[中][ENG]「BEYOND」舞蹈的舞蹈團體 探索不止「Bollywood」

Going ‘BEYOND’ dance and ‘Bollywood’


環亞舞略

Dance Curating in Asia


文:郭玟萱、何映彤


《邊緣.視角》My Life on the Fringe/攝 Photo: Karen Chow(照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood)


印度舞於2000年代初在香港冒頭,契機是瑜珈中心在本地嶄露頭角,印度舞作為「附帶」的課程之一開始為人所認知,很多印度舞導師也是在那個時候前來香港;然而多年過去,大眾對印度舞的認知仍然流於運動健身的層面,其承載的豐富的文化底蘊不被重視。BEYOND Bollywood(BB)是以教育及文化角度推廣印度舞的舞蹈團體,創辦人之一暨舞團項目總監Benis Cheng形容這是一個顛覆傳統的切入點。


BB成立於2015年,由四個來自不同背景的人創立,充分體現舞團「多元」的宗旨。BB不純粹是一個表演團體,更作為一個中介人的角色存在,連繫起不同的藝術團體,一路上不斷嘗試以不同概念、形式、合作模式去發展既深且廣的計劃。Benis表示發展步伐比預期中快速,同時路上的困難和挫折也不少。不論好與壞,累積的經歷都使他們想得遠一點,慢慢建立出無形的使命感──希望更主動向本土香港人推廣印度舞及背後的豐富文化。


Benis坦言印度舞在香港並非主流舞種,有別於已盛行多年的芭蕾舞、中國舞和現代舞,要推廣絕非易事,但其獨特性反而成為了BB的優勢以及存在價值。其中一個作為小眾舞團的意義是更容易與社會上同為小眾的社群連繫。BB一直致力推動共融舞蹈,鼓勵長者、殘障人士以及少數族裔等「邊緣社群」以舞蹈表達自己。BB在2020年參加香港國際聾人電影節,在香港藝術發展局支持下與聾人舞蹈家以及一眾不同種族的舞者合作,遠赴印度孟買及新德里拍攝電影《舞聲勝有聲 The Voice of DANCE》,體現舞蹈之無邊界。


首屆香港印「蹈」節,於去年十月舉行,是BB集大成之活動。一連六日的AWAKE印「蹈」節涵括三種由古典到現代的主流印度舞表演及舞蹈體驗班、講座、舞蹈攝影展覽、與代表五個海外城市的藝術家跨界合作,還有於公開綵排現場寫生的繪畫活動、曼陀羅藝術工作坊、新書發佈會、重慶大廈導賞團及電影首映禮等多元化節目,好讓參加者以多角度認識及了解印度舞重要的文化背景。在舞蹈節第五日演出的「共融新力量」最具難度,BB作為製作方在節目設計和安排上下了不少工夫,例如要有技巧地安排不同舞齡、年齡的表演者相間出場,避免水平落差太大的同時保持住觀眾的新鮮感。這個節目本來計劃於2020年2月舉行,卻在開始售票後不久因為疫情而要即時中止,可謂生不逢時,幸而最後也順利舉行。

香港印「蹈」節重慶大廈導賞團Guided tour of Chungking Mansions at the AWAKE Indian Dance Festival/攝 Photo: Paul Wan/Karen Chow(照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood)


說起疫情帶來的衝擊,這兩年疫情帶來的百業蕭條,表演業界可說是首當其衝的受害者之一。朝令夕改的防疫政策使藝術從業者進退兩難,後來表演場所關閉更是壓死駱駝的最後一根稻草;「空間」對表演藝術至關重要,缺乏了用作展演與互動的實體舞台,許多藝術活動被迫胎死腹中,其打擊之大可想而之。


因此,BB團隊不停挑戰脫離實體「空間」的活動模式,務求令活動不完全停滯:與大埔藝術中心其他九個租戶聯手舉辦的線上藝術節《隔離藝術ing》,通過現場直播表演促進與大埔社區的聯繫;經TED授權舉辦的TED x BEYOND Bollywood工作坊結集了來自香港、印度、波蘭、西班牙和美國的舞者,一同用舞蹈討論氣候變化議題;2021年,BB透過香港藝術發展局「Arts Go Digital藝術D平台」資助開發數碼藝術項目,挑戰採用360°全景攝像機來製作VR舞蹈影片,以達到更身臨其境的視覺體驗,讓觀眾從多個角度觀看舞蹈,提高參與感。


話雖如此,疫情下的種種制肘依然存在,這段令人無奈的「空窗期」反而給予了Benis沉澱的時間,去籌備與思考未來的創作方向。她趁機做了很多資料蒐集,發掘有潛力的主題。透過閱讀文獻,她發現原來印度人在香港的足跡源遠流長,甚至可以追溯至殖民地時代早期。她覺得這段歷史很值得透過表演推廣給大眾認識,能幫助印度人融入香港社會的同時,也令港人更了解城市的歷史,增加歸屬感。終於在本年七月的獨腳戲《邊緣.視角》中,港印兩地的文化淵源被搬上舞台,本劇由BB另一創辦人莫昭如編劇,用珍珠為主題連結印度海得拉巴和大埔,印度舞者Uday Sathala在戲中主演英殖時期印軍旁遮普營士兵,生動地以舞道出旁遮普士兵在香港的血汗史。


BB一路上的笑與淚、人脈和經驗,使他們的定位愈發清晰。他們積極地尋找可能性,為舞者及社區人士創造機會,帶著初衷「Dance, Connect, Diversity」(舞蹈、連繫、多元)前行。時間證明BB有能力協調編舞、舞者、學生、舞蹈從業員等印度舞同路人,亦有心有力計劃定期舉行印「蹈」節,期望能繼續以多元節目集合不同派別印度舞者,成為藝術工作者交流的平台。除此之外,BB更有一個長遠的目標:建立一個本地的印度舞蹈文獻庫。Benis坦言覺得自己肩負著一種歷史責任,她希望她這一代可以留下紀錄,確保本地舞蹈藝術的傳承,「BEYOND」代表的是一種「突破」的精神,支持著這個團隊繼續以進取、積極、不安於現狀的態度砥礪前行。

《邊緣.視角》My Life on the Fringe/攝 Photo: Karen Chow(照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood)

Going ‘BEYOND’ dance and ‘Bollywood’

Text: Eunice Kwok, Vicky Ho

Translator: Eva Kan


Indian dance became known in Hong Kong in the early 2000s when yoga centres became popular in the city, and Indian dance appeared on the scene as one of yoga’s ‘spin-off’ classes. Many Indian dance teachers came to Hong Kong at that time. However, over the years, the general local understanding of Indian dance has remained at the level of sport and fitness, and its rich cultural content has been overlooked. BEYOND Bollywood (BB) is a dance group that promotes Indian dance from an educational and cultural perspective, taking a new direction that defies tradition, as Benis Cheng, the company’s co-founder and programme director explains.


BB was founded in 2015 by four people from different backgrounds, which in itself embodied their mission of promoting ‘diversity’. BB is not merely a performing group, but is also an intermediary that connects different arts groups. It experiments with different concepts, forms and collaborative models to develop in-depth projects with a broad scope. Cheng says their pace of development has been faster than expected, but at the same time they have also faced many difficulties and setbacks. Nevertheless, whether bad or good, their experiences have led them to think further, and develop a sense of mission - to take a proactive approach in promoting Indian dance and its rich culture to Hong Kong people.


Cheng admits that Indian dance is not a mainstream dance genre in Hong Kong, unlike ballet, Chinese dance and contemporary dance which have already been popular for many years, so it is not easy to promote it, but at the same time its uniqueness has become one of BB's strengths and assets. Coming from a minority, it is easier for them to connect with other minority groups in society. BB have always been committed to promoting inclusive dance, encouraging ‘marginalised communities’ such as the elderly, the disabled and ethnic minorities to express themselves through dance. In 2020, BB participated in the Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival. With the support of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, they collaborated with deaf dance artists and dancers from different ethnic groups, and travelled to Mumbai and New Delhi in India to film The Voice of DANCE, a film that embodies the boundless nature of dance.

香港印「蹈」節曼陀羅藝術工作坊Mandala art workshop at the AWAKE Indian Dance Festival/攝 Photo: Paul Wan/Karen Chow(照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood)


The first AWAKE Indian Dance Festival held in October last year was the peak of BB's work. Held over six consecutive days, the festival included a variety of programmes such as performances and trial dance classes featuring three mainstream Indian dance styles from classical to contemporary, talks, a dance photography exhibition, collaborations with artists from five overseas cities, sketching activities during open rehearsals, a mandala art workshop, a book launch, a guided tour of Chungking Mansions and a film premiere, gave participants a multifaceted understanding of the significant cultural background of Indian dance. The ‘New Inclusive Power’ performance on the fifth day of the festival was the most challenging programme. The BB production team had put a lot of effort into the design and arrangement of the programme. For example, they took care to present performers of different experience levels and ages to appear on stage alternately to avoid a wide gap in standards while keeping the audience engaged. The festival was originally scheduled for February 2020 but was called off shortly after tickets went on sale due to the pandemic. It was bad timing, but fortunately, the festival took place the following year.


Speaking of the impact of the pandemic, the performing arts has been one of those most affected by the downturns over the past two years. The continually changing Covid prevention policies have created a dilemma for arts practitioners and the closure of performance venues was the last straw that broke the camel's back. ‘Space’ is essential for the performing arts and having no space in which to physically perform and interact, many arts activities could not come to fruition, dealing a devastating blow to the industry.


As a result, BB continually challenged themselves to move away from the idea of physical ‘space’ so as to keep their activities from stagnating. For example, they organised the online arts festival Revitalizing Tai Po in collaboration with nine other tenants of Tai Po Arts Centre to foster connections with the Tai Po community through live stream performances; they hosted the TED x BEYOND Bollywood workshop, authorised by TED, bringing together dancers from Hong Kong, India, Poland, Spain and the United States to examine climate change through dance; in 2021, they developed a digital arts project through the Arts Go Digital Platform Scheme of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, taking up the challenge to use 360° panoramic cameras to produce VR dance videos so as to achieve a more immersive visual experience and allow viewers to watch the dance performance from multiple angles, thus giving them a greater sense of participation.

《隔離藝術ing》海報Poster of Revitalizing Tai Po/照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood


That said, there were still constraints brought about by the pandemic, and this frustrating period gave Cheng time to prepare for and contemplate her future creative direction. She took the opportunity to do a lot of research and explore potential themes. Through her reading, she discovered that the Indian presence in Hong Kong has a long history, dating back to the early colonial era. She felt that it would be worthwhile to promote this history to the public through performances, to help Indian people integrate into Hong Kong society, and at the same time give Hong Kong people a better understanding of the city's history and a greater sense of belonging. Finally, in the one-man show My Life on the Fringe in July this year, the cultural origins of Hong Kong and India were presented on stage. The play, written by another of BB's co-founders, Mok Chiu-yu Augustine, used pearls as the theme to link Hyderabad in India and Tai Po in Hong Kong, and featured Indian dancer Uday Sathala as a soldier in a Punjabi battalion during British colonial rule, vividly evoking the history of the blood and sweat of Punjabi soldiers in Hong Kong through dance.


BB’s laughter and tears, connections and experiences along their way have helped them to reinforce their positioning. They have actively sought out possibilities and created opportunities for dancers and community members alike, moving forward with their original vision of 'Dance, Connect, Diversity'. Time has proved BB's ability to co-ordinate choreographers, dancers, students, dance practitioners and others in the Indian dance community. BB are also committed to organising regular Indian dance festivals, with the aim of continuing to bring together Indian dancers of different styles through diverse programmes, and serving as a platform for arts practitioners to exchange ideas. In addition to this, BB have a long-term goal of building a local Indian dance archive. Cheng says she feels a sense of historical mission, hoping that her generation can leave a record and ensure the legacy of local dance art, and that ‘BEYOND’ represents a spirit of ‘breakthrough’ which supports the team to continue to move forward with a proactive, positive and ‘go beyond’ mindset.

香港印「蹈」節舞蹈攝影展覽Dance photography exhibition at the AWAKE Indian Dance Festival/攝 Photo: Paul Wan/Karen Chow(照片由BEYOND Bollywood提供Photo provided by BEYOND Bollywood)



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郭玟萱 Eunice Kwok

畢業於香港浸會大學創意及專業寫作系,獲頒文學士(榮譽)學位。曾為香港兒童音樂劇團及新世紀青年管弦樂團擔任節目及行政統籌工作,擁有助理編輯經驗。熱愛文字和表演藝術,希望在藝術中發掘更多可能性。現任BEYOND Bollywood藝術行政*。

*藝術行政人員實習計劃由香港藝術發展局資助

Kwok graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University with a BA (Hons) in Creative and Professional Writing. She has previously worked for Hong Kong Children's Musical Theatre and Millennium Youth Orchestra as a programme and administrative coordinator, and has experience as an assistant editor. She has a passion for writing and performing arts, and hopes to explore more possibilities in the arts. She is currently an arts administrator of BEYOND Bollywood*.

*The Arts Administration Internship Scheme is supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council.


何映彤 Vicky Ho

雜誌《埔JOURN》創辦人,也是slasher,其中一個身分為獨立記者,以記錄本港文化與社區活動為主,尤其活躍於大埔區內各社群,致力推動社區參與及本港藝文發展。

Ho is the founder of magazine TaiPoJourn and a ‘slasher’, with a range of occupations. One of her roles is as an independent journalist, mainly focused on recording local cultural and community events, especially active in various communities in Tai Po district. She is committed to facilitating community involvement and the development of local arts and culture in Hong Kong.


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