[中][ENG] 另類空間的挑戰與玩味──專訪本地舞蹈形體藝術團隊TS Crew(鐵仕製作)

The Challenges and Fun of Performing in Alternative Spaces – An Interview with Local Contemporary Dance Group TS Crew


文:格子


《紗紗滾》Spinning/照片由TS CREW提供 Photo provided by TS CREW



疫症肆虐差不多兩年,直接影響了觀眾入場觀賞演出和藝團收入,表演業界即時轉戰網上直播或錄像模式,同時尋找更多正規場地以外的公共空間演出。其實任何地方也可以是舞台,博物館、咖啡店、公園、商場、工廠、廟宇等等,非傳統空間的挑戰與玩味有時比室內更酷更好玩。很多時候藝術家與觀眾的即興情感互動,會意外地吸引不曾和不常買票入場的觀眾群,使他們對藝術產生興趣,拉近藝術家、作品和群眾的距離。


TS Crew的本土文化極限武術(Tricking)


今次專訪本地舞蹈形體藝術團隊TS Crew(鐵仕製作,找來了藝術總監曹德寶(Hugh、副總監伍仲偉(Steve和舞團經理盧君亮(Andy,一齊探討另類空間演出的多樣性與挑戰,談談駐紮在大埔藝術中心後,如何透過作品凝聚社區,持續教育和推廣表演藝術互相交流學習,以及吸納更多不同類別的觀眾群。TS Crew由曹德寶、伍仲偉、盧君亮、杜志星,鄭子煬五子於2017成立至今,雖然五人各有專長和崗位,但每次創作均共同構思,不會丟給團隊其中一人全權負責,這樣的安排充分提升了團隊各人的參與度與歸屬感。


創辦人之一暨藝術總監曹德寶,本身是街舞和當代舞背景出身,後來又學習巴西戰舞(Capoeira),還有粵劇的雜耍技藝。其編舞創作主要以極限武術(Martial Arts Tricking元素,結合武術和其他體育創新而成,例如空手道、跆拳道、巴西戰舞、中國武術、體操、街舞、現代舞、霹靂舞及跑酷(Parkour等,以增強藝術表現力和觀賞性。Tricking基本分為四大元素,包括武術Martial Art、旋踢(kicking、轉體(twisting、空翻(flip。由於極限武術還在發展階段,這種武術和多樣性運動的結合,同時把傳統舞獅、街頭藝術、戲曲、Beatboxing(節奏口技融會,對於香港觀眾來說是很新奇有趣,也漸漸變成TS Crew的藝團特色。


《土炮》Made in Hong Kong/照片由TS CREW提供 Photo provided by TS CREW



另類空間演出的挑戰與玩味


這幾年TS Crew都曾在不同場地演出,包括大館、南豐紗廠、K11購物藝術中心、大埔藝術中心、石板街、TS Studio等等,每一個場地空間都各有特點和文化背景,構思演出時要加入本土文化特色,也要做跟場地有所關聯的作品才不會顯得突兀。例如《土炮》和《小忍者道場》的演出不只發生在大館內的空地廣場,更有不少斜路、樓梯、石牆、欄杆;作品以舞蹈切入,還要在館內跑跳翻滾穿行疾走,所以要小心設計動作語言,並需顧及演員的心理狀態。去年和今年的萬聖節,TS Crew在大埔藝術中心和工作室以自資形式製作《靈校》1.0和2.0系列,以「廢校」為主題概念的角色扮演、現場互動、沉浸式劇場體驗(immersive theatre,令參加者有如置身主題公園的鬼屋活動。此類刺激驚嚇的演出,市民和街坊的反應都很熱烈。藝術中心前身是官立中學,可以將每個角落和課室都變成不同演區,校門前空地還放置了一個藝術裝置,鼓勵參加者、路人和街坊順道打卡放上社交媒體宣傳。


今年四月在南豐紗廠演出的《紗紗滾》,表演博得不少大小朋友歡心。場地負責人早在2019年曾邀TS Crew和來自日本的藝術形體藝團Contact Gonzo共同演出,作品強調演出者之間的即興形體互動演出,當中也有不少武打元素跟TS Crew的Tricking類似。於是主辦單位再次邀約TS Crew在其裝置藝術展中,特別為展覽設計相關的舞蹈形體演出。演出地點是紗廠正中的樓梯和大堂,舞者要在梯間拿著椅子上下舞動,再配合肢體語言和動作帶出椅子、織繩和人的互動。團隊邀請現場觀眾加入即興演出成為表演者,以互動遊戲方式拉近與觀眾的距離。


《小忍者道場》Ninja Challenge/照片由TS CREW提供 Photo provided by TS CREW



酷型其次,安全至上才重要


這樣聽起來,另類場地似乎比起正規劇院更好玩更過癮,但無論於甚麼地方演出,總會有些限制和規範,更何況極限武術有這麼多飛、滾、走、跳的危險動作,表演者和觀眾的安全應是團隊最重要的考量。身為資深巴西戰舞導師的副總監Steve坦然,觀眾看到他們經常旋踢空翻看似很酷很勁,但其實他們是最怕死怕受傷的。成員自身的安全最為重要,因此動作設計和排練才是首位。場地限制是種挑戰更是動力,要善用該地方和建築物的特色,所以好玩的地方就是「地方是死,人卻是生的」。Hugh還補充說,在劇院和另類表演場地要用不同的方法去演繹,尤其他們的演出消耗大量體力,排練的時候也很不一樣。要在劇場以外的地方吸引觀眾目光,拉近市民與藝術的距離就要研究時地人,預算怎樣的互動反應才吸引到觀眾圍觀。確保了安全問題後,若現場觀眾反應冷淡怎辦?Steve說甚少發生尷尬情況,因為在創作時已將此情況計算在內;相反,很多時候觀眾反應太熱情,就像《紗紗滾》最後請小朋友一同跳大繩,小朋友會猛拉著大人玩得很瘋狂和亢奮,根本停不下來。


藝術連繫社區及尋找潛力梯隊


負責行政工作的經理Andy解釋,在劇場以外的地方演出的好處就是能有機會吸納劇場愛好者以外的市民大眾,甚或是路過的街坊和阿叔阿姨,因為「買票入場」對這些群眾來說造成「煞有介事」的心理負擔。無論是社區文化大使計劃節目《冇龍冇獅》,還是其他免費的戶外演出,都是拋磚引玉先引起人們的興趣,教育市民在公共空間觀賞藝術,其實是要大家「付錢」支持營運的概念。不過,這並不代表藝團往後只在劇場以外的地方演出,只要作品內容和演出場地合適,任何地方都能是舞台。


就像今年和去年在大埔藝術中心舉辦的《靈校》系列,Andy表示從創作、籌備和策展對他們來說都是突破,幸好藝術中心和其他藝團都願意配合,加上藝文網上平台art-mate提供活動售票、報名及推廣服務才可以順利完成活動。是次活動亦得到不少地區議員的意見,在他們協助下連絡了附近的商戶食肆,參加者可以憑活動的手帶前往消費並享有不同優惠,讓大家覺得辦藝術不但好玩,更可以製造一個互利互惠的經濟商機。而自從藝團進駐了大埔藝術中心,工作室每逢週日下午都會開放給不同界別的朋友和街坊互相交流切磋,營造一個藝術氛圍和聚腳地令人人都可以參與藝術。Andy和Steve二人期望,藝團除了可以繼續創作和營運謀生,也可擔當社區連繫角色,將藝術實踐和培育有潛質的梯隊接棒,是他們未來發展的方向。



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格子

典型巨蟹女漢子,多愁善感又鍾意食,寧可孤獨也不違心,討厭路癡同無同理心。


 

The Challenges and Fun of Performing in Alternative Spaces – An Interview with Local Contemporary Dance Group TS Crew


Original text: Bonny Wong

Translator: Emily Cheng


It has been nearly two years since the start of the ongoing pandemic. Audiences were unable to enter theatres to watch performances and performance groups lost income. The performance sector reacted swiftly, switching to livestreaming and pre-recording performances, while simultaneously searching for public spaces where they could perform instead of at regular venues. Any place could be a stage, from coffee shops, parks and shopping malls to factories and temples. The challenges and fun of performing in non-traditional spaces are sometimes cooler and a lot more enjoyable. Often, the spontaneous emotional exchange between artists and audience can attract people who seldom or never buy tickets to watch shows. Not only can this make this kind of audience more interested in the arts, it can also narrow the gap between artists, the artwork, and the public.


TS Crew - Local Martial Arts Tricking


Focusing on local contemporary dance group TS Crew, we had the chance to chat with their Artistic Director Hugh Cho, Assistant Artistic Director Steve Ng and Company Manager Andy Lo. We explored the variety and challenges of performing in alternative spaces. We also talked about how, after taking up residence at Tai Po Arts Centre, the Crew have been able to enhance community cohesion with their art pieces; how they have carried out continuous education and promoted learning exchanges with performance art; as well as how to bring in a broader and more diverse audience. TS Crew was founded in 2017 by Cho, Ng, Lo, To Chi-sing and Alan Cheng. Although all five of them have their own unique expertise and role within the Crew, they create each art piece together, rather than making one member responsible. This approach has enhanced the participation and sense of belonging to the team of all the Crew members.


Co-founder and Artistic Director Cho has a background in street dance and contemporary dance, then later learned Capoeira and acrobatic techniques from Cantonese Opera. The main elements in his choreography include martial arts tricking, combined with other martial arts and sports, such as karate, taekwondo and capoeira, along with gymnastics, street dance, contemporary dance, break dance and parkour. This aims to enhance artistic expression and audience enjoyment. There are basically four elements in tricking, which are martial arts, kicking, twisting and flips. Since tricking is still a developing genre, the combination of this style of martial arts and a variety of sports, incorporating traditional lion dancing, street art, Chinese opera or beatboxing, is something interesting and new to the Hong Kong audience and has ended up becoming the TS Crew’s hallmark.


《冇龍冇獅》Gong Wu Busking - No Dragon No Lion/照片由TS CREW提供 Photo provided by TS CREW




Challenges and Fun of Performing at Alternative Spaces


In recent years, TS Crew has performed in different venues, including Tai Kwun, The Mills, K11 Art Mall, Tai Po Arts Centre, Pottinger Street and TS Studio. Each venue has its own unique characteristics and cultural background. Performances have to include local cultural elements and also have to relate to the venue and fit the character of the venue. For example, the performances of Made in Hong Kong and Ninja Challenge not only took place at the open parade ground in Tai Kwun, but also along the slopes, stairs, stone walls, and fences. Performers have to jump, run, and tumble around Tai Kwun in addition to dancing. The action language needs to be designed with care and take the performers’ mental state into account. For Halloween this year and last year, TS Crew created [ling4] [haau6] 1.0 and 2.0. The creation of this Halloween series was self-funded by the Crew, produced in Tai Po Arts Centre and their studio. “Abandoned school” is the concept of the series, involving role-playing, live interaction and immersive theatre, so that participants feel as if they are on a haunted house ride at a theme park. This kind of exciting and thrilling performance attracted enthusiastic feedback from the public, including local residents. The Arts Centre was previously a government secondary school and every classroom and every corner of the building could become different performance zones. There was also an art installation in the open space in front of the school gate, encouraging participants, pedestrians, and local residents to take photos and post on social media as a kind of promotion.

Last April Spinning was performed at The Mills. The performance was loved by both children and adults. The venue had invited TS Crew and Contact Gonzo, a body arts group from Japan, to perform together back in 2019 in a piece which emphasized improvised body interaction between the performers and included many martial arts elements similar to TS Crew’s tricking. Therefore the organizer invited TS Crew to come back and design a special dance body art performance related to a new art exhibition. The performance site was the lobby and stairs in the middle of The Mills. Dancers had to dance along the stairs while holding a chair, using their body language and movements to bring out the interaction between the chairs, weaving yarn and people. The Crew invited the audience to join in the improvisation and become performers, using interactive games to bridge the gap between themselves and the audience.


Safety first, being cool comes second


Seemingly, performing at alternative spaces offers more ‘coolness’ and fun in comparison with regular theatres. However, no matter the type of performance venue, there are always limitations and boundaries, especially for tricking, which involves so many dangerous flips, rolls, runs and jumps. The safety of performers and the audience are the first priority for the Crew. As a capoeira instructor for many years, Ng says the audience thinks all the flips and turning kicks the Crew do look really cool and incredible. However, the biggest concern for the Crew is avoiding injuries and accidents. Their safety comes first, so action design and constant practice are their top priorities. The limitations of venues are both a challenge and a motivation as they have to make full use of the venue and the characteristics of the building. Therefore, the fun part lies in “the place is not alive, but the people are” says Cho, adding that the approaches to production in theatres and at alternative performance venues are different, especially when performances are highly energy-consuming, making their rehearsals very different from normal ones. In order to attract the attention of the audience outside the theatre and bring the public closer to art, the surroundings of the performance have to be examined. The Crew try to predict what kind of interaction can attract a crowd of onlookers. Once the safety aspects have been taken care of, what if the audience reacts indifferently? Ng says awkward situations rarely happen, because they have already taken everything into account when creating their pieces. A lot of the time, the audience reacts with too much excitement. For instance, at the end of Spinning, when children were invited to skip rope together as a group, they went crazy, jerking the adults around and not wanting to stop.


《靈校2.0》[ling4] [haau6] 2.0/攝Photo:Fung Wai-sun(照片由TS CREW提供 Photo provided by TS CREW)



Connecting the community with art and finding potential talent


The advantage of performing in places other than theatres is the chance to engage members of the public who are not theatre-lovers, or even local residents passing by and people less familiar with the idea of culture, Lo comments. The need to buy tickets may create a certain expectation for those people. Programmes like Gong Wu Busking - No Dragon No Lion, created under the Community Cultural Ambassador Scheme, or other free outdoor performances, all offer ways to arouse people’s interest, and encourage them to watch art in public spaces, although he hopes that in the end they will understand that payment is needed in order to keep a company running. In any case, this does not mean that the Crew is only going to perform at non-theatre venues from now on. As long as the piece matches the performance venue, any place can be a stage.


Looking at the [ling4] [haau6] series held this year and last year at Tai Po Arts Centre, Lo feels that they have had a breakthrough in terms of creation, preparation and curation. The willingness of the Arts Centre and other arts groups to cooperate with them, as well as the services provided by online arts platform art-mate on ticket sales, registrations, and promotion, made these events a success. District councillors also gave plenty of positive feedback and, with their help, nearby restaurants were contacted to offer participants various discounts when they ate there wearing wrist bands from the events. The aim is to let everyone know that arts activities are not only fun, but can also create mutually beneficial business opportunities. Since the Crew took up residence at Tai Po Arts Centre, the TS Studio has been open for people from different sectors and local residents to interact and learn from each other, which creates an artistic atmosphere and a gathering place so that everyone can participate in art. Both Lo and Ng hope that not only can the Crew continue creating and sustaining themselves, but can also play a role in connecting different parts of the community. Implementing art and nurturing potential talent are their future direction of development.



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Bonny Wong

A typical Cancer woman who is independent and mentally strong. Also a sentimental food lover who would rather be alone than betray her heart, can’t stand people who have no sense of direction and no empathy.




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焦點 Focus 鐵仕製作 TS Crew 曹徳寶 Hugh Cho 伍仲偉 Steve Ng 盧君亮 Andy Lo 格子 Bonny Wong

土炮 Made In Hong Kong 小忍者道場 Ninja Challenge 紗紗滾 Spinning 靈校 ling haau 冇龍冇獅 No Dragon No Lion

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