[中][ENG] 新常態之下，我的回顧與展望 Looking back and looking ahead at dance in the ‘new normal’
2011年亞洲區分賽及2014年中國賽區冠軍，並兩度晉身世界總決賽30強。他們於2006年在香港成立OtroTango Dance Studio，並曾獲邀到亞洲多個城市表演及客席授課。
阿根廷探戈是雙人舞，過去一年疫情下身體接觸的活動好像是犯罪似的…… 我們敎課的時候都緊守防疫措施，但還是有學生會擔心，在歌舞羣組出現之後，更多學生因為上司同事家人朋友等的壓力下也要暫停下來…… 部份涉舞未深的學生更放棄學下去…… 疫情下堅持下來的學生也只能練習一些單人技巧，Online Zoom課程或者視覺上更清晰又可以重溫，教學上被逼發展出將舞步編成獨舞來練習，但最終雙人互動直接身體接觸感受動力牽引還是無法取代的。
阿根廷探戈舞蹈本身的意義就是在擁抱內人與人的溝通，能與不同人共舞是社交探戈Social Tango本來的面貌。未來如果Social Tango還是未能恢復，可能只能發展以表演為目標的舞台探戈，學習都只跟自己舞伴跳，然後為著表演去練習。Social Tango的生活模式、與人以舞會友的快樂…… 也就無法享受。失去日常即興跳舞的機會，也難有像阿根廷人每天每晚跳幾十年沉澱下來的功力和深度了。
曾籌辦香港舞踏節（2012年至今四屆）、《窿人》（2019）、《沙丘上的巴別塔：舞踏深水埗》（2017）、《舞踏城寨：第二個巴別塔》（2014）、香港舞踏II—《WHB》（2013）、Through a closed mouth the flies enter（2012）。
攝Photo: Worldwide Dancer Project
Looking back and looking ahead at dance in the ‘new normal’
Translator: Claudia Law
To find out more about people’s experiences during the pandemic and expectations for the future, we asked the same two questions of a range of people involved in dance in Hong Kong:
In the past year, what were the biggest challenges or difficulties you encountered in creating / studying / performing / watching dance?
As we have to live with the pandemic in the ‘new normal’, what changes do you expect for dance in the future in these areas?
The following interviews are sorted in order of the interviewees’ Chinese names.
Raymond Chu and Lily Cheng
Winners in the Asian Championships in 2011 and the China Championships in 2014. Top 30 finalists in the World Championships on two occasions. They established the OtroTango Dance Studio in 2006 and have been invited to perform and lecture in many Asian cities.
Argentine Tango is a duet, a dance two people do together. In the past year, activities involving bodily interaction have come to seem like committing a crime… We observed preventive measures during class, but some students were still very worried. When there were outbreaks in dance centres, more students stopped coming to class due to pressure from their colleagues, family and friends… Those students who did come to class during the pandemic could only practice some solo skills. While online Zoom classes might show steps clearly and some solo dance pieces could be developed, the bodily interaction that comes from dancing with a partner cannot be replaced.
The meaning of Argentine Tango lies in embracing communication between people. The purpose of social tango is being able to dance with others. If social tango cannot be resumed in the future, perhaps only stage tango can be developed. We will have to work only with our dance partner and practice for stage performance. The whole point of social tango is the joy of dancing with friends and others… If the enjoyment can’t be shared, the meaning is lost. If we can’t dance impromptu every day that will make it very hard to develop the depth and skill of the Argentinians, who dance the tango night after night.
Aged 7. Studying in Grade 1 of Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Primary School. Extra-curricular activities include participating in Hong Kong Dance Company’s Children’s Group, playing the flute and learning German. Marcia is a lively little girl who loves to talk and ask questions and is full of empathy.
Learning online is rather boring. Sometimes when I have questions, the teacher may not see me raising my hand. It’s not like having class in a physical classroom where I can meet with friends. This makes me a bit upset. Teachers cannot even make big gestures because they are either too high or too low for the camera to keep in shot. I find that annoying.
Due to the pandemic, we have to wear masks. That really upsets me. What’s more, the pandemic has caused illness, death, some classmates went for vaccination and couldn’t come to class. I don’t want these things to happen. Because of this ‘new normal’, I will take things more seriously. I will also put more effort into dancing.
Born in Singapore, Grace graduated from School of The Arts, Singapore and enrolled in The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in September 2017. Grace is currently a BFA Year 4 student, majoring in ballet.
For me, the biggest challenge is to maintain my technique. Due to the pandemic, many of our classes have switched to online. Although we can still practice every day, it is very different from being in the dance studio. The space at home is inadequate for practicing. Of course, many performances have been cancelled during the pandemic. Apart from losing the chance to watch performances, as a dance student, I also lost opportunities to dance on stage. Having the opportunity to be on stage is important because you learn a lot of things that aren’t taught in the classroom: artistic sense, performance skills and learning different styles of work.
I believe there will be more dance courses and performances online in the future. For instance, in the past, we had to travel in order to attend master classes, but now or in the future, that may not be necessary, as they will be shown online. It’s the same for watching performances. We will have more opportunities to see works by international choreographers and dance companies. I’ve also noticed that there have been many more dance videos recently and I believe that many people will continue to use this way of presenting and recording their work.
He organized Butoh Butoh Fest Hong Kong (for the 4th time since 2012), The Hollowed Man (2019), The Third Tower of Babe: A Butoh Interpretation of Sham Shui Po (2017), The Second Tower of Babel: Butoh in the Kowloon Walled City (2014), Hong Kong Butoh Festival 2013: WHB?! (2013) and Through a closed mouth the flies enter (2012).
Challenges? Difficulties? I believe the biggest of these is first to find a way to survive and live our lives. In terms of creation, last year I participated in Along the Edge Arts Festival, in a work called Tesserismeron presented by CCCD. I stayed in my isolated room to practice Butoh. I created every day. I performed live every night. Eating, pooing, sleeping, performing while I discovered a new language of Butoh in that environment, the new distance between performer and audience, with the viewers continually going in and out of the new virtual theatre.
The self-help plan for social anxiety – living with the pandemic, at the same time hoping this is not the new ‘normal’. Why not utilize this period to sort out and review the journey you’ve taken, while continuing to fall in love with the live streaming phenomenon.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Art Venue Performing Arts Magazine and Founder and CEO of W&U Creative, Winona is a cultural entrepreneur who specializes in connecting people around the world and across different sectors, including media, arts and culture, B2B e-commerce, and technology. She is currently active in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In the past year, the biggest challenge for watching dance was not being able to go to the theatre. And not being able to travel to other regions to watch performances, either. Although many art organizations around the world have provided free online programmes, thereby allowing us to view world-class performances at home, being physically present at dance performances is very important; online viewing doesn’t offer that experience and makes it more difficult to feel engaged. So I see it only as a learning opportunity where I can know more about different dance pieces.
I think watching dance will change in three ways: first, as the surge of online performances continues, audiences will become more demanding and the techniques for the audio and video recording of dance will keep developing. Second, audiences around the world will expect to see dance pieces which focus more on exploring social issues. Third, in today’s chaotic world and with the pandemic, audiences will look for work that can give them inner peace.
Head of Dance, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Formerly Director of the Guangdong Dance Festival, Programme Director of the Beijing Dance Festival and Programme Director of City Contemporary Dance Company. One of the founders of the HOTPOT East Asia Dance Platform.
In the past year, the biggest challenge for performing arts curation is that no arrangements can be confirmed for certain. Every project requires multiple contingency plans and you have to be prepared for changes. During this process I faced compromises and difficult decisions – sometimes adjusting the performer-audience relationship, sometimes changing to live streaming, sometimes the only option being to postpone or cancel. The saddest thing is when the theatre is forced to close at short notice and performances have to be cancelled.
In the ‘new normal’ of the pandemic, I will try to transcend the situation by thinking outside the box, for example being flexible on productions and preparing both an online and a live version. Some productions depart from the traditional theatre norms and redefine meanings of performance and theatre. In addition, for international tours overseas companies are seeking more local collaboration to reduce the need for their own staff to travel.
The first homegrown dancer promoted to principal in Hong Kong Ballet’s history. She has been a full-time ballet lecturer at the School of Dance, Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts since 2002 and completed the MFA in Dance programme in 2010.
In the past year, the biggest challenge was how to continue teaching dance during the severe pandemic. Teachers and students needed to learn new things within a short period of time so that different modes of online teaching could be implemented. We had to handle problems arising from teaching online: the lack of a safe and suitable space for students to take class, insufficient data at home, physical and mental health problems etc.
Opportunities arise in midst of risks. Dance teaching developed a new mode during the pandemic. It put more emphasis on students’ participation and their own voices. Through online teaching, students have been able to master the individual learning process more independently. In addition, performances are being presented in different ways. In addition to face-to-face performances, live streaming or recordings are being used.
Part of the first generation of local choreographers, Miranda Chin has created more than 100 dance works and is the recipient of dance awards both in Hong Kong and overseas. She has been devoted in performing arts as well as education, her publications include Wuji and Born in Dance.
In 2020 while the globe was facing the life and death struggle with COVID-19, I took the opportunity to review my dance creation journey of the past 50 years. I went through dance interviews and organized photos; I recollected my feelings towards literature, society and philosophy from different eras. In the end, my book, Born in Dance, was published by Cosmos Books and I fulfilled my goal to leave a cultural legacy for Hong Kong.
In Chinese culture, Tai Chi is a circle of life, on which we embark again and again. In the future I will be grateful and loving. Dance is based on the philosophy of health. Through performing arts and education – “love to move, love art, love life” – Hong Kong, the financial capital, will start a new chapter as a city of cultural wisdom, co-existing in harmony with the world.
Trapped in the office from Monday through Friday to earn a living, Jaimie says she loves dancing, watching films, shopping, keeping little pets and being a typical Hong Kong girl who likes silly non-sense stuff..
Despite being affected by the pandemic, I love to dance, even though I was anxious when entering the classroom because I was afraid of being infected. Recently I have come to treasure every class even more. Although many courses can be studied online, the level of focus and emotion in the physical classroom are very different. The surge in the number of cases in dance studios and gyms meant I had to explain to my family that it was a challenge for me to insist on still going to class.
People need face-to-face contact and interaction. They can’t stay behind the screen for a long time. I don’t believe that the internet will replace live performances. On the contrary, the two can co-exist and help both sides to develop. At the end of March a series of live plays will be staged incorporating Zoom. Perhaps this form of performance will become the new normal in the future.