For Reanne Moe, Hong Kong has opened numerous doors into a number of creative fields, some that she'd never even imagined. We chat with the dancer about her life here
The Hong Kong creative scene is hotting up, and we’re all about it. From local bands like Thud that mesmerize us with their sounds, to Hong Kong artists that push the boundaries in a number of different mediums, and street photographers like Michael Kistler who keep it relevant, we think The 852 is brimming with talent. Enter Reanne Moe, a dancer previously living in New York who packed up her suitcase in 2014 and landed in Hong Kong.
We sit down with Reanne Moe
Hey, Reanne. Thanks for sitting down for a beer and a chat with me. Tell me a bit about what you were doing prior to coming to Hong Kong.
So, I was born in the Caribbean, Saint Croix, and then I went to college in Rhode Island for dance. I moved to New York afterwards and did some more dance study, and lived there for 11 years. During my time there, I danced around, did lots of auditions and the last company I was with there was Stanley Love. I also always worked in hospitality, dipping in and out of restaurants.
What sparked the move to Hong Kong?
It was just time for a change. I found myself saying: “I hate this weather!” and complaining about the subway a lot. You know, when you start complaining about stuff that you can change, then you know it’s time for you to go! (laughs) I didn’t want to get to the point where I hated New York, so I thought I would step away.
I met a guy from Hong Kong during his last week in New York, and we became good friends, and he said he was going back to Hong Kong, and literally that was the first time Hong Kong even came into my head. I was like: “So what’s going on Hong Kong then…”
Cos, I was planning to move to L.A – it’s just a natural progression from New York really – but I came out to Hong Kong in 2014, and I was like: “I need to come here.” I mean, It was just chill: the public transportation works, it’s warm, so yeah. I mean, if I do go back to America, it will probably be to the West Coast, but, you know, L.A. can wait.
So did you come with a job lined up? Or what were you planning on doing?
Well… (laughs) I was always planning on dancing but I didn’t have anything sorted when I came. Here though, it’s harder in the fact that there aren’t really any dance companies. There’s Hong Kong Ballet and City Contemporary Dance Company, but it’s harder to find groups of people who want to come together to dance. The dance community here that I’ve found are all mostly part of a production company that sends them out to random gigs and parties and stuff.
So, I feel like there’s a need for dance opportunities here in Hong Kong. I’ve found more teaching pathways here, I teach adults and kids, but I’ve only performed once since I got here.
Right now, I’m more interested in guerilla-type performances. You know how on the weekend you see the helpers dancing in little areas around the city? I think: how can I tap into that and get people to meet for a pop-up performance somewhere. That’s definitely something I want to explore.
And where does your allegiance lie when it comes to dance genres, or are you up for anything?
Umm… I would say hip-hop and more the Afro-Caribbean vibes. I’ve trained in lots of different styles, but hip-hop is my groove.
Do you have some good dance studio recommendations for anyone looking to bust out some moves then?
I generally go to Infinity, which is right by me in TST. It’s great; really good. I take hip-hop and house dance there. They have classes for all levels and it’s all instructed in Cantonese, but with dance language doesn’t matter as much because you’re following a movement.
And you’re a bit of a triple threat really, masquerading as a DJ by night. Tell me more about how you got into that side of things.
The DJing, I think, goes hand-in-hand with the dance. I love music. I did a little bit of music production in New York, so I just wanted to try it out. I took a few classes at Sol Passion Music last year, and I was managing at Rummin’ Tings at the time, so I just asked them if I could DJ some nights.
I’m not interested in being a big club DJ, so I’m kind of picking and choosing the gigs that I like. My goal is to be able to spin all genres, but I do tend to do more hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, I love disco and soul music too.
Apart from all these different creative opportunities, what else are you enjoying about living in Hong Kong?
I think it’s just being a part of a different culture. I’m currently learning Cantonese, so I feel like mastering another language would be a great thing to take away from living in another country.
So, foreseeable future. What’s on the cards?
Well, I’m currently working on launching an app, Dance Pass, in September that’s connected with dance lessons. I feel like the dance world here is not connected, so offering people somewhere to find out where specific classes are at, you know, if they want salsa or whatever.
I’ve been teaching classes at HIT45 too (Ed note: along with our wellness writer Avey Cortes!) I taught pilates in New York, and it kind of ties in to dance. I like that it’s just 45 minutes and you get a really effective workout, from treadmills to free weights. The team is really great too.
I’m also learning how to vogue, and it’s awesome.