[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

多元、包容、持續進化中:有關舞蹈研究與香港的個人思考

原文:金尚美

翻譯:Raven Ching


襟坐案前,我為「舞蹈研究」一題,思索良久未能下筆。舞蹈研究是一個持續演化中的研究領域,它揉合傳統學術與持續創新的實踐形式,並正逐漸跨越學科的界限。傳統舞蹈研究聚焦於舞蹈表演的歷史、評論和分析,研究成果多以學術文章發表。但若環顧今日的舞蹈研究,你卻會發現,編舞家與表演者們均以實踐「舞蹈」這種藝術形式,去回應社會議題、與科技專家合作、甚至探索舞蹈如何能治療疾患。更為有趣的是,在大學研究機關的缺席下,舞蹈研究項目在香港自生自立,為數眾多。為此,本文旨在簡述舞蹈研究的構成、此範疇在香港的發展,並介紹一些現今於香港致力為舞蹈研究作貢獻的人士。


我首次接觸舞蹈研究,是在我完成了碩士學位之後。成長於美國的我,曾夢想成為創作數碼動畫的編舞家。無論是在我所接受的舞蹈與多媒體專業訓練,抑或高等教育課程中,「研究」都少有被談及,也沒有課程去教授如何回應、書寫或呈現藝術作品。曾有人約略提及過有些人正在進行有關舞蹈的研究,但這似乎不是由習舞者來做的事。最後,我並沒有成為藝術家,反而以一位研究者的身份來實現了童年的夢想。我起初擔任專門負責舞蹈庫存的數碼文獻主任,後來則嘗試探索動作捕捉技術,作為我實踐為本的博士研究一部份,使我得以探索不同進路參與舞蹈研究。今天,我就憑著這些經驗,教導本科及研究生研究的技巧。


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)[1]、國際舞蹈委員會(International Dance Council)[2]、舞蹈研究協會(Dance Studies Association)[3]和舞蹈研究會(Society for Dance Research)[4]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[5]。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。


香港的舞蹈研究發展亦有同樣的變化。自1985年至1990年,由胡善佳[6]所籌劃,包含表演、研究及評論重要舞蹈議題的香港國際舞蹈會議[7],催生了世界舞蹈聯盟亞太分會,以及香港舞蹈聯盟,兩者皆在其使命聲明中表示對研究活動的支持。就近期而言,由多空間舉辦的「i-舞蹈節」,定期主持傳統和實踐為本的研究展演[8]。單在2020年,香港舞蹈團已透過錄像和表演,發表針對武術的完整研究報告;城市當代舞蹈團則以舉辦了「數位觀眾參與」的網上計劃,挑戰一般的舞蹈駐留模式。感覺上,這計劃更像一個探索研究實驗室。


以上各項活動的核心,是在不同場域和專業裡工作的獨立研究者。其中一個引人注目的趨勢是,研究者將跨越學科界限的教學和練習,融入研究之中。對舞蹈科技專家葉彩鳳[9]而言,研究是利用自己的創作實踐去作為研究個案,來驗證她的論點。葉的研究以動作捕捉技術、數碼錄像,甚至醫學影像科技,結合文化研究等學科的理論,在過程中平衡了感性和理性面向。她目前與來自台灣的合作者一同進行的項目,衍生出數個表演,分別探索「身體動態中的『新浪潮』」,以及「如何跨越視覺與表演藝術的思考界限,去審視情感與身份如何受動作影響」。


梁嘉能[10]也是跨領域的研究者,他同時在醫學院及舞蹈教室授課。他以出人意表的方式,混合舞蹈、身體功課,與身心學練習,探索歸納身體與理論知識。對他而言,舞蹈研究「是一股持續的推動力,讓他在社會、文化、身心、美學,或是其他的情景與視角中,藉著習舞回歸至自身身體的原焦點,再一次審視我們作為人類的身份。」他在2020年有關身體之網上會議演說中,完美演示他的進路:互動而富哲學性地探討動作的本質,引領個體去從舞者的自我中尋到新發現。


Brenton Surgenor and David Leung co-presenting at Dance and Somatic Practices Conference 2019

/ 攝Photo: Christian Kipp


在香港的高等教育機構中,香港演藝學院舞蹈學院的師生皆有穩定地參與研究活動。學生除了能他們的研究項目上,得到江祖堯教授及其他導師的指導,也會獲表演藝術研究部的額外指導。表演藝術研究部亦同時為職員提供專業發展課程。當我向表演藝術研究部成員陳玉蘭博士和林燕女士問及舞蹈學院中具影響力的舞蹈研究計劃時,他們推舉了兩個南轅北轍的例子:劉燕玲和商俊樂。


劉燕玲毋須多作介紹,她在香港芭蕾舞團的出色職業生涯、豐富的教學經驗,以及其領導本地及國際組織的經驗,人所共知。以上的知識,同樣顯現在她以實踐式研究方式進行的芭蕾舞教學。當她解釋如何構建她的課堂,其觀察、分析及行動方式皆條理分明,如同學術期刊裡所能讀到的。但有別於傳統學者,劉將她的研究成果直接應用於每天的舞蹈課堂中,她的學生能直接受益於她的細心分析與行動決擇。這種發表方式能帶來即時影響,並顯示研究如何能直接幫助教學。


至於長期擔任研究員的商俊樂,其工作需要融合舞蹈、運動科學、心理學及其他範疇。他對舞蹈研究的切入點是「對於自己作為舞者、舞蹈製作人和教師的工作保持好奇。舞蹈科學乃利用科學方法去研究舞蹈,驗證以我對舞蹈的認知,這是否最佳的實踐方式。這是以實證為本的實踐(研究)作指引,檢視習藝者的智慧。」商氏並沒有局限其研究於單純的科學方法。於2017年的實踐研究國際研討會上,他與他人合作發表了一篇論文,也以表演形式發表了一篇需要參與反思性實踐的項目。


在香港一眾正在崛起的研究者中,馮美璇是將舞蹈研究者當成個人身份一部份,而不僅是是一個職業的佼佼者。從聖三一拉邦音樂及舞蹈學院修畢藝術碩士後,她回到香港,擔任與藝術無關的學校教師。風雨不改地,她每天早上都會透過練習香港獨有的太極式,進行動作研究。馮氏一直在分析西方的身心學訓練對她研究太極的影響,特別是動作中的性別意涵。除了修習身心學,馮也是一個舞蹈影像製作人和舞台表演者。從馮美璇的生涯選擇可見,舞蹈研究不一定是一份受薪的工作。


從歷史沿流到現今的發展,可見舞蹈研究在香港發展多元,跨越界別,也有延伸至本地及國際。每年皆可見到令人期待的新項目,或見既有項目取得顯著發展。每當我前往其他國家,向國外人士講述正在香港進行的眾多舞蹈研究活動時,看見他們驚訝的表情時,十分有趣;而我同樣都會訝異於舞蹈研究群體如何跨越地域,互相連結。我僅此希望,香港的舞蹈研究能獲得更大的支持。不論是透過舉辦更多活動、網上平台、現有機構間的合作,投放行政資源及撥款予單一機構,或其他尚未被發掘的嶄新形式——最好是由研究的社群共同決定。到此,我由衷希望,通過眾多相關的對話與過往的努力,能達至可持續且長遠的舞蹈研究發展。



[1] https://dancestudiesassociation.org/about/a-brief-history-of-the-congress-on-research-in-dance [2] http://www.cid-portal.org/ [3] https://dancestudiesassociation.org/conferences [4] http://societyfordanceresearch.org/wp/ [5] https://waynemcgregor.com/about/studio-wayne-mcgregor/ [6] 香港演藝學院舞蹈學院創院院長 [7] Judith Chazin‐Bennahum (1990) Fifth Hong Kong international dance conference, July 1990, Dance Chronicle, 13:3, 393-400, DOI: 10.1080/01472529008569048 [8] https://www.y-space.org/i-dancehk/?lang=en [9] 香港城市大學創意媒體學院講師 [10] 香港大學人文醫學中心及香港演藝學院舞蹈學院講師

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文:金尚美

金尚美是跨領域創作者和實踐為本的研究員,目前專注於運動捕捉、虛擬現實和身心學運動的實踐。她擁有舞蹈、數碼庫存/人文,和多媒體藝術的背景。她為香港城市大學創意媒體博士、奧爾巴尼大學信息科學碩士,及倫斯勒理工學院電子媒體、藝術與傳播學士。現為香港演藝學院表演藝術研究講師。

[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[1], International Dance Council[2], Dance Studies Association[3], and Society for Dance Research[4]. 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[5]. 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[6] oversaw the Hong Kong International Dance Conference which featured performances, research, and critical response to major issues in dance.[7] 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[8]. 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 [9], 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[10]. 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.



[1] https://dancestudiesassociation.org/about/a-brief-history-of-the-congress-on-research-in-dance [2] http://www.cid-portal.org/ [3] https://dancestudiesassociation.org/conferences [4] http://societyfordanceresearch.org/wp/ [5] https://waynemcgregor.com/about/studio-wayne-mcgregor/ [6] Founding Dean of School of Dance, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts [7] Judith Chazin‐Bennahum (1990) Fifth Hong Kong international dance conference, July 1990, Dance Chronicle, 13:3, 393-400, DOI: 10.1080/01472529008569048 [8] https://www.y-space.org/i-dancehk/?lang=en [9] Instructor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong [10] Lecturer at Medical Humanities Programme, University of Hong Kong and School of Dance, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts

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Text: Eugenia S. Kim

Eugenia S. Kim is an interdisciplinary creator and practice-based researcher currently focusing on motion capture, virtual reality and somatic movement practices. Her background is in dance, digital archives/humanities, and multimedia art. She holds a PhD in Creative Media from City University of Hong Kong, an M.S. in Information Science from University at Albany, and a B.S. in Electronic Media, Arts and Communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Eugenia is currently a Lecturer of Performing Arts Research at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

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