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Victor Fung brings charm to the dance floor

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Victor Fung Dance’s “From the Top” is onstage in “A Pirouette with Asia” at Cowell Theater this weekend. (Courtesy San Francisco International Arts Festival)

Hong Kong- and London-based choreographer Victor Fung, of Victor Fung Dance, presents his two-person piece “From the Top” on Program 2 of “A Pirouette with Asia 2017” this weekend at the San Francisco International Arts Festival, in a presentation with works from Japan’s Scarabe. (Program 1 features China’s Gu Jiani’s “Right & Left.”)

Can you briefly describe the aim of ”From the Top” and why you created it? Will you be dancing in it in San Francisco?

“From the Top” is a piece about making dance and draws from our collective experience of working with various types of choreographers. It is about power relations and miscommunication between choreographers and dancers. The duet will be performed by Kenny Leung and Ronny Wong, but my voice will be featured in the work as well.

“From the Top” is funny — unusual for contemporary dance. Do you agree, and, if so, why do you think so much of contemporary dance is so serious?

It’s actually my first attempt in creating a work that’s witty in nature. As a choreographer, I devise my work with the dancers and draw heavily on who they are as people. They are hilarious in real life, so it made sense to bring that on stage as well. I think contemporary dance can do with loosening up once in a while.

How would you describe your choreography, or style?

My work is like Joseph Gordon-Levitt — smart, charming and versatile. Recent works have mainly been dance theater, but I’m also interested in more conceptual work or projects that are non-theater based, such as films.

How long you have been dancing and when (and how) did you knew it would be your career focus?

I didn’t start dancing until I was 18. Before that I always wanted to be a film director. I enrolled in performing arts school thinking I’ll try dancing as a gap year but have been doing that ever since.

I read in the Hong Kong Dance Journal that you studied at UC Santa Barbara; have you been back to California since? Are there differences between the dance worlds in the U.K., U.S. and Hong Kong?

This is my first time back in the West Coast since I graduated 10 years ago, so the performance at SFIAF is extra special for me. Although the dance scene in Hong Kong is relatively smaller than cities like London and New York, its dancers and productions are increasingly gaining traction around the world.

Is there anything else important that deserves mention?

I’m currently being mentored by Wayne McGregor through the Clore Leadership Fellowship Programme in the U.K. I’m also a shadow trustee of Hofesh Shechter Company.

A Pirouette with Asia
Presented by S.F. International Arts Festival
Where: Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F.
When: Program 1 at 8 p.m. June 3 and 5:30 p.m. June 4; Program 2 at 9:30 p.m. June 3 and 7 p.m. June 4
Tickets: $25
Contact: (415) 399-9554, www.sfiaf.org

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