The extraordinary creative community of Hong Kong



This year provides a special opportunity for APA to really showcase its special strengths. No institution is so uniquely positioned to explore the dynamic and creative intersection between Eastern and Western cultural practice. We’re part of China and yet have a strong European heritage and a deep understanding of the associated artistic practices. I have become a great fan of HK contemporary dance since I arrived 18 months ago. Try our Dance 2 programme on May 9 & 10 – I am sure you will be delighted – original creative work at is best.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!


Happy, happy holidays!

It is a well-known fact that our students work incredibly hard.  Their timetables are packed with classes which generally run from early in the morning right up until they start rehearsals in the evening.  As the term progresses, it is common to see a grayish tinge of exhaustion on everyone’s face.  It then behoves us teachers to make our classes even more interesting, useful and entertaining than ever, to help them stay awake.  On one particularly memorable occasion, I had a student fall asleep midway through answering a question I’d just asked him!

So, APA students really earn their breaks and I would like to wish them in particular, and everyone in general, a most enjoyable and restful Chinese New Year holiday to kick off a most lively and spirited Year of the Horse!



Dance performance 1 – Launch Ceremony

Two of our wonderful dancers, Contemporary Dance graduate Mao Wei and final year Ballet student Kenneth Hui Ka Chun, created and performed a piece specially for the ceremony. This video shows some of the highlights.  It was Daniel’s first time to film dance and my first time to edit anything at all, so please forgive any imperfections and enjoy!

Thanks for the memories…

The Director sent round a congratulatory email this morning, thanking all those who worked so hard to make the launch of the 30th anniversary celebrations such a success.

There are plenty of people who deserve a mention for their efforts, so many of whom are graduates of the Academy.  These include our lovely MCs, Corinna Chamberlain and Peter Fan, who did a great job of keeping the ceremony on track.  From the TEA School, three faculty members and former students contributed their skills:  Ricky Chan designed the invitation card that I featured in an earlier post; Bacchus Lee did the backdrop and also the design for the canvas bag pictured below; Psyche Chui was the lighting designer, although she would like me to make it clear that she was in a supervisory role for one of her students, Ivan Chan, who did a great job.

Alumni Association Chairman and Fellow of the Academy, Anthony Wong, took to the stage briefly to entertain the crowd with reminiscences of his student days.

The Production Manager for the launch ceremony, Rufina Fung, is a graduate of the AESM Department, while the Samba group featured music grad. Angus Fu, founder member of the percussion group, Four Gig Heads, returning to play with some of his fellow students from both the Chinese and Western percussion streams. Mandy Petty, the Creative Director of the ceremony, while not a graduate, has been involved with the Academy from the very beginning.

Then during the reception party afterwards, the Academy Jazz Band, led by Tim Wilson, who has taught at the Academy almost since its inception, entertained us.  Corinna joined them for two numbers, one of which showed off her impressive command of Chinese and both of which displayed her gorgeous voice.  Later on, we heard the equally lovely, smoky singing of composition student, Iris Liu.

Last, but certainly not least, I should mention how hard the other two members of the Thirtieth Anniversary Secretariat worked to make this event a success.  Leonard Wong and Alvina Lai, together with Rufina, make up the trio who will continue to co-ordinate the special anniversary programmes throughout the year. If last week’s launch is anything to go by, they’ll do a splendid job.



We have lift-off!

03_readyhoverSo, the thirtieth anniversary has officially been launched together with our funky new website.  Many of Hong Kong’s most dedicated patrons of the arts were present at yesterday’s ceremony, together with former Directors and Council Chairs, the Chairman of the Alumni Association, current and former students, faculty members past and present and the Secretary for Home Affairs, The Honorable Tsang Tak-sing.

The ceremony opened with a wonderful fanfare, specially composed for the occasion by Master’s student Slash Leung and played by students of both Chinese and Western music.  It was a rare treat to see, among others, Kevin playing the sheng alongside Jimmy playing the trumpet, while drummers Hong and Kay were clearly having a fabulous (and well-deserved) time in the spotlight.

We watched the new corporate video, with its combination of current and archive footage.  That will no doubt be on YouTube soon and I’ll post a link once it’s up. I was glad to find out we’re giving work to our graduates, with composer Andy Cheung responsible for the music.

Then came the speeches.  Our Council Chairman, Mr. Leung, said some very nice things about how proud he is to be involved in the ongoing development of the Academy and its students.  Mr. Tsang was reassuring about the Home Affairs Bureau’s ongoing involvement with the Academy and how strongly the Government believes that the arts are important to the citizens of Hong Kong.

Our Director, Professor Walter, had some exciting new initiatives to announce, which we’ll cover in more detail in another post.  He encouraged those attendees who had the special “purple folder” in their show bags to help fund these initiatives, so hopefully we’ll have an influx of donations soon!

He also showed us the new website with an interactive link that triggered a welcoming voiceover that would be familiar to anyone who has ever been in my class…

Then came the performances. They are must-sees and I’ll post the footage once we’ve edited it.  A mesmerising, contemporary two-hander with Kenneth Hui and Mao Wei, in a piece choreographed by the dancers themselves that showed both their stunning technique AND stunning physiques to best advantage. This led seamlessly into a truly collaborative dance piece, featuring students from EXCEL and the Gifted Young Dancer Programme, as well as the schools of Dance and Drama.  The joy on their faces as they performed was mirrored on those of the audience.  I know it took many hours of hard work and some very, very late nights to put this together so congratulations to everyone involved, especially choreographer Mandy Petty, who was also the Artistic Director of the entire event.

No sooner had the dozens of dancers left the stage, than a gang of drummers, playing irresistible samba rhythms, exhorted us all out of our seats and led us out to the roof garden, where a whole new range of entertainment awaited us… To be continued.

It’s all about to happen!

Tomorrow afternoon the Academy’s 30th anniversary year formally begins with a launch ceremony for students, alumni, staff and council members.  It will be held in the (fairly) new amphitheatre and will feature student performances as well as speechifying.

I’ll be there, taking notes so I can report on key happenings for those who can’t attend.  There’s a reception afterwards in the Academy Garden, so we’re all hoping that the HK Observatory has got it right with a promised high of 18°C!

With my trusty cameraman, husband Daniel, I will be talking to as many people as I can, to find out what the Academy means to them and what they think the next thirty years will bring.

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Come back soon to find out what happened when and who said what!