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[中][ENG] 如何玩好一場逆境遊戲? —— 韓錦濤專訪 How do we play in a game of adversity? - An Interview with Angela Hang

[中] 如何玩好一場逆境遊戲? —— 韓錦濤專訪

文:藝文記


一場社會運動、一次世紀疫情,香港從此變得不一樣,影響遍及不同階層,既廣且深。在經濟掛帥的社會,數字通常是衡量事物的先決標準,於是疫情下的新聞和消息,不少都是圍繞企業倒閉、公司裁員,以及減薪失業等等。早前剛巧留意到由健身、搏擊、運動及舞蹈業界組成的大聯盟,訴說著行內的種種苦況,當中發現了本港著名舞蹈學校Studiodanz創辦人兼總監韓錦濤(Angela)的身影。


這陣子,Angela著實非常忙碌,四出奔走幫助同業發聲,除了生計等亟待解決的問題,她也把握過去一年多的意外假期,深入思考很多非關數字的行業議題,並且逐步尋回自己當初開設舞蹈學校的初心。目睹大量舞蹈老師開工不足,甚至需要透過開拓副業維生;舞蹈學生則進度大為倒退,空有學習熱情,卻無課堂可上,Angela感慨萬千之餘,亦不失正面樂觀。她相信在經歷全面停擺後,行業定能開拓更為寬廣的發展道路,「我開始領悟到這是一件好事。大家都一齊放假,到了回來的時候,我們所有的學生,對於跳舞,他們是更加熱情;老師對於跳舞,在過程中更會尋找到自己是否真的想跳,大家都尋找清楚到底方向是怎麼了!」


由1987年開始跳舞,至今已經三十多年,除了個人在美學上、技術上的持續追求及發展,舞蹈教育一直都是Angela的終身事業,其中已有18年歷史的Studiodanz更是本港舞蹈業界極為重要的搖籃,多年來培育出一代又一代的人才。回顧歷史,Studiodanz剛好在2003年沙士後正式成立並營運,「幸運地,當時我都無戴過口罩,因為疫情最嚴重時,Studiodanz正在進行裝修;疫情前我就去了New York(紐約),算是避開了,partner(合作伙伴)幫手睇住裝修。到我五月回來後,只要噴好消毒藥水,人數上限又把關得好,就全部activity(活動)都可以做,只要載好口罩就可以,並無任何limitation(限制),無須限聚、無須停課。」接近兩個十年之後,新一場世紀疫症驟然襲來,影響更為深遠,「一生之中,我從未試過如此匆忙,如此頻密地去做更改。突然要放假、突然要休息,可能做完一次又一次,然後要在不同制度下去adjust(調整),例如停課與復課等等」,匆忙之間,Angela慢慢適應下來,在混亂中重新尋覓當中節奏,「我就順應著這個情況,發覺都不錯、都幾好,心想不如趁著這個機會,所有人都一齊放下假。」


Studiodanz Live Streaming Class under the pandemic/

照片由Studiodanz提供 Photo provided by Studiodanz


身處這個意外假期,Angela還原基本,向自己提出了很多核心問題,包括舞蹈之路是否已經走到盡頭,「原來我是好鍾意跳舞的,原來我仍然好想在這個dance(舞蹈)的community(社群)之中有所貢獻,因為我知道無論發生什麼事都好、出現什麼疫情都好,我都無想過要去做其他事,現時在做的已經是我最想做的,最多只是去找不同方法再深化、不同方法去令事件得以發生。」畢竟開校辦學都是商業投資,市道如此艱難,內心又曾否軟弱過?「當然從business(生意)的角度、從金錢的角度,就不會有好多錢,最多自己就減少一些花費。」決心在舞蹈路上繼續貢獻自己,Angela亦把握機會檢視過去的得失,「我都已經想清楚自己的方向,如何去direct(帶領)這間學校?如何去堅持初心?即是我們開業十幾二十年,都已經上了軌道,有時我們做事都會太理直氣壯、順理成章;但因為這個疫情,我們有時間停下來思考,更好地計劃未來的發展方向,問問我自己開學校的目的到底是什麼?我想deliver(傳遞)怎麼樣的message(訊息)去給我們的學生呢?這個沉澱的過程強化了我最初的信念。」


Angela形容,自己一直的辦學宗旨都是「Training the best of the best」(訓練出最佳中的最佳),可是隨著時間推演,不少新想法亦慢慢萌生。「The best of the best這條路,要有很多條件成全。首先是興趣,然後是生存,中間出現了一個問題:『要是沒有基礎的教育,他們又可以如何持續向上、一直進步呢?』」多年來的經驗亦讓Angela發現了舞蹈教學的普遍問題,「有時落到studio(舞室)跳舞,老師一落場就好勁,部分學生又好勁,然後就會妨礙到一些本來不太認識跳舞的人,一堂課過後,他們都走了。」乘著今次疫情帶來的「契機」,Angela和一群舞蹈老師,再加上整個創作團隊,一同搭建網上教學平台。在專業團隊的協助下,我們研究如何透過鏡頭、屏幕和電腦去將舞蹈課堂做得更加平易近人,同時不失水準。「反正我們都要去做網上版本,於是我們做了不同section(分部),解構過去可能比較深奧的地方,並不是『求其』化,也不是簡單化,而是進行切割,令到各個部分都更加細緻,令到同學更加懂得如何做動作、如何聽音樂。」Angela特別提到,真人面授的舞蹈教學當然獨一無二,但網上課程也有其可取之處:一方面靈活性十足,另一方面亦更加個人化,兩者絕對可以互補不足。「同學可以隨時stop(停止),並且視乎需要自行重看,覺得仍不足夠的話又可以repeat(重複),然後明日又加插其他環節。」


關於今次嘗試,Angela的目的是要點燃學員對舞蹈的熱情,拉近雙方距離。「從來不敢來studio(舞室)的、本身不夠自信心的、容易會被其他人嚇走的,希望他們都開始對跳舞有接觸,然後發現跳舞原來都不是太難,原來自己都可以動起來,令到有朝一日,當疫情過了兩個月、三個月、四個月後,真正可以重返studio(舞室)時,他們再也不會恐懼。」Angela笑言,若非今次疫情襲來,團隊也未必能將一直以來的想法付諸實行,「Dancer以前都好忙,他們未必會應承我們這樣做;相反現時大家都有好多時間,可以錄製到不同集數、結合不同style,這是一個好處。」


2020年已過一大半,回顧過去三季,Angela直指同行能夠真正工作的時間其實很少,由去年社會運動開始,到今年疫情爆發,衝擊非常之大。「無法教學,全部老師不論大中小學都無,studio(舞室)又無;同時無得表演,例如commercial(商業)方面,整個行業都完全停頓,收入歸零。」除了努力鑽研如何在狹縫中繼續生存,包括將傳統課堂改為線上模式等實務工作,Angela都很鼓勵身邊同行直面前路,思索未來。她以Studiodanz的舞蹈老師為例,指他們最近都正經歷很多轉變,「變化是他們有很多時間看清楚自己需要什麼,同一時間好多人話我知要開studio(舞室)、要做skin care(護膚品)生意,要做很多其他事情;他們都喜歡跳舞,不過跳舞不再是唯一的事情,始終我們不是一個舞團,他們全是part-time性質的,發現日後不能繼續這樣生存下去。」


Angela相信,這次「思考的契機」絕對難能可貴,讓大家有機會加深認識自己、加強規劃未來;同時在過去的一段時間,同業在數碼科技等範疇上也嘗試過不同的應用及實踐,凡此種種,都是引領行業走進全新發展階段的動力。「我個人是比較positive(正面),雖然的確是好challenging(具挑戰性),我也不知道這樣形容是否適合,但是同時都是『好玩的』,絕對是一次非常刺激的經驗。」


Hang helps with set up of online class streaming/

照片由韓錦濤提供 Photo provided by Angela Hang



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文:藝文記

「不要在乎權威會說什麼,真理就在你的自我之中。」

《傅柯的生死愛慾》

[ENG] How do we play in a game of adversity? - An Interview with Angela Hang

Text: Brian Yu


After a period of social upheaval and a global pandemic, Hong Kong is no longer the same. These events have affected all social groups, widely and deeply. In this economy-dominated society, numbers are how we measure things. Under the pandemic, most if not all news has been related to businesses shutting, employees being laid off, pay reductions, unemployment and so on. Some time ago, I noticed the formation of a union between the fitness, fighting, sports and dance sectors, addressing the difficult situation in their industries. Angela Hang, founder and director of Hong Kong’s famous dance school Studiodanz, was among those involved.


Recently, Hang has been very busy speaking up for people in her industry. Apart from working for solutions to urgent matters such as the livelihood of dance sector workers, she took advantage of the unplanned time off she had this past year to think about broader issues for the industry, including revisiting her initial motivation for starting a dance school. Having witnessed many dance teachers with insufficient job opportunities who have had to take a side job to make a living, along with dance students who were going backwards instead of progressing, having a huge passion to learn dance but no lessons to take, although rueful, Hang has not lost her enthusiasm. She believes that, after experiencing this complete standstill, the industry will be able to open up wider paths for development. “I started to understand that what has happened is actually something good, everyone having time off together. When they come back, all our students will be even more passionate about dancing. Teachers will be clearer whether they really enjoy teaching dance. We will all figure out our directions!”


It has been over 30 years since Hang started dancing in 1987. Besides the continuous pursuit of personal development in aesthetics and technique, dance education is Hang’s lifelong career — Studiodanz, with 18 years of history, has been an important cradle for generations of talent in the local dance industry. Studiodanz started right after SARS in 2003. “Luckily, I never had to wear a mask at that time, because at the peak of the pandemic, Studiodanz was under renovation. I flew to New York before the pandemic, so I sort of avoided it. My partner helped oversee the renovation works. After I came back in May, all we could do was to disinfect frequently and keep our students to a limited quota. We could host any activities as long as participants had their masks on. We didn’t face any limitations — no social gathering ban, no class suspensions.” After almost two decades, another unexpected pandemic has had a huge impact. “In all my life I’ve never been so rushed, having to make changes so frequently. Having to stop work abruptly, suddenly having to rest, something which has happened more than once. I’ve had to adapt to different arrangements, like suspending and resuming classes.” Hang has gradually got used to this stressful situation, picking up the pace amid the chaos. “In the end I went with the flow. I found it to be quite nice, and I thought, why don’t we all take a break?”


Studiodanz Live Streaming Class under the pandemic/

照片由Studiodanz提供 Photo provided by Studiodanz


During this unplanned holiday Hang went back to basics, asking herself a lot of core questions, including if she has already reached an end on her path in dance. “It turns out that I really like dancing. I still really want to contribute to the dance community, because I know for sure that, no matter what happens, whatever pandemic strikes, I’ve never thought of doing anything else. What I’m doing now is what I want to do, at most I’m finding different ways to enhance it, or looking for other ways to make things happen.” Running a dance school is in fact a monetary investment. Under such tough circumstances in the market, has Hang ever felt vulnerable? “Of course from a business, financial perspective, there would not be a lot of money, but I can limit my spending.” Determined to devote herself to dance, Hang grasps the chance to scrutinize her gains and losses in the past. “I have a clear idea of my direction. How am I leading this school? How do I stick to my initial motivation? I’ve already run the school for ten, twenty years and have got it on track. Sometimes we take our decisions for granted and take a default position, sticking to how things have always been. The pandemic has given me time to pause and think more deeply to plan further development, to ask myself what my objective was when I started the school. What messages do I want to deliver to my students? This thinking process has strengthened my initial belief.”


Hang describes her teaching initiative as “Training the best of the best”, but as time has gone by, a lot of new ideas have slowly sprouted: “The path of the best of the best takes a lot of factors to complete, first interest, then survival. Here comes the question, ‘In the absence of basic education, how can students continuously move forward and improve?’” Years of experience led Hang to discover a common problem in dance education: “Sometimes when we enter a studio, the teacher dances very well right from the beginning, as do certain students. This discourages some of the beginners and they leave after just one class.” With the ‘opportunity’ brought by the pandemic, Hang worked with a group of dance tutors and a production team to develop an online teaching platform. This professional team explored using cameras, monitors and computers to make dance classes more down to earth without compromising on quality. “We had to create an online version anyway, so we created different sections to explain some of the harder parts. We are not being perfunctory, neither are we simplifying things. We are breaking the dance into segments, giving the students more details for each part, telling them how to move and how to listen to the music.” Hang points out that while live, face to face classes are of course unique, online courses have their advantages too. “Students can stop at any time, review parts of the lesson according to their needs, and watch particular footage as many times as they like, then move on to other parts the next day.” So online lessons are more flexible, more personal and the two types of learning can complement each other.


Hang’s objective for this project is to ignite students’ passion towards dance, pulling the two closer. “For those who never dared to come to the studio, those who lack confidence, those who are easily scared off, I hope they will start to come in contact with dance, and realize dance isn’t too hard, finding out they can learn to move. Then one day, two, three, or four months after the end of the pandemic, when we can move back to our studios, they won’t be scared to try.” Hang says jokingly that if it wasn’t for this pandemic, their team might not have been able to put their ideas into action. “In the past, dancers were very busy and might not agree to do this for us, but now, since we have more time, we can film different episodes, combining different styles. This is one of the advantages.”


Most of 2020 has passed. Looking back at the first three quarters of the year, Hang points out that people in the industry have spent very little time working. The social movements last year and the pandemic now have caused a huge shock. “Not being able to teach in universities, secondary and primary schools or studios, and not being able to perform, for example in commercial jobs, the whole industry came to a halt, we have had no income.” Besides working hard to figure out how to survive under extreme pressure, including changing traditional classes to online courses, Hang has encouraged the people around her to face the path ahead bravely, and reflect upon the future. Using Studiodanz teachers as examples, she notes that they’ve faced a lot of changes recently: “They have had more time to see clearly what they need, and at the same time a lot of them are telling me they are opening studios, or skincare businesses, and doing a lot of other different things. They all enjoy dancing very much, but dance is not the only thing there is and after all we are not a dance company, they are all part-time employees, and they realize they cannot survive by working as they are now.”


Hang believes that this ‘opportunity for reflection’ is extremely precious, enabling everyone to get to know themselves better and to plan their future. At the same time, the dance sector has tried out a variety of digital technology, and these are all motivations to fuel the industry to enter a brand new stage of development. “I am quite positive, even though the situation is very challenging. I don’t know if I should put it like this, but it is also ‘fun’. This is undoubtedly a very exciting experience.”


Studiodanz recently moved into new premises in Taikoo/

照片由韓錦濤提供 Photo provided by Angela Hang




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(English Translation by Tiffany Wong)

Text: Brian Yu

‘Don’t look to authorities; the truth is in yourself.’

The Passion of Michel Foucault

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