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The 40th anniversary campaign for the Hong Kong Ballet created by the US-based Design Army uses an adaptation of Ravel’s Bolero, set to visuals drawn from Hong Kong pop culture including classic kung fu movies, hip-hop and basketball.

Speaking about the campaign, Hong Kong Ballet’s artistic director Septime Weber said: “Hong Kong Ballet is committed to the notion that classical ballet can be of-the-moment. The new campaign positions our artists as contemporaries, with the colours drawing on Hong Kong’s extraordinary hues — both old and shockingly new. 

“And I love the bold, graphic shapes the dancers’ bodies make in contrast to the surrounding architecture.” 

Design Army chief creative officer Pum Lefebure told Mumbrella: “The goal was to make ballet relevant to a modern audience.

“Working with Hong Kong Ballet artistic director Septime Webre and the film’s director Dean Alexander, we drew inspiration from cultural icons relatable to everyone. But to bring it into today’s world, the idea of mixing heritage and pop culture came into play.

“We looked at iconic global, elements like basketball, emojis, and fashion. And mixed them with pieces that are uniquely Hong Kong such as the pink lion, dim sum, a banquet hall and the harbour.

“My biggest inspiration came from Hong Kong itself — specifically the colours and architecture. The city has such distinct characteristics with cotton candy like pastel hues. This inspired so much of the design. And then there’s the mix of glass-and-steel skyscrapers next to traditional Chinese buildings. The mix of old and new that creates something you’ve never seen before.”

This February, images from a previous campaign by Design Army for Hong Kong ballet were allegedly lifted and recycled by Chinese consumer electronics brand Little Swan. Speaking to Mumbrella at the time, Lefebure said: “I love this quote ‘don’t worry about people stealing your design work, worry about the day they stop’.”

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