[中][ENG] 城市當代舞蹈團服裝部的口述歷史

Looking back over the history of the wardrobe department of City Contemporary Dance Company in conversation with Wardrobe Manager Linda Lee


受訪:李慧娥

訪問:董言


服裝是舞蹈演出不可或缺的一部分,但是服裝部在香港舞蹈界並不是一個常見的設置,除去三個由政府主要資助的舞團外,其他團體並沒有足夠資源建立一個相關部門。服裝部由甚麼人組成?它怎樣發展?實際運行又如何?這些對於舞團之外的觀眾、藝術家、研究者、教育者來說,都是值得挖掘的「秘密」;而每個舞團的服裝部又各具特色,從業者不同的工作與生活,則需要花更多工夫去了解。本文節錄自筆者與城市當代舞蹈團(CCDC)現任服裝經理李慧娥(Linda)的對話,她領導該部門已超過三十餘年,對話的主題集中在CCDC服裝部的沿革和組織。為了方便讀者閱讀,文章將一部分白話轉錄為書面語;文章盡量保留訪談雙方的言說邏輯,但仍有字句上的篩選。括號中的內容分為兩種:一是英文翻譯,二是作內容之補足。

城市當代舞蹈團服裝部紀錄手冊 Records of the Wardrobe Department at CCDC/攝Photo:董言 Dong Yan


時間、地點:2022年4月29日,CCDC服裝部,香港荃灣


董:不如講一下你是如何進入CCDC的?當時有甚麼機會?

李:因為我喜歡造衫。我在小學的時候有家政堂。上午的課是烹飪堂,下午是教裁衫。我想如果我參加上午的課程,我可能也會很擅長烹飪。 在進入CCDC之前,我都有接一些小劇場、話劇形式造衫的工作。舞蹈(團體的工作)都有接過。那個模式不是現在的模式,CCDC(的工作)我都有接,都是接回來在家裡做。


董:當時已經是專業做這方面的工作?

李:我不可以講自己是專業的。當時好似是利用自己有限的知識,去做相關的事情。


董:所以這些工作是他們主動來找你的嗎?還是朋友介紹?

李:是朋友介紹,我很早就認識Edmond Wong(黃志強),他找我幫手造一些衫。我未做自由職業、造衫之前,我是做寫字樓的,前台工作不需要用腦的,靠知識搵食,靠樣搵食。(笑)


董:當時你做自由職業的時候,CCDC已經有自己的服裝部嗎?

李:那時排練還在天台,九樓頭、尾兩間房,頭間房是做行政,三百多呎。當時我在六樓另外一個角落的房間。都是在黃大仙。每日的上班模式就是這樣,爬上爬落。因為試身、舞者找你啊、Willy(曹誠淵)找你啊,又要走上去,處理完又走下來,吃飯又要走下去。


董:當時是你和Josephine(李清,第一任服裝主管)兩個人?

李:當時只有我一個人。Josephine已經沒有做了。因為Josephine有兩個階段的。她初時入團是做舞者的。當時規模小的團體,舞者自己要做所有事,做了一段時間,(曹)就推她幫忙做服裝。之後,她就出去自己接造衫(的工作),便沒有在CCDC工作了。我很早就認識CCDC,但我不知道它(服裝部)是甚麼架構,我只知道自己喜歡造衫,沒有理會那麼多。

有一次Josephine跟我說,「既然你都有時間做自由職業了,你不如嘗試入CCDC做啦,服裝部好似在找人。我自己已經離開了。」所以是她離開之後,我再進入CCDC。我是由頭到尾沒有人教、沒有人帶,所有門道都是自己摸索的。我第一日上班,有個叫廖卓良(時任製作舞台監督)的人,當時算是技術部門的最高主管啦。又未至於最高的,還有王志強(時任技術總監)。他們告訴我這裡有甚麼,哪裡有衣車,就是很粗略地講了一次。之後又說「Willy找你啊」,當時我連Willy長甚麼樣都不知。我上去之後,「誰是Willy啊?」因為他穿得很隨意,隨意得來,我都不知道他是老闆。(因為之前)就是試衫、交貨,不用跟老闆處理。當時有黎海寧、彭錦耀,他們(編舞)搞定就可以了。


董:我之前有看過八、九十年代(約1989-1993年)的舞團年報,看到有你的名字,也有Josephine的名字。

李:對,那段時間。我一直做了一段時間,但之後很多東西都好像有點……我想再做得好一點,但是我又不知道例如儲存這方面(的系統)。Josephine回來之後,無形中這方面又好像建立得好些,因為始終有些東西是她一直跟的。我只不過是中途加入,又完全沒有人帶,我應該怎麼做呢?Josephine回來處理了一些她一直跟的東西,我便跟隨她的那條路去做,一直到現在。


董:我可不可以這樣理解,你是偏向手作的;而Josephine出去之後學了一套系統,然後將這套東西加上最早建立的系統,就像是服裝部有一個結構的概念,應該怎樣運作?

李:都算是。


董:我聽聞你們之前有去電影片場,去看他們是怎麼做服裝部的。

李:有的。我進入CCDC之前,Josephine還在做服裝部的那個時候,好像整個技術部門走去不知是嘉禾片場,還是哪個片場,去看別人的服裝部、後台是怎樣建立一些東西的。就算是我們的那些編號、紀錄,都是根據他們那個模式套回來的。


董:我看到服裝部紀錄手冊上面的格式、名字、款式,都與此有關聯?

李:是的,我聽Josephine說都是從片場那裡套回來的。因為我問:「為甚麼要這個編號?為甚麼要這個字頭?」她就解釋給我聽。


董:但是我也看見有些(項目)你不會填,你只會填一些你覺得重要的。

李:因為有些(項目)根本不用填,有些(項目)也消失了。譬如那時技術部門有一個(特定的)編號。假設是109,109代表這支舞的服裝,亦代表錄像的紀錄,也都代表道具的紀錄。大家統一了這個編號。很多時候我要問技術部門,「你們用哪個編號?我抄回去。」但是他們只弄了一段時間,加上他們的人流動得快過我們,反而沒有了這個編號。


董:反而是技術部門沒有用最初的系統來做,但我覺得這個是很重要的,因為你們是同一個部門。一個製作一個名,就不會你記你的,我記我的。

李:所以說變成沒有這個做編號,我自己就變成用舞名、演出場地等(做紀錄),這些東西我就要全部抄在這裡。


董:九十年代,當時服裝部有多少人?當時有服裝統籌、服裝經理,還有一群助理?這些人從哪裡來?為甚麼需要這麼多人在服裝部?

李:因為那個時候,其中一個是負責車(衫)的,但是他/她都需要跟演出。慢慢就變成那麼多人。現在可能因為架構、預算的問題,車衣的部分我們會請自由工作者回來,將自由工作的人工計入製作裡面,就不用每個月有一筆這樣的固定支出。


董:所以說當時服裝部有一些專精某種工作的職位,同時資金是獨立的,現在則是以製作的節目來算。

李:是的。所以現在就削減了車、縫的位置。


董:那些離開了的服裝助理還有沒有繼續跟CCDC合作?

李:沒有,都是自由職業。


董:他們不是學院來的?

李:不是。現在最學院(派)的已經是Jason(朱兆銘,現任助理服裝經理)了。


董:有趣的是,CCDC服裝部的歷史,都是從比較有手工經驗的人開始,不是學院出來的。相比其他技術部門已經很不同。

李:是的,他們進化得很快。(笑)不知道是不是我阻礙他們,我不走的話,學院的人就永遠進不來了。(笑)


董:(可以再說一下當時服裝部)有甚麼分工不同?

李:Josephine最初回來的時候,她是對編舞、設計師,她開完會之後,就告訴我需要甚麼。我就負責裁,同時還有其他需要的時候,像是出去買料(之類的工作)。裁完之後,那些助理就開始車(衣)了。



Looking back over the history of the Wardrobe Department of City Contemporary Dance Company in conversation with Wardrobe Manager Linda Lee

Interviewee: Linda Lee

Interviewer: Dong Yan

Translator: Laura Chan


Costumes are an essential part of dance performances, yet wardrobe departments are rare in the Hong Kong dance scene. Apart from the three ‘flagship’ dance companies which receive the most government funding, other groups do not have enough resources to establish such a department. So what kind of people work in wardrobe departments? How do they develop and how do they operate? These are fascinating areas to explore for audiences, artists, researchers and educators outside the industry. Each dance company’s wardrobe department is unique, and the work and lives of the people inside them are worth understanding. This article is an excerpt from the author’s interview with City Contemporary Dance Company’s (CCDC) Wardrobe Manager Linda Lee. She has led the department for over 30 years, and our conversation focused on the department’s evolution and organisation. To make it easier to read, the article was partly translated from colloquial to written language, and efforts were made to preserve the flow of the dialogue, while some of the contents were simplified. The content in square brackets is supplementary information.

城市當代舞蹈團位於荃灣的服裝部 The CCDC Wardrobe Department at Tsuen Wan/攝Photo:董言 Dong Yan


Time and Venue: 29 April 2022, CCDC Wardrobe Department, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong


Dong: Let us start with how you joined CCDC. What were the opportunities?

Lee: I was fond of making clothes. When I was in primary school there were home economics classes; the morning session was cooking, and I was in the afternoon session, which was tailoring. I guess if I had attended the morning classes I might have been pretty good at cooking, too.


Before entering CCDC, I had taken on some costume making jobs for small theatres. I had also worked for dance companies, but the mode of work was different from now. I had jobs from CCDC but I did them at home.


Dong: So you were already working professionally.

Lee: I wouldn’t say I was professional. It was more like making use of my limited knowledge to complete specific jobs.


Dong: So were you asked to work on those jobs? Or did they come through friend referrals?

Lee: They were referred to me by my friends. I have known Edmond Wong for a long time, and he asked me to help with making some costumes. Before working as a freelance costume designer I was an office clerk. No thinking needed, just knowledge and looks. (Laughs)


Dong: Did CCDC already have its wardrobe department when you were freelancing?

Lee: At that time rehearsals were still conducted at the top of the building; on the ninth floor, they used the first room of around 300 sq. ft. as the admin department and also the last room. I was in one of the corner rooms on the sixth floor. All this was in Wong Tai Sin [at the CCDC Dance Centre]. I spent my working days climbing up and down the stairs. The dancers would be asking for me, then Willy Tsao would look for me; I would have to go up and down all the time, dealing with their requests, and going downstairs to eat.


Dong: So at the time there were only you and Josephine [Josephine Lee, CCDC’s first Wardrobe Coordinator]?

Lee: There was only me as Josephine had already left. Josephine was there for two separate periods. When she joined CCDC she was a dancer, and as the group was small, dancers had to deal with everything, so Willy asked her to help with costumes. Later on she started taking costume jobs for herself and left CCDC. I already knew about CCDC but I didn’t know about the structure of the wardrobe department. All I knew was that I liked making clothes – I didn’t care about anything else.


Then one day Josephine told me, “If you have the time to freelance why don’t you try working at CCDC? The wardrobe department is hiring, and I have already left.” So she had left before I joined CCDC. No one was there to teach or coach me, I taught myself every skill I needed. During my first day of work, Liu Cheuk-leung [the then Stage Manager], one of the higher ranked staff in the technical department, and Tommy Wong [the then Technical Director], showed me round briefly, showed me where the sewing machine was, and then said, “Willy wants to see you”. I didn't even know what Willy looked like, I was like, “Who is Willy?” He was dressed so casually that I had no idea he was the boss. Previously I hadn’t had to deal with the boss – for fitting and delivering costumes, I had only had to liaise with the choreographers, Helen Lai and Sunny Pang.


Dong: When I read the dance company’s annual reports during the 1980s-90s (around 1989-1993). I saw both your and Josephine’s names among the staff.

Lee: Yes, there was such a period. I had been working for some time, but then a lot of things seemed to be…in need of improvement, but I wasn’t sure how to set up the right systems, for example for storage. After Josephine returned the systems were better established, because there were things she had been looking after before. I had joined halfway and with no guidance whatsoever, so how would I know what to do? When Josephine came back she was managing some of the things she had always handled in the past, and I still follow her way of doing things today.


Dong: Is it fair to say that you did things manually, while Josephine had learnt systematic practices and was able to update the initial system for the wardrobe department, such as the structures and operations?

Lee: Yes, we can put it like that.


Dong: I heard that your department had previously visited a film studio to see how they run their wardrobe department.

Lee: Yes. Before I joined CCDC and during Josephine’s time, the technical department went to the Golden Harvest Studio or some other studio to observe how their wardrobe department and backstage systems worked. Our numbering and recording methods were adapted from theirs.


Dong: I saw the formats, names and types in the records of the wardrobe department, were they related to this?

Lee: Yes, Josephine said they came from the film studios. I asked her about the prefixes and numbering and she explained them to me.


Dong: But I saw that you left some things blank, you only filled in what you thought was important.

Lee: That is because some items were not needed, and some of them were already gone. For example, the technical department would have a specific number, say 109. That would mean the costumes, recordings, props, everything for that production. Sometimes I had to ask them, “Which exact number was that? Let me copy it down”. But that lasted for a short period of time only, there was too much going on in their department, so they stopped using the numbering system.


Dong: So it is the technical department who did not make use of the system, but I find it important as you are in the same department as them, and standardised numbering can prevent everyone from recording items differently.

Lee: Since the numbering has stopped being used, I have to write down all the information, title, venue etc. for each dance production in order to keep a record.


Dong: How many people were there in the wardrobe department during the 1990s? There was a wardrobe coordinator, manager, and a group of assistants too. Why did you need so many people?

Lee: That was because at that time one person who did the sewing had to perform as well. Gradually more and more people were recruited. Now, due to restructuring and budget issues, we hire freelancers to do the sewing and their wages are counted under production costs, so it is no longer a fixed monthly expense.


Dong: So at that time the wardrobe department had specific positions for different types of work, and had its own budget, while nowadays it varies, depending on each production.

Lee: Yes, we no longer have dedicated positions for sewing and tailoring.


Dong: Do the assistants who left still work with CCDC?

Lee: No, now we use freelancers.


Dong: They didn’t come from the Academy for Performing Arts?

Lee: No, the only person from the Academy we have now is Jason [Jason Chu, current Assistant Wardrobe Manager].


Dong: Interestingly, in CCDC’s history the wardrobe department was started by people who did things manually rather than those with formal training from the Academy. This is different from the other technical departments.

Lee: Yes, they evolve quickly. (Laughs) Not sure whether I’m the one getting in their way, if I’m not going to leave then people from the Academy will never be able to get in. (Laughs)


Dong: [More on the then wardrobe department.] What was the division of labour?

Lee: When Josephine came back she dealt with choreographers and designers, and she would tell me what they needed after meeting with them. Then I would be responsible for cutting and other things like buying fabrics. After I finished the tailoring the assistants would start sewing the costumes.



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董言 Dong Yan

董言目前正進行「服裝部:一個研究香港舞蹈的批判路徑」研究,該項目受到城市當代舞蹈團「當代舞蹈研究獎勵計劃」資助。

Dong Yan’s ongoing research project titled "Wardrobe: A Critical Research Approach to Dance in Hong Kong" was funded by CCDC’s "Contemporary Dance Research Fellowship".