[中][ENG] 多元、包容、持續進化中：有關舞蹈研究與香港的個人思考Diverse, Inclusive and Constantly Evolving: A Personal Reflection
我的歷程看似迂迴，但這其實十分普遍。考文垂大學舞蹈研究中心（C-DaRE）創辦人兼總監莎拉．惠特利（Sarah Whatley）本來是個舞者和編舞，碰巧她的博士研究乃為蕭日恆．戴維斯（Siobhan Davies）的作品作整理存檔。自此以後，她進行了一系列包含動作捕捉、虛擬實境和數碼保育的項目。惠氏同時是一位多產的作家和期刊編輯，並且是個積極為舞蹈研究員營造研究環境去參與創新項目的行政人員。即使是其他我在香港及海外認識的其他研究員，皆有著類近的轉向經歷。現今新一代的舞蹈學生，就受惠於這些集體智慧，因為不論是學院內還是公開的舞蹈課程，例如在聖三一拉邦音樂及舞蹈學院（Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance）和吉布尼舞蹈中心（Gibney Dance Centre），均會教授研究技巧。
Dance and Somatic Practices Conference 2019 at C-DaRE Coventry University;
Sarah Whatley (1st Left), Eugenia (3rd from left) / 攝 Photo: Christian Kipp
過往，舞蹈研究者的刻板形象通常是一位身兼舞評人的舞蹈史學者。以整體社會角度出發去審視舞蹈的人類學者或社會學者，或是專注於舞蹈範疇的民族音樂學者，也會被視作舞蹈研究者。而從更為科學的角度出發，以作運動機能學及文化用途來標注和分析動作，則是另一個切入點。這些研究者的研究成果，一般會以期刊文章、書籍、或於舞蹈研究會（Congress on Research in Dance）、國際舞蹈委員會（International Dance Council）、舞蹈研究協會（Dance Studies Association）和舞蹈研究會（Society for Dance Research）主辦的活動上發表。以上大部份機構仍然活躍，而且在全球舞蹈發展中擔任不可或缺的角色。
有別於以往的是，現在有更多不同方式去進行舞蹈研究。擅於揉合不同舞蹈類型的編舞家韋恩．麥葛萊格（Wayne McGregor）同時經營舞團和研究工作室。工作室不只是為麥氏而設，它同時開放給其他獨立舞蹈研究者。安娜（Anna Halprin）和達莉婭．哈普林（Daria Halprin）的塔摩帕研究所（Tamalpa Institute），就訓練以動作為基礎的表達藝術治療師，能夠在不同環境下工作。學術會議如「計算學中的運動與動作」（Movement and Motion in Computing），亦會連結多個不同界別人士。簡言之，今天的舞蹈研究者已不限於學院內，也超越了人文學科或社會科學等範疇。
Brenton Surgenor and David Leung co-presenting at Dance and Somatic Practices Conference 2019
/ 攝Photo: Christian Kipp
 https://dancestudiesassociation.org/about/a-brief-history-of-the-congress-on-research-in-dance  http://www.cid-portal.org/  https://dancestudiesassociation.org/conferences  http://societyfordanceresearch.org/wp/  https://waynemcgregor.com/about/studio-wayne-mcgregor/  香港演藝學院舞蹈學院創院院長  Judith Chazin‐Bennahum (1990) Fifth Hong Kong international dance conference, July 1990, Dance Chronicle, 13:3, 393-400, DOI: 10.1080/01472529008569048  https://www.y-space.org/i-dancehk/?lang=en  香港城市大學創意媒體學院講師  香港大學人文醫學中心及香港演藝學院舞蹈學院講師
[ENG] Diverse, Inclusive and Constantly Evolving: A Personal Reflection on Dance Research and Hong Kong
Text: Eugenia S. Kim
When I first sat down to write on the topic of “dance research”, I found myself pausing for a long time. The field of dance research is a continuously evolving area of enquiry that blends traditional scholarship with newer forms of innovative practice that is increasingly interdisciplinary. Traditional forms of dance research focused on the history, critique, and analysis of dance performance with research output taking the form of academic texts. A current scan of dance research, however, reveals choreographers and performers alike applying the art form to solving societal issues, collaborating with science and technology experts, and even going so far as to explore how dance can heal medical conditions. Even more interesting is how much dance research is taking place in Hong Kong itself despite the lack of a research centre in a university setting. To that end, this essay aims to provide a brief overview of what constitutes dance research, its development in Hong Kong and to highlight some of the individuals contributing to dance research in Hong Kong today.
My own introduction to dance research did not take place until after I had completed my master’s degree. While growing up in the United States, my dream was to be a choreographer who creates digital animations. Research was rarely discussed in my professional training and higher education courses on dance and multimedia. No classes were given on how to reflect on, write about or present artistic work. There was a vague notion that there were people doing research related to dance, but it rarely seemed to be something done by dance practitioners. In the end, I achieved my childhood dream by becoming a researcher rather than an artist. By first working as a digital archivist specialising in dance preservation and then exploring motion capture as part of my practice-based doctoral research, I was able to explore multiple ways of engaging in dance research. Now I am applying those experiences to teaching research skills to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
Although my journey might seem roundabout, it is more common than it sounds. Sarah Whatley, founding Director of the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) at Coventry University, was originally a dance performer and choreographer who happened to conduct her doctoral research on archiving the works of Siobhan Davies. She has since worked on a variety of projects that incorporate motion capture, virtual reality, and digital preservation. Whatley is also a prolific author, journal editor, and involved administrator who fosters an environment for dance researchers to engage in innovative projects. Other researchers that I have met, in Hong Kong and abroad, have shared similar histories of evolution. Newer generations of dance students are now benefitting from this collective wisdom as research skills are taught in both academic and public dance programmes such as Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Gibney Dance Centre.
In the past, the stereotypical dance researcher might be a dance historian who also acts as a dance critic. An anthropologist or sociologist who examined dance through the lens of society at large or an ethnomusicologist focusing on dance were also considered dance researchers. From a more scientific perspective, movement notation and analysis for both kinesiological and cultural purposes was another entry point. The findings of these researchers were commonly released as journal articles or books or presented at events run by organizations such as the Congress on Research for Dance, International Dance Council, Dance Studies Association, and Society for Dance Research. Most of these organizations are still operating and play a vital role in the development of dance on a global level.
What has changed is that there are now more ways to conduct dance research. The genre-bending choreographer Wayne McGregor runs both a dance company and a research studio. This studio serves not only as a lab for McGregor but also for other independent dance researchers. Anna and Daria Halprin’s Tamalpa Institute trains movement-based expressive arts therapists to work in a variety of environments. Conferences such as Movement and Motion in Computing bring together individuals from a variety of disciplines. In short, today’s dance researchers are not restricted to working in an academic setting nor to just the humanities and social science fields.
This evolution is reflected in Hong Kong’s own history of dance research activity. From 1985 to 1990, Carl Wolz oversaw the Hong Kong International Dance Conference which featured performances, research, and critical response to major issues in dance. These conferences gave rise to the World Dance Alliance – Asia Pacific chapter and the Hong Kong Dance Alliance, both of which include the support of research activity in their mission statements. More recently, the iDance Festival run by Y-Space has regularly hosted traditional and practice-based research presentations. In 2020 alone, Hong Kong Dance Company released the complete results of their research project on martial arts through videos and performance while City Contemporary Dance Company challenged the typical format of a dance residency with their Digital Audience Engagement online programme that felt more like an exploratory research lab.
At the centre of all these activities are individual researchers working in a variety of settings and specialties. One striking trend is the crossing of disciplinary boundaries in teaching and practice as part of their research. For dance technology specialist Koala Yip Choi-fung , research is a way to prove a point by using her practice as a case study. By combining motion capture, digital video, and even medical imaging technology with theories from fields like cultural studies, Yip balances the emotional and rational sides of her process. Her current project with Taiwanese collaborators has led to several performances exploring what the “new wave” in body motion is and how thinking across visual and performing arts allows for examination of how emotions and identity are affected by movement.
Koala Yip's work - Mother’s First Daughter (0:38), single channel video installation, Digital Salon, Collage Library, UW-Madison, April 15th – 20th, 2012
David Leung Ka-nang also crosses boundaries regularly, teaching in both medical school and dance studio settings. He uses a blend of dance, bodywork, and somatic practices in surprising ways to explore both embodied and theoretical knowledge. For him, dance research “is a continual drive to return to the same embodied focus in the practice of dance to take another glimpse into who we are as human beings, in various settings and lenses including but not limited to society, cultures, somatics, and aesthetics.” His presentation for the online Embodiment Conference 2020 was the perfect illustration of his approach: an interactive philosophical investigation into a fundamental aspect of moving that leads to new discoveries about one’s self as a dancer.
The Embodiment Conference 2020
In terms of higher education institutes in Hong Kong, the students and teaching staff of the School of Dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts have been steadily engaged in research activity. Students currently benefit from the guidance of Professor Joseph Gonzales and other advisors for their research projects, with additional guidance provided by the Performing Arts Research (PAR) Unit. PAR has also been running professional development programmes for the staff. When I asked PAR members Dr Phoebe Chan and Krissy Lam about impactful research coming out of the School of Dance, they recommended Stella Lau and Brenton Surgenor as two contrasting examples.
Lau needs very little introduction as she is well-known for her amazing career at Hong Kong Ballet, extensive teaching experience and leadership in local and international organisations. All this knowledge is apparent in her practice-as-research on ballet pedagogy. When she speaks eloquently about how she structures her classes, the observations, analysis, and course of action all sound as though they could be found in an academic journal. However, Lau applies her research findings on a daily basis in the studio where her students can benefit immediately from her careful analysis and choice of actions. This method of dissemination has instant impact and shows how research can inform teaching directly.
For Surgenor, a long-time researcher, his work requires blending dance, sports science, psychology, and other disciplines. His approach to dance research “is being curious about my practice as a dancer, dance maker and teacher. Dance Science is about using scientific method to investigate what I think I know about dance to see if it really is best practice. It’s investigating practitioner wisdom and being guided by evidence-based practice (research).” Surgenor, however, does not limit himself to a simply scientific approach. At the 2017 International Symposium on Practice-as-Research (ISPaR), he also co-presented and performed a paper that required engaging in reflective practice.
Out of Hong Kong’s emerging researchers, Mayson Fung Mei-sheung is an exemplar of how “dance researcher” can be part of a personal identity and not just a profession. After graduating from the Trinity Laban MFA programme, she returned to Hong Kong and became a schoolteacher in a non-artistic capacity. Every morning, without fail, she continues her movement research by practising a style of tai chi unique to Hong Kong. Fung has been analysing the impact that her Western somatic practices training has had on her approach to tai chi, particularly regarding the gender qualities of movement. In addition to her somatic practice, she is also a dance filmmaker and stage performer. Through her life choices, Fung demonstrates that one need not be paid as a researcher to conduct dance research.
Based on historical precedent and current developments, it is evident that the dance research activity in Hong Kong is diverse, interdisciplinary and has both local and international reach. Every year yields some exciting new project or significant development in an existing initiative. Whenever I travel to another country, it is fun to see the astonishment on the faces of others when I explain how much activity is taking place in Hong Kong. It is equally surprising for me to find out how interconnected the dance research community is, even across geographical borders. Perhaps my only desire would be for more support of Hong Kong dance research. Whether this is best done through more events, online platforms, collaborations between existing organizations, dedicated funding and administration in the form of an institute, or some novel means yet to be discovered – that is something best decided by the community together. For now, I hope that the many conversations and previous efforts can lead to future developments that are sustainable and long lasting.
 https://dancestudiesassociation.org/about/a-brief-history-of-the-congress-on-research-in-dance  http://www.cid-portal.org/  https://dancestudiesassociation.org/conferences  http://societyfordanceresearch.org/wp/  https://waynemcgregor.com/about/studio-wayne-mcgregor/  Founding Dean of School of Dance, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts  Judith Chazin‐Bennahum (1990) Fifth Hong Kong international dance conference, July 1990, Dance Chronicle, 13:3, 393-400, DOI: 10.1080/01472529008569048  https://www.y-space.org/i-dancehk/?lang=en  Instructor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong  Lecturer at Medical Humanities Programme, University of Hong Kong and School of Dance, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts
Text: Eugenia S. Kim