the company / the artists / guest choreographer
Guest Choreographer
Helen Lai

Helen Lai began her ballet training in Hong Kong and was a founding member of the Hong Kong Ballet For All. She worked as a dancer for local television stations before moving to London to study at the London School of Contemporary Dance. After returning Hong Kong, Lai worked as a Choreographer and Assistant Dance Director for Rediffusion Television. Her choreography was performed at the Hong Kong City Hall in 1977 and 1978. She joined City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) in 1979 as a founding member. She was CCDC’s Artistic Director from 1985 to 1989 and Resident Choreographer from 1991 to 2011.


Lai has choreographed for nearly every local companies, including the Hong Kong Dance Company, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Hong Kong Ballet and DanceArt, as well as a number of film and musical productions. Outside Hong Kong, Lai has choreographed for the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and Crossover Dance Company in Taipei, Contempodanza and Ballet Estudio in Mexico City, Guangdong Modern Dance Company and Singapore Dance Theatre.


Lai’s works illustrate cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary characteristics. Well-versed in literature, Lai’s ideas span Chinese classics, Kafka, Italo Calvino and Greek mythologies, creating profound works that touch the deepest part of the soul. Her major works include Winterreise, Exits and Entrances, Insomnia, Nine Songs, The Rite of Spring, Invisible Cities, Loose Pages from a Woman’s Diary, Revolutionary Pekinese Opera (Millennium Mix), In the Beginning, Plaza X, The Tragedy of Mr O, There, after …, The Comedy of K, Colour Fugue, Testimony, HerStory, No End, Very Dance! and Tales of Two Cities – Hong KongShanghaiEileen Chang. Revolutionary Pekinese Opera (Millennium Mix) was presented at the Karmiel Dance Festival in Israel and the Festival of Cultures in Munich in 1997. Following the success of the UK debut of Nine Songs, Lai was invited to present the piece at the Lyon Biennial Dance Festival in September 2000.


In July 2000, Lai was awarded the “Medal of Honour” by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Other awards include “Choreographer of the Year” from the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild (1990) and the “Badge of Honour” from the Queen of the United Kingdom (1995). She is a five-time Hong Kong Dance Alliance Dance Awards winner (1999, 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2011) as well as the recipient of the “Distinguished Achievement Award” (2002). In 2003, she received the “Award for Arts Achievement (Dance)” from The Hong Kong Arts Development Council for her contributions towards arts development in Hong Kong. Lai received an Honorary Fellowship from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in July 2004.

Helen Lai
The Comedy of K
The Comedy of K


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