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Dancing With Their Hearts! In Timeless Communion With Nature

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Hong Kong Dance Company is thrilled to open its 2023/ 24 season with A Dance of Celestial Rhythms, an inspirational new work by Artistic Director and Choreographer Yang Yuntao
PHOTOS COURTESY OF Hong Kong Dance Company

For the 2023/ 24 dance season, Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC) has put together a diverse range of dance performances under the theme “Rebirth and Transcendence”. The experience begins with A Dance of Celestial Rhythms, a dynamic tribute to nature, which is being performed from September 29 to October 1 at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall.

Choreographed by Artistic Director Yang Yuntao and Associate Choreographer Xie Yin, A Dance of Celestial Rhythms is themed around the “24 Solar Terms,” a strict temporal order rooted in ancient Chinese philosophical thought. In preparing for the performance, Yang Yuntao and his team have been involved in hours of research, studying and collecting data from diverse sources old and new, such as poetry, prose, painting, dance and videography.

The solar terms represent a full orbit of the sun and are split into 24 segments, each lasting about half a month. Historically, the terms were used to mark the seasons, weather and natural variations, providing a timeframe for farmers to plan crop production and farming, as well as daily life and festivals. The solar terms allowed the ancients to live in harmony with nature and their continued relevance is clear in that they have recently been included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“We have become increasingly aware of the rich and far-reaching connotations of the 24 Solar Terms,” Yang Yuntao opens. “But our mission with this new work goes beyond that. There is nothing old-fashioned or retro about A Dance of Celestial Rhythms. We have not set out to reenact the lifestyle and rhythms of ancient Chinese farming civilisations, rather we want to reflect on the various aspects of modern life by drawing on ancient wisdom. Metaphysically speaking, A Dance of Celestial Rhythms is both a tribute to the natural world around us and a call for its protection.”

At a time when many of us are troubled by the contemporary disconnect between man and nature, A Dance of Celestial Rhythms sets out to help bridge that gap. “The performance is an initiation encouraging us to ponder, together with our audience, the way nature and humanity coexist,” Yang Yuntao says. “Learning from the past and understanding the present, this is how a tradition can be carried on by generations. In timeless communion with nature, we dance!”


Watching A Dance of Celestial Rhythms, the audience is invited on a journey of discovery, starting in autumn and moving joyfully and systematically through the four seasons. The programme is divided into sections of varying length, mirroring the temporal sequence of the 24 Solar Terms. Some of the terms are narrated by groups of dancers, some as a duet, some solo. Through the HKDC dancers’ virtuosity, the audience is encouraged to delight in each of the solar terms: essentially, to get back in touch with nature – with the seasonal changes that unfold around us all the time and that we have a tendency to ignore.

After three years of pandemic, HKDC presents this work when the global community is returning to a state of normalcy, which admittedly is a time of serious reflection and introspection. Yang Yuntao says: “Staying in an air-conditioned room with constant temperature and humidity all year around, for how long have we not experienced the invigorating cold of winter and the sweaty thrill of midsummer? Living in the crowded city, occupied with the trifles of life and work, how can we appreciate and understand nature as much as we should? The global spread and devastating effect of COVID has been a warning, alerting us to the need to respect nature and treat the environment kindly.”

Since its origin, dance has been a powerful way for people to pay tribute to the world around them, and in A Dance of Celestial Rhythms, the choreography brings nature to life through dynamic dance sequences that are by turns harmonious and rigorous. HKDC constantly strives to innovate, breaking away from traditional routines and adopting a more relaxed way of expression – dancing with the heart. As the performance draws us through the natural cycles of time and life, our senses are further captivated by stunning visuals, generative art, inspiring music and state-of-the-art lighting effects.

In presenting A Dance of Celestial Rhythms, HKDC has invited Korean composer and costume designer, a digital image designer from Taiwan and a fragrance sponsor, Aēsop, to collaborate with local artists who work in different disciplines. “The aim is to arouse the audience’s visual, auditory and olfactory senses so that they can immerse themselves in the work and gain a more profound and vivid understanding of the laws of nature,” Yang Yuntao concludes.


HKDC is performing A Dance of Celestial Rhythms from September 29 to October 1 at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall. Use the promotion code DCR090 at URBTIX to enjoy this exclusive offer.

*Only applicable to $A-$C tickets

For more on HKDC, visit www.hkdance.com

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