Dancing the night away at the 2018 Asia International Dance Championships

More than 800 ballroom and Latin dance enthusiasts performed at this year’s edition of the Asia International Dance Championships that took place in Hong Kong a few days back.

Asia International Dance Championships

With a wealth of talented dancers showing their moves in tune to foot-tapping music, the event was not one that dance aficionados would have given a miss! Indeed, all the who’s who of Hong Kong’s elite descended at HKCEC including distinguished guests like Prof. Anna Pao Sohmen, Karen Chuang, Lynn Hsieh, Michelle Ong Cheung, Rosanna Gaw, Monica Wong, Betty Sun, Ronald Lu, Patrick & Lucy Wang, Vivien Chen, Yumi Honda, among others.

Asia International Dance Championships

After several rounds of fierce competition, the coveted ballroom championship – and of course, the US$100,000 prize money – went to Victor Fung and Anastasia Muravera from the US. The Latin championship also went home to an US team, represented by Stefano Di Fillippo and Dasha Chesnakova.

Indeed, with all the allure of dance and physical prowess required for sports, the Asia International Dance Championships are fast gaining popularity for raising the entertainment quotient each year. It’s time to put on those dancing shoes and waltz into glory, we say!

Leisure and Pleasure: Events in Hong Kong this December

The most festive month of the year is here and, as usual, Hong Kong is just buzzing with a multitude of events and activities to keep you engaged almost every day of the week. From car racing events to Christmas musicals, there’s something for everyone and every budget. We have our heart set on the events listed here.

Hong Kong E-Prix

Street racing becomes a reality in Hong Kong with the 2017 HKT E-Prix. As prelude to the Formula E season, the event will see electric single-seat race cars jockey for pole position around a track at Central’s iconic Harbourfront. The city will be the first in Asia to host a unique “double-header” featuring two separate and distinct races.

2 – 3 December
Central Harbourfront Event Space


Coinciding with Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week, the deTour creative festival returns to the PMQ this month. The annual cultural event brings together a bevy of artists and designers for this year’s theme of Harmonious Chaos. Installations and interactive pieces from more than 20 different designers – all handpicked for the festival – will be on show. Be sure not to miss Confluence – a towering 14m light wall from local design collective Bloom.

1 – 10 December
35 Aberdeen Street, Central
Free entry

Shawn Mendes

Canadian pop idol Shawn Mendes brings his globetrotting Illuminate tour to Hong Kong this month. The 19-year-old singer-songwriter will perform his chart-toppers, including hits Stitches and Mercy, at Lantau’s AsiaWorld-Expo. With his likable persona and washboard abs, Mendes is sure to prove a hit with teenyboppers across Hong Kong – scoop up tickets for your kids while they last!

13 December
Hall 10, AsiaWorld-Expo
Lantau Island


The UK’s largest electronic music festival, Creamfields, returns to Hong Kong this month to celebrate its 20th anniversary. AsiaWorld- Expo will play host to some of the biggest names in the scene, including Above & Beyond, Galantis, Tiësto and Flume. Single-day and weekend passes are currently available.

15 – 16 December
Lantau Island

The Nutcracker

The Hong Kong Ballet will kick off the holiday season with a fresh take on The Nutcracker. The world-famous ballet tells the story of young siblings Clara and Fritz Stahlbaum, who dream of a magical Christmas tree and a nutcracker prince. The two embark on an unforgettable adventure to help the heroic Nutcracker defeat the evil Rat King. Featuring a live performance of Tchaikovsky’s iconic score by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta and choreography by Terence Kohler, The Nutcracker carries on the time-honoured Christmas tradition.

15 – 26 December
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong
Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui

Heart-to-Heart Yoga

It’s not every day that one gets to downward dog with the world’s oldest practitioner of yoga: 99-year-old Tao Porchon-Lynch. An early adoptee of yoga at the age of eight, Tao led a colourful life as a resistance fighter during WWII and also studied under an occultist. In an immersive two-hour “on-the-mat” experience, participants will have the opportunity to learn the four pillars of yoga while discovering Tao’s secrets to healthy living. Namaste!

19 – 21 December
Pacific Place, Admiralty

Scrooge! – The Musical

The Chan Dang Social Services Foundation is reviving the popular Broadway musical Scrooge! just in time for Christmas. Say “bah humbug!” to the holiday blues with this critically acclaimed Broadway show, adapted from the classic Charles Dickens novella, A Christmas Carol. Currently undergoing its second revival, the production is set to take centre stage at the Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong’s premier performing arts venue. The winner of three Hong Kong Drama Awards, Scrooge! is the perfect activity for families looking to ring in – and sing in – the festive season.

19 – 26 December
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
Lyric Theatre
1, Gloucester Road, Wan Chai
From 7:45pm onwards

The World of Tintin

Budding illustrators and cartoon enthusiasts are in for a treat with the arrival of The World of Tintin exhibition at Quarry Bay. This unique collaboration between the HOCA Foundation and Musee Hergé is the largest ever showcase of Tintin artworks in Hong Kong. Three dioramic artworks have been specially created for the exhibition, modelled on scenes from the Tintin series. The scale of the exhibition is immense, with three pop-up shops around Hong Kong (ArtisTree, City Plaza and Central) presenting a variety of Tintin memorabilia.

Now till 26 December
Level 1, Cambridge House, Quarry Bay
Free entry

East Meets Fest: Multi-day music escapes are taking centre stage in Asia

Burning Man, Coachella, Glastonbury. While festivals have been around for the last century (the first Glastonbury was said to have taken place in 1914), its modern-day form has been reinterpreted in hundreds of ways across a vast and ever-changing spectrum.

The US and Europe have dominated the world’s festival scene since the Woodstock era almost 50 years ago. In Asia, however, music festivals existed only by the handful until a few years back. One of the region’s pioneers is Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival, which has grown since its inception in 1997 to become the country’s largest outdoor music event, with 125,000 guests in attendance last July.

“Countries like Japan have a more established festival culture and are more mature like in the West,” says Clockenflap founder Justin Sweeting. Clockenflap is a music and arts festival held annually in Hong Kong, considered one of the region’s leading events for its commercially successful and inclusive model.

“There aren’t a large number of players in Hong Kong’s festival scene at the moment,” says Sweeting. “We had to build Clockenflap from scratch for that very reason, and pioneer festival culture development on our own for a good number of years.”

However, in the last four years, the scene has been growing quickly, as evidenced by the boom of Wonderfruit, a sustainable lifestyle movement embracing a broad range of interests associated with the modern-day, well-heeled crowd. Festival-goers, for instance, are continuously entertained by round-the-clock art installations, music acts, yoga sessions, ‘farm to feast’ bites – the list goes on.

“Wonderfruit kind of started the whole lifestyle, community driven style of event here in Asia,” says Pranitan “Pete” Phornprapha, Wonderfruit’s Founder and Creative Director. “[It] came from the instinct to create inspiring content, which, for me, means content that has the ability to create real, positive impact… especially from an environmental standpoint… and to make it as fun as possible.

The more mainstream precursors of music festivals in Asia were initiated by organisers in developed markets like Japan, Singapore and South Korea. However, most of these festivals are located in-city, unlike their Western counterparts, where total immersion is often part of the experience. Burning Man in Nevada takes the phenomenon to an extreme, building an entire city of 70,000 festival-goers every year in the middle of the desert.

ZoukOut in Sentosa Island, Singapore, partners with international hospitality brands like W Resorts. It’s the garden city’s version of a music festival: high-end from start to finish. Since its inception 17 years ago, the dance music festival on Siloso Beach has secured its own pin on the festival map.

Below the radar, meanwhile, are smaller destinations showing signs of potential as future festival hubs. Thanks to the surge in budget flights, Hanoi has most recently been chosen by festival organisers as an alternative and more affordable locale. Festival goers flock to the shores of Dong Mo Lake – an hour’s drive west of Hanoi – for two different festivals each year (so far). One is Equation, a house and techno affair that just debuted in April. Another is Quest, which takes place every November. Compared to the sky-high tickets of big-city productions like Clockenflap (HK$1,940 at the door for a 3-day pass), Hanoi’s counterparts are certainly more accessible at a fourth of that price, at most.

Katrina Razon, co-founder of Third Culture Music + Media, says Asia has incredible potential as a largely untapped festival market. “The live events industry in Asia is an exciting space,” she says. “There are so many opportunities to create a brand, whereas [the west is] already saturated with cut-throat competition.”

But as the Asian festival landscape grows into its own, Katrina predicts many festivals will disappear as others materialise. “The ones that will last are the brands that depart from main stage monotony,” she says. “Festival brands need to be more diverse. They also need to incorporate the local backbone and not overpay for headlining acts to remain sustainable.”

Looking to the future, Katrina says she would love to see more community-driven concepts. Sweeting similarly calls for events that “have far more cultural significance” beyond simply focusing on the line-up. “I’ve always preferred and held on to special memories from the festivals with an arts and creative cultural leaning,” says Sweeting. Within the region, he recommends Neon Lights in Singapore, Urbanscapes in Malaysia, We The Fest in Jakarta and Malasimbo in the Philippines.

If you’re not quite ready to make the ‘pilgrimage’ to Burning Man, check out our calendar list of upcoming festivals in Asia to dip your toes in. If you do catch the bug, who knows, you just might make it to Black Rock City after all.

Festival Circuit: Asia

Mark your calendar for the region’s upcoming festivals
17-19 Nov 2017 – It’s the Ship – Singapore through Phuket via boat cruise
17-19 Nov 2017 – Clockenflap – Hong Kong
8-9 Dec 2017 – ZoukOut – Singapore
14-17 Dec 2017 – Wonderfruit – Pattaya, Thailand
Jun 2018 – Ultra Korea – Seoul, South Korea
13-15 Jul 2018 – Rainforest World Music Festival – Sarawak, Malaysia
Jul 2018 – Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival – South Korea
Jul 2018 – Fuji Rock Festival – Japan
Aug 2018 – Summer Sonic – Tokyo / Osaka, Japan

Text: Julienne C. Raboca

For the full article, please check out Gafencu’s October issue or the Gafencu app. Download the app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store


Home-grown ballet sensation dazzles at Prix de Lausanne

At just 15 years old, Hong Kong-born ballerina Christiana de Blank has danced her way to become the city’s first ever female semi-finalist at the internationally renowned Prix de Lausanne ballet competition!

For the uninitiated, the prestigious Prix de Lausanne selects just 80 ballet up-and-comers to participate in a week-long competition in Switzerland. Winners are awarded scholarships and access to funds to springboard them into a professional classical ballet career. With world-famous alums like Darcey Bussel, Alina Cojocaru, Miyako Yoshida and Carlos Acosta, it is easy to understand why aspiring ballerinas clamour for a chance to compete.

This makes de Blank’s achievement all the more impressive, but not unexpected given her unique upbringing. At four years old, she stepped into her first ballet class. By age 10, Christiana had already decided to dedicate her life to dance.

Since then, de Blank has trained intensively at the HK Youth Ballet Academy under the careful tutelage of a team led by Mr. So Hon Wah, the city’s first and only male dancer to date to become a Prix de Lausanne semi-finalist in 1989. She has also performed in soloist and principal roles in several of the Academy’s productions.

De Blank will be starring as Princess Aurora in the upcoming production of Sleeping Beauty (9-10 December) before heading back to Switzerland for the Prix de Lausanne Finals.

Leisure and Pleasure: Events in Hong Kong this November

Whether you’re a music lover, ballet aficionado, avid reader or artist at heart, Hong Kong has something for everyone to enjoy this month. Here are some exciting events happening this November. 


Hong Kong’s biggest music and arts festival is going all out for its 10th anniversary along the waterfront. This year’s line-up is headlined by international acts including Massive Attack (UK), Feist (Canada) and MØ (Denmark). “Festivals like Clockenflap occupy a very important place in the cultural and creative landscape of the city,” says founder Justin Sweeting. “This is our 10th year and we’re very much staying true to our vision and spirit as always. You’ll have to come to see for yourself – the only way to experience the magic.”

17-19 November
Central Harbourfront Event Space
9 Lung Wo Road, Central

Arts in the Park

Calling all kids and kids at heart – this popular annual outdoor youth arts festival and puppet parade is back, this time celebrating all things Roald Dahl. The British novelist’s works (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) will come alive in the form of giant characters and storytelling sessions. Interactive activities like the African Drum Jam and free art stalls will allow youngsters to unleash their creative energy in projects like mask and headdress making or face painting.

11-12 November
Victoria Park, Causeway Bay

Rugby Charity Ball

Now in its 16th year, the prestigious Hong Kong Rugby Union Charity Ball continues its gala-for-a-cause. This year’s event will be headlined by World Classic Rockers, a supergroup composed of former members of Santana, Kansas, Boston and other legendary bands. The annual fundraiser has contributed over HK$88 million to education and rugby programmes serving underprivileged children since 2002. The black tie affair includes pre-dinner cocktails, a four-course dinner, a live concert and an auction (starring a custom-painted Harley- Davidson bike!) to cap off the night.

11 November
Convention Hall, Hong Kong Convention
& Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai. 6pm

World Cultures Festival

Thumping beats and tribal arts travel to Hong Kong from the cradle of civilisation: Africa. The colourful World Cultures Festival is set to showcase the continent’s most distinctive music, dance and theatre acts in a line-up opened by none other than “African artist of the century” Youssou N’Dour (Senegal). The closing performance by Cape Town Opera pays tribute to South Africa’s first black president in a stirring folk opera entitled Mandela Trilogy.

Until 19 November
Schedule and venues vary

Secret Theatre’s Project Mayhem

If you’ve been bemoaning the lack of an edgy arts scene in the 852 reminiscent of London and New York, maybe you haven’t been looking hard enough. Secret Theatre – which got its start with a production of Edward Scissorhands in an abandoned New York City factory – is in town for another round of immersive storytelling. While details on this experiential dinner and theatre show are intentionally scant, audiences can expect to be placed in a warehouse with devious characters who will act out “one of modern history’s most twisted tales of fraternity, violence and all-out psychological warfare”. You’ve been warned!

3 November – 10 December
Location to be announced upon ticket purchase
From HK$850
secretstudiolab.com, ticketflap.com/projectmayhemhk

Hong Kong International Literary Festival

Established and emerging writers from around the world come to Hong Kong for a 10-day programme of discussions, literary-themed lunches, workshops, debates, book signings, lectures and readings. The annual festival embraces creative writing in English, with an emphasis on connections to Asia. Look out for Amy Tan (author of The Joy Luck Club) at the gala dinner.

3-12 November
Venues and prices vary

Le Corsaire

Emmy Award-winning choreographer Anna-Marie Holmes is the creative force behind Hong Kong Ballet’s premiere of Le Corsaire. This staging stars Moscow-born Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet) and Canadian Matthew Golding (The Royal Ballet). Audiences can follow the romance between a dashing pirate and the beautiful harem girl he rescues – a classic adventure with a side of pas de trois.

3-12 November
Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre
10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
2:30pm & 7:30pm


Twinkle Toes

Lovers of ballroom and Latin dance twirled their way around the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre at the 2017 Asia International Dance Championships. More than 800 professional and amateur dancers competed for the US$100,000 grand prize.