to shock, to evoke a kind of primitive emotion sans filtering and screening.’[13] Tsui went on to say that Waiting Heart is the programme that had received the most questionnaire responses from the audience since Yang became the Artistic Director. Regardless of whether the opinions are positive or negative, they are important feedback for artists and administrators, making this experiment more valuable for the future development of other interdisciplinary dance works, and is an important indicator for audience development and education.


Interdisciplinary Performance and Proximity to the Audience

Proximity refers to the state of being near in space or time. To increase the proximity between the interdisciplinary experiment and the people (the audience) so that they do not feel too estranged, it requires the theatre atmosphere, the content of the work, the performers, and even the marketing plan to arouse some familiar feeling of embodiment in the audience,[14] such as pleasure, anger, helplessness, anxiety, loneliness, even humiliation and grief that are difficult to express. In other words, an evocation of aesthetic experience[15] and memory, the close connection with daily life, including the relationship between the individual and society. These experiences and factors are catalysts of the establishment of the audience market and the promotion of audience education, leading viewers to start thinking about how this performance or this type of performing arts creates these feelings in them or to reminisce about the past. Thinking and feeling open the door of communication between art and people. The possibility of audience development and education is further enhanced.


The audience development of Waiting Heart was also discussed in the interview with Lee. ‘To develop an audience or art education, is to tell everyone that this is a form of artistic expression unique to Hong Kong. With our own Hong Kong traditional art and material, we develop our own performance unique to Hong Kong. If we do a good job today, the audience will say, “I am so proud to be a Hongkonger, in Hong Kong we have such a performing art culture.” That is to say, a local performing arts work that makes the local people proud.’ The above statement would be one of the core perspectives. Lee quite accurately stated that the use of interdisciplinary works to develop and educate the audience, to narrow the distance and let the audience appreciate is a baptism of art education. However, a long existing cultural phenomenon in Hong Kong’s performing arts groups is that findings from audience surveys (data and elaborate opinions) are rarely disclosed on the groups’ official websites and in the annual reports, with the latter only list the total number of audiences. Of course, this phenomenon may be a result of privacy regulations and other reasons and is hardly a Hong Kong anomaly, as similar situation also exists in neighbouring cities. However as quoted above, Tsui mentioned that Waiting Heart is the programme that has received the most questionnaire responses from the audience since Yang became the Artistic Director. HKDC, as a major art group receiving annual subvention from the government, has the responsibility to increase transparency. The data can allow the public to acquire a more thorough understanding, while serving as a foundation to illustrate the effectiveness of the work in audience development. Therefore, under this premise, one can only take the company’s word for the judgement that Waiting Heart is a work Hong Kong audience feel proud of. It is recommended that HKDC should consider displaying more performance-related survey results in the annual reports and on its official website to help improve transparency and credibility.


The script of Waiting Heart is based on the classic Cantonese opera The Legend of the Purple Hairpin. In the ‘Message from Associate Director’ in the house programme, Ng wrote, ‘This love triangle is not unlike a risky gambling game, which could turn out to be a bloody fight. All involved are indeed tragic.’[16] Waiting Heart does not have a happy ending; there is much sorrow and anxiety. Yang’s own observation of the audience after watching Waiting Heart is this: ‘As I keep saying, whether the whole thing (Waiting Heart) is understood or not, whether it has been a comfortable experience or not, none of that is the purpose of watching a performance. As an audience member, when you watch a performance, you don’t see it in one way. It is a good thing if the performance makes you uncomfortable. It makes you think, “Why do I feel uncomfortable? Oh, that’s how it is. What makes me uncomfortable is this and that.” Then, as an audience member, you have gained something.’ The evocation of aesthetic experiences and memories, daily lives, and familiar bodily sensations helps to draw the interdisciplinary work and the audience closer.


The composition of Waiting Heart begins from individuals and extends to an exploration of the problems of human and society. Though the story speaks of things from the past, people nowadays still face similar issues of humanity and society. To quote Jacques Lecoq in his Le corps poétique, ‘it must never lose sight of the root anchoring it to reality’.[17] Therefore, to establish proximity with the audience so as to promote audience development and education, in addition to the quality of the work and the spirit of interdisciplinary experimentation, the aforementioned bodily perceptions, memories and aesthetic experiences are indispensable. Regarding how Waiting Heart eliminates the distance with the audience, Pan shared her experience and insight: ‘In this interdisciplinary performance where the audience was so close to us (performers) and my feet right next to their heads, the “performer on the stage, spectator off the stage” tradition was disrupted. Waiting Heart has already made a so-called crossover in space. Since the audience saw too clearly and were too close to me, I wondered if I should adjust the energy level of my movement language such as the speed and rapport with the audience, to make them more receptive to this (interdisciplinary performance). And for me, I do not expect everyone to accept this. We want to give everyone a chance, ourselves, and the audience alike. Now you (the audience) may not accept it, but you may try to digest it. In the future, when more of this happens, when you see more of this, gradually you will accept it.’


After watching the performance, Tang Siu-wa wrote that, as an interdisciplinary work, Waiting Heart must inevitably face with audience who are unfamiliar with hybrid forms, such as those who are not familiar with or do not understand modern dance, or those who find classical lyrical poetry difficult and therefore fail to engage. ‘But does that mean that we should all just confine ourselves to this box and continue doing what we have been doing all along? I enjoy modern adaptations of classics, as well as interdisciplinary works. What I cherish most is that state of openness when people step out of one’s original territory, open up one’s perceptions and cognitions amidst doubts and uncertainties.’[18] To allow the audience to actually experience through different interactive methods, and more importantly, to have the space for feedback and reflection, and time for digestion so that they feel being part of it, as a kind of enjoyment, a kind of elevation of perception, cultivation and knowledge requires that ‘[across] customer paths, companies and brands should step up their creativity and improve customer interactions. From the customer's point of view, three levels exist: enjoyment, experience, and engagement.’[19] One may look back again on the various attempts made by Waiting Heart to jump out of the comfort zone, including the design of promotional materials, production, considerations of viewers’ perspective and perception, so that there are more opportunities for experimentation for both the performers and audience for an enjoyable experience.



The interdisciplinary dance work is an experiment. Through years of polishing and testing, it will eventually become a unique classic that will not fade with the times. Such is Hymne aux Fleurs qui Passent by Legend Lin Dance Theatre,[20] an integration of sacrificial rite and dance; and Moon Water by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre,[21] a crossover between Tai Chi and dance. Regardless of the opinion held by the audience, the experimental spirit and creation of ambience in Waiting Heart is commendable and worth learning from. ‘Experiment’ and ‘atmosphere’ are the main elements for audience development, which can help shorten the distance between the interdisciplinary work and the audience, establish proximity, so that interdisciplinary dance works can more effectively develop their audience and create opportunities for art education. This is also the prescription for the sustainability of experimentation.


How do we help interdisciplinary dance work progress from experimentation to people’s daily experience? This question is an old one. As the six interviewees said, there is no need for boundaries to exist in interdisciplinary collaborations, where the audience can experience life within the theatre, connect with society and culture, and gain sensory stimulation, enjoyment, and knowledge. When generations of audience are built, lost, rebuilt, and educated over time, the first issue for the performing arts groups when planning audience education and developing markets is not that of selling the ‘product’ of experimentation, but of how to establish proximity between experimentation and the audience over and in accordance with the course of time. Of course, the audience survey, one of the most direct sources of viewers’ opinions and feelings and a tool for audience development, cannot be overlooked. I look forward to more unique interdisciplinary dance experiments in Hong Kong in the future and, above all, to seeing audience fighting for tickets and the unlimited support from the government for more effective promotions of local performing arts development.



[1] ‘Interdisciplinary’, Cambridge Dictionary, accessed 28 December 2020,

[2] ‘Performing arts (such as traditional music, dance and theatre)’, UNESCO, accessed 28 December 2020,

[3] Hong Kong Dance Company, accessed 28 December 2020,

[4] Utopia Cantonese Opera Workshop, accessed 28 December 2020,

[5]90 da shou chuanqi chong xian baixue xian ren xiang sui. Hui bu qu’ (The Return of Legend on the 90th Birthday. Bak Sheut-sin Accompanied by Yam Kim-fai. Nothing Tears Them Apart), Sing Tao Daily, 25 May 2017, accessed 28 December 2020,

[6] ‘Splendour of Cantonese Opera: Masters Tong Tik Sang and Yam Kim Fai’, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, accessed 28 December 2020,

[7] Tang Siu-wa, ‘Mingyun jueze, yi shi guren — xiao ping wudao juchang X jianyue yueju “zi yu cheng yan”’ (Destined to Choose. Is That My Long-time Acquaintance? A Brief Review on Dance Theatre x Minimal Canto-Opera Waiting Heart), P-articles, 3 January 2019, accessed 28 December 2020,

[8] ‘Dance Theatre x Minimal Canto-opera — Waiting Heart’, Art-mate, accessed 28 December 2020,

[9] Chi Weijan, Don’t Anticipate Explosions: Rancière on Aesthetics, (New Taipei City: INK, 2017), 157.

[10] ‘We are nurtured in the cultural tradition of China, combining with the creativity of contemporary art, to impress the world with Chinese dance of Hong Kong character.’ Hong Kong Dance Company, accessed 28 December 2020,

[11] See note 7.

[12] Note 8, 26.  

[13] See note 8.

[14] ‘The notion of embodiment is a fully and totally human notion. That is, being embodied implies being embedded as well – embedded in a society, a culture, a language’. Betty Ann Block and Judith Lee Kissell, ‘The Dance: Essence of Embodiment’, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Vol. 22, No. 1 (February 2001), 5-15.

[15] ‘On the one hand, aesthetic experience is different from the experience of everyday events because of its unique existence, but it also occurs within society, and therefore shares togetherness with the society.’ Chi Wei Jan, Don’t Anticipate Explosions: Rancière on Aesthetics, (New Taipei City: INK, 2017), 151.

[16] Waiting Heart House Programme, Hong Kong Dance Company, accessed 28 December 2020,

[17] Jacques Lecoq, Le corps poétique (The Moving Body), trans. David Bradley (Great Britain: Methuen, 2000), 29.

[18] See note 6.

[19] Philip Kotler, Marketing 4.0 – Moving from traditional to digital (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2017), 168.

[20] Hymne aux Fleurs qui Passent, Legend Lin Dance Theatre, accessed 28 December 2020,

[21] Moon Water, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, accessed 28 December 2020,

^FINAL_Waiting Heart Leaflet-01.jpg

Publicity leaflet of Waiting Heart. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Dance Company.

^FINAL_Waiting Heart Leaflet-02.jpg

Publicity leaflet of Waiting Heart. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Dance Company.

Photo by S2 Production_1.jpg

Waiting Heart (2018). Photographer: S2 Production. Image courtesy of Hong Kong Dance Company.

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