Hong Kong Ballet is celebrating its 40th anniversary in style. Today, the company released the new phase of its yearlong ad campaign, which includes the below film, a Wes Anderson-esque romp through the city fusing ballet with pop culture, filled with ferry boats, pom pom-wielding grannies and dim sum served in hot pink containers.
Conceived by Design Army, a Washington, DC-based firm that describes itself as a "strategic brand architect," this film, directed by Dean Alexander and choreographed by HKB artistic director Septime Webre, is part of the company's Never Standing Still campaign, which launched last year. The campaign is a reflection of Webre's vision for the company. Since taking over in 2017, Webre has worked to deepen HKB's classical roots while also pushing it to become more contemporary. The company's 40th anniversary season will include classics like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and George Balanchine's Jewels as well as more contemporary programming like Hong Kong Cool, a collaboration between choreographers and local fashion designers. This video reflects that balance between new and old: classical tutus are juxtaposed with neon pointe shoes, and Ravel's Bolero is remixed to accompany a dancer's snake-like hip-hop phrase.
Another shot from the campaign
Courtesy Design Army
The campaign also shows the unique East-meets-West fusion that defines HKB. Though Webre is American, the majority of the company's dancers are from Asia, and Webre is interested in celebrating its home city; In 2020, he will debut his new Nutcracker, set in historic Hong Kong. He's also promoting Ballet in the City, a series of free, site-specific performances at pop-up locations throughout the metropolis. This video showcases Hong Kong's urban feel, from architectural facades to the picturesque Victoria Harbor, and plays homage to the city's Chinese roots, with nods to classic Kung Fu films and even a traditional Chinese lion (manned by two dancers on pointe). This kind of eye-popping ad campaign has certainly captured our attention, and raises the bar for companies everywhere.