Hong Kong Ballet Presents The Rule Breakers,
A Captivating Showcase of Ballet's Revolutionary Works

Hong Kong Ballet 2023/24 Season

[Hong Kong—23 January 2024] Get ready for thrilling works by some of ballet’s most influential choreographers in The Rule Breakers from Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) at Lyric Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts during 22-24 March! This dynamic programme features the father of American ballet George Balanchine's Serenade, one of his most perfect ballets; William Forsythe’s ground-breaking work, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, which revolutionized contemporary ballet and European sensation Andonis Foniadakis’ thrilling world premiere of Strangelove. Tickets are available at Cityline now.

Artistic Director Septime Webre shares, ‘I am thrilled to present a programme that pays homage to the rule breakers of ballet, those who fearlessly pushed the boundaries of tradition and paved the way for a new era of artistic expression. Balanchine was the original rule breaker who reshaped ballet for the modern era, Forsythe revolutionized contemporary ballet and Foniadakis follows in their footsteps, embracing creativity and pushing boundaries, each leaving an indelible mark on the world of dance.'

A timeless, exquisite work from the father of American ballet filled with romance, drama and passion

Set to a transcendent Tchaikovsky score, Serenade was Balanchine’s first ballet choreographed in the US and is one of his most popular, widely danced works. Technically and artistically demanding, Balanchine revised it more extensively than any of his other works from its 1936 premiere until 1976, and today it has four timeless movements: ‘Sonatina,’ ‘Waltz,’ ‘Russian Dance’ and ‘Elegy’. 

Romantic yet revolutionary, Serenade has no story, princes or fairy tales. Influential dancer Martha Graham describes it as ‘simplicity itself, but the simplicity of a very great master.’ Balanchine wanted to show his students that performing is more complex than taking class. In each class he worked with whoever was there, adding men when some showed up and including mishaps like a latecomer and an accidental fall. The passionate Serenade is a prime example of his ‘use what you’ve got’ philosophy.

In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated  (Hong Kong Premiere)
A contemporary masterpiece with a fierce urban approach to classical lines and choreography that sends a high-voltage shock to the world of ballet

William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated was hailed as a masterpiece when it premiered in 1987 at Paris Opera Ballet and featured a young Sylvie Guillem. Sylvie Guillem said, ‘I think of nothing while I am doing In the Middle, except the steps. They take a real physical power and violence to perform and that is all that is in my mind at that moment: line and power.’ Hailed as ‘a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual’, this electrifying work redefined contemporary dance and requires athleticism, incredible stamina and attention to detail from the dancers. The title playfully references two golden cherries hanging above the stage. Forsythe describes In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated as ‘extending and accelerating the traditional figures of ballet. By shifting the alignment of positions and the emphasis of transitions, the enchainments begin to tilt obliquely and receive an unexpected drive that makes them appear at odds with their origins.’ Forsythe has created over 70 works with composer Thom Willems, whose powerful, driving score is made up of contrasts between aggressive turbulences and soft sonorities. To this day In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated continues challenging what one normally expects from a ballet performance.

Strangelove (World Premiere)
A visually and emotionally captivating ballet inspired by the iconic Depeche Mode, electronic music pioneer and the ‘greatest alternative band in the world'

Following in his footsteps is European sensation Foniadakis, who uses ballet to creatively express modernity and all its layers. Hong Kong audiences will experience his thrilling world premiere of Strangelove inspired by the songs of '80s pop pioneers Depeche Mode like ‘Waiting for the Night’, ‘People Are People’ and ‘Enjoy The Silence’. With death-defying lifts and emotional choreography brimming with energy and passion, Foniadakis' new work promises to be unforgettable. He shares, ‘Depeche Mode's music has been a profound source of inspiration for me since my teenage years. As a dancer and choreographer, I found myself drawn to their powerful, evocative lyrics. The songs’ raw, emotional themes explored the complexities of the human condition, and the unique blend of dark, atmospheric electronic sounds was the perfect backdrop for my creative vision, allowing me to craft a ballet that was both visually and emotionally captivating. Strangelove is a testament to the transformative power of music and dance and introduces Depeche Mode's iconic music to a new audience, creating a powerful experience for both dancers and spectators alike’.

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Creative Team
Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Costume Design: Barbara Karinska
Original Lighting Design: Ronald Bates
Staged by: Darla Hoover
Live Music: Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts School of Music
Conductor: Lio Kuokman

In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated (Hong Kong Premiere)
Choreography, Lighting and Costume Design: William Forsythe
Music: Thom Willems in collaboration with Leslie Stuck
Staged by: Thierry Guiderdoni

Strangelove (World Premiere)
Choreography: Andonis Foniadakis
Music: performed by Depeche Mode
Costume Design: Anastasios Sofroniou

The Rule Breakers
22-23.3.2024 (Fri-Sat) 7:30pm
23-24.3.2024 (Sat-Sun) 2:30pm
Lyric Theatre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts 
$1,000 (limited VIP tickets), $680, $480, $220 
Half price for full-time students and senior citizens
Ages 6 and above

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For further information, please contact:
Jerry Qiu | Communications & Programme Manager | T: 21059753 | [email protected]
Ruth Chung | Senior Marketing and PR Officer | T: 21059716 | [email protected]

About Hong Kong Ballet
Hong Kong Ballet (HKB) is internationally recognised as a world-class institution that represents Hong Kong’s unique character. Since its inception in 1979, HKB has evolved into a vibrant performing arts organisation with a dynamic repertoire, forward-thinking community engagement initiatives and an emphasis on excellence.  

With 50 dancers from all over the globe, HKB has restaged classical and neoclassical masterworks and dynamic original ballets created for HKB and about Hong Kong. Additionally, HKB performs works by some of today’s most sought-after choreographers as well as innovative new works by its Choreographer-in-Residence, Hu Song Wei Ricky, and numerous emerging Hong Kong choreographers.

In addition to almost 50 worldwide tours, HKB also maintains a full schedule of award-winning community programmes and crossover collaborations throughout Hong Kong to ensure ballet is accessible to all. HKB has also produced original videos and dance films that have collectively garnered over 5.2 million views online, connecting with ballet lovers worldwide.

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