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Bright Lights, Big City: Twinkle Dance Project HK

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As a dancer, teacher and the owner of Twinkle Dance Company, Twinkle Lam spends a lot of time in dance studios. So it’s no surprise that when she came across New York City-based photographer Dane Shitagi’s Ballerina Project – in which he photographs ballerinas not in their ‘natural habitat’ but on location – the images caught her eye.

In 2018, Twinkle realised that the growth of Twinkle Dance Company, now with a studio in DB North Plaza, had set her up with a unique opportunity to showcase dance using Hong Kong’s vibrant cityscape.

“We have all the resources – many talented students and spectacular costumes from performances,” she says. “So, it motivated me to get started on my own version of Shitagi’s Ballerina Project – Twinkle Dance Project HK. It is so refreshing to see dance pictures outside of a studio setting.”

Eight locations are featured in Project HK to date: Montane Mansion in Quarry Bay; Central MTR Station, Graham Street Market, Pottinger Street and Pedder Street in Central; the Ladies Market and Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mongkok; and the Bamboo Theatre in Tsing Yi.

“In the photos, you’ll find familiar everyday city scenes, ranging from something local, such as the Graham Street Market to something like Montane Mansion, which has become a tourist hotspot since being featured in the Hollywood  blockbuster Transformers: Age of Extinction,” Twinkle explains. “While displaying the talent of our students, we also wanted to present Hong Kong – its beauty, dynamism and spirit – to audiences across the globe.”

Project HK ingeniously combines performance art and visual art, with each shot cleverly connecting the dancers with their location, but the logistics of each shoot presented unique challenges. “Shooting at busy locations is very different from a stage or studio setting. It often draws a crowd, causing a small commotion. Thus, our dancers needed to be very focused, with the photographer capturing just the right moment,” says Twinkle.

The costumes – created by Twinkle’s dance clothing company Tutulamb – are also all-important and inspired by each location’s theme. As an example, the theme for the Pedder Street location is ‘Busy transit,’ so we see three dancers in the middle of the street, in costumes designed to represent a taxi, a tram and a mini bus.

With Project HK, the Twinkle Dance Company dancers were entrusted with creating the right mood – and complementing the location – through their poses. “For the Tsing Yi Bamboo Theatre shoot, our student wore a costume inspired by traditional Chinese Opera, so she struck a strong Chinese dancer-like pose,” says Twinkle. “It was just perfect.”

Find it

• Twinkle Dance Company, 1/F, Unit 6 , Block 2, DB North Plaza, [email protected], www.twinkledance.com
• Twinkle Dance Project HK, www.instagram.com/twinkledanceprojecthk

Twinkle Dance Company has partnered with Yoga Up for its new Discovery Bay studio location in DB North Plaza.


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