Steps to stardom

Steps to stardom

A new dance film is a first for Hong Kong

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The Way We Dance_L
Photo: Jonathan Wong/SCMP
If you're a fan of street dance, you've probably watched the Step Up and Street Dance franchises, made in the United States and Britain respectively. But it's not just dancers from the West who can shake their groove thang: The Way We Dance is a Hong Kong release.

The first-ever locally produced film about dancing, it has no big-name superstars; instead a young cast tells the story of a group of youths chasing their dancing dream.

Young Post got the chance to catch up with leading cast members Cherry Ngan and Choi Hon-yick (also named Babyjohn) to talk about their budding entertainment career.

Cherry was chosen from more than 500 dancers during the casting of the movie. She practised Latin Dance and Chinese Dance in primary school. However, she doesn't think her dancing background gave her much advantage over other participants. Instead, she believes that it was her playful personality that earned her the part.

"I had to dance during casting but somehow there was a problem with the music and I had to stop," she says. "But I didn't waste my time on stage, I took the opportunity to introduce myself and asked the team if they could pick me.

"I made the judges laugh. I guess my cheerful personality won them over because they were looking for a happy girl to play the part."

Babyjohn plays Cherry's boyfriend in the film. He says he was excited and nervous to work with Paul Wong Koon-chung from the legendary rock band Beyond. "I couldn't wait to meet him on set and ask him to sign my guitar," he says.

The graduate of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA) first caught public attention in a tissue paper commercial. Then he was involved in several drama productions before getting a chance to star in a film. "Drama requires actors to exaggerate themselves to draw the audience's attention," he says. "For films, the acting has to be sophisticated because there are shots where audiences focus on your facial expressions."

In the film, Babyjohn plays a tai chi master. He learned tai chi during movement lessons at HKAPA, but it was not enough for him to play a master. He trained for two months before making the film. "Of course it's impossible to become a real master in two months," he says. "When I trained with my master, I observed him very closely, not only when he was doing tai chi, but all his movements. I noticed the way he walked was very steady so when I played the tai chi master I tried to do the same."

With its youth and vibrancy, the film has earned much praise after being shown at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in March.


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