Review: The (Hong) Kong Girls

An anarchic redefining of dance

dance review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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The (Hong) Kong Girls
Photo by Cheung Wei Lok
Published 09 Aug 2023

Dance is the art of control: it generates meaning and feeling through the control of one’s body. In The (Hong) Kong Girls, we witness three choreographers paint anarchic narratives about grappling with the idea of bodily control itself. 

In PK Wong’s ‘Bird-watching’, the objectification of a faceless, naked form is troubled by her monstrous movements: her claw-like fingertips; her shuddering, rippling flesh. We are estranged from the eroticism of the vulva-ed body and are made to behold its corporeal weight, its terror and presence. Justyne Li’s ‘Bleed-through’ presents a body caught between opposing forces like a marionette, where every agential movement meets an even more powerful counter-force – a quotidian portrait of the structural violence of feminine life. Alice Ma’s ‘Wu’ sees the jagged disintegration of a life-sized music box dancer – a Black Swan-esque fracturing of body and psyche that builds to a genuinely unsettling final image. 

Stylistically varied though they are, each of the three dance pieces asks: Who owns my body? Who decides the nature and conditions of its movement? What is an acceptable way for my body to behave?

‘Kong Girl’ originated as a derogatory term in Hong Kong to describe non-normative women, but has been reclaimed for new liberatory purposes – like those illuminated by these dancers. The bodies of the marginalised have always been the terrain where authority most violently wrestles for control; always strange and never beautiful, The (Hong) Kong Girls uses those very same bodies to carve out narratives of resistance, to make flesh both powerful and strange again.