Dance Curating in Asia
唐津繪理Eri Karatsu／攝Photo：Takayuki Abe
2020年六月底，Dance Base Yokohama 以「新表演藝術中心」的定位開幕。它位於港口城市橫濱的心臟地帶，集文化、藝術於一身。Dance Base Yokohama，簡稱DaBY，是一座以改善日本專業舞蹈環境，以及培育新晉舞蹈創作者為目標的舞蹈基地，而我就是Dance Base Yokohama的藝術總監。
Dance Base Yokohama Entrance／照片由Dance Base Yokohama提供 Photo provided by Dance Base Yokohama
鑒於人們仍然需要留在家中，我們開展了更多線上活動。在六月開初，我們於新建立的YouTube頻道——DaBY Channel上，舉行了一場虛擬的場地開幕禮。我們亦製作了一齣名為《Happy BirthDaBY》的舞蹈電影，以慶祝DaBY的開幕及「與新冠同在」的新世界伊始。我們總共製作了四段影片，有過百位舞者參與其中。
除此之外，我們亦在Instagram上舉行了「DaBY talk live」，讓年輕觀眾接觸舞蹈。我們邀請舞者作分享，內容由日常生活，以至有關新冠疫情的討論等，包羅萬有。自六月底正式開幕後，我們在線上、線下均有活動舉行，一切都以謹慎態度進行，小心翼翼應對疫情。
DaBY Collective Dance Project second try out performance; Dancers (From left): Kohei Fujimura, Ryu Suzuki (DaBY Associate Choreographer), Kana Ikegaya／攝Photo: Naoshi Hatori
在開幕活動「Choreographing City」中，山崎廣太及一眾日本舞者本來計劃呈獻一個特定場域演出《Body Amusement Park Yokohama》。然而，這計劃最終變成一個名為《Dance Teleportation~Choreography beyond time and space, floating words and bodies~》的展覽。這展覽記錄了山崎及舞者在網上的對話，並將對話製作成多媒體藝術作品去呈現。了解每位舞者在這協作背後的想法，及觀察這些讓他們穿越時間與空間的網上互動，正好提醒我們舞蹈的基本價值——想像的力量。
在「DaBY Collective Dance Project」中，DaBY的聯席編舞家鈴木竜，聯同一班年輕跨界創作者，於線上呈演他們作品的零碎片段，展示出他們的想法和構思過程。通過跟大眾揭示他／她們的創作歷程，他／她們也探索出不同的方法去分享舞作。
最後，「TRIAD DANCE PROJECT」就聚焦於三位國際知名的日本女舞者。由於項目的六場表演皆延期一年半，我們有的是時間，於是就開展了新的計劃「TRIAD INTERMISSION」：透過公開對話，分享我們的排練過程、作品背景及創作團隊。透過這些活動，我們希望令舞蹈變得更平易近人，這亦是DaBY的願景之一。在當前環境下，我們保持著靈活多變，同時策劃實體與虛擬活動。
愛知藝術文化中心高級製作人／Dance Base Yokohama藝術總監
[ENG] New Curatorial Strategies For A New Dancehouse In The Time Of COVID-19
Text: Eri Karatsu
At the end of June 2020, Dance Base Yokohama opened as a “new centre for performing arts.” The facility is located in the heart of the port city Yokohama, a place of culture and arts. This venue, commonly known as DaBY, is a dancehouse that designs and organizes projects specifically aimed at improving the Japanese professional dance environment and supporting emerging creative artists. I work there as Artistic Director.
Dance Base Yokohama Acting Area／照片由Dance Base Yokohama提供 Photo provided by Dance Base Yokohama
DaBY was initially planning to open in April; however, we had to postpone due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were left with no choice but to either cancel or adjust the scheduled performances and creative projects. After reflecting on what we should do, as a new centre for dance in Japan amidst COVID-19, we realized that we needed to reverse the assumption that the performing arts require a shared time and space. This led us to pursue new curatorial strategies that stemmed from the current situation.
For example, despite the fact that people cannot gather together, creative artists can still hold discussions online. Even though they are uncertain about when they will be able to present their work, this allows them to produce work without having a strict deadline. This leads to an environment where one can continue to think and create.
In line with this logic, we decided to deconstruct and dismantle our initial schedule to reconstruct and recreate a new curation.
Following this new curatorial framework, we decided to make some changes to our programming. First, since artists from abroad were not able to come, we lent the resulting empty space for free to dance artists in Japan. After making an open call for submissions, we adjusted the schedule to fit all 14 groups who applied. Secondly, we donated some of the budget from the original opening event to nine artists who had to cancel their performances in March and April. Receiving positive feedback from those who used the space, we felt confident that DaBY had got off to a fresh start.
Given a situation where people were still confined to their homes, we started to increase our online presence. At the beginning of June, we hosted a virtual opening of the venue on our new YouTube channel, DaBY Channel. We also created a dance movie, Happy BirthDaBY, to celebrate DaBY’s opening and the beginning of a new “with-corona” world. We made four clips in total, in which over 100 dancers participated.
Furthermore, we hosted DaBY talk live on Instagram for younger audiences to engage with dance. We asked dancers to share anything from their everyday business to COVID-related discussions. Since officially opening our doors at the end of June, we have hosted events both online and offline, while exercising the utmost caution in response to the pandemic.
Among the cancelled projects, we continued working on the ones led by Japan-based artists. We wanted to maintain a space for their creative practices, regardless of the final outcome, as a way to financially support artists in these difficult times.
TRIAD INTERMISSION vol.2 Solo deconstructing The Dying Swan Mid-process Talk／攝Photo: Tatsukiamano
We made the following adjustments for the three projects conducted in Japan.
In the opening event, entitled Choreographing City, Kota Yamazaki and a bunch of Japanese dancers were planning on presenting a site-specific performance, Body Amusement Park Yokohama. However, this project ended up as an exhibition entitled, Dance Teleportation~Choreography beyond time and space, floating words and bodies~. The exhibition documented the verbal exchanges conducted online between Yamazaki and the dancers, which were crafted into multi-media artworks. Engaging with the ideas behind this collaboration from each dancer and observing the online interactions that “teleported” them across time and space, we were reminded of the fundamental value of dance - the power of imagination.
For DaBY Collective Dance Project, DaBY’s Associate Choreographer Ryu Suzuki, along with young interdisciplinary creators, presented fragmented pieces of their work online, which demonstrated the development of their thought processes. By seeking to open up their creative journey to the public, they explored alternative ways to share dance works.
Last but not least, TRIAD DANCE PROJECT focused on three internationally acclaimed Japanese female dancers. All six performances were postponed for a year and half. Having nothing but time, we started a new programme, TRIAD INTERMISSION, where we shared the rehearsal process, the context of the work and the creative team via public conversations. Through these initiatives, we aimed to make dance more accessible, which is one of DaBY’s goals. We have stayed flexible during the current situation by hosting events both physically and virtually.
A centre for dance where people are forbidden to assemble. Facing this irony, I realized how DaBY should not just be a bare space, but become a fluid entity, one that allows you to have moments to stop and reflect. I am optimistic about the present. While gently adjusting my curatorial direction yet constantly staying in action, I want to keep triggering small revolutions for the future to come.
 Source reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SD9btrM0-M
Text: Eri Karatsu
Senior Producer of Aichi Prefectural Art Theater / Artistic Director of Dance Base Yokohama