處身後疫情時代，一切復常，世界各地的文化藝術活動再次興盛活躍。香港資深舞蹈製作人盧君亮（Andy），與TS Crew的《冇龍冇獅》（No Dragon No Lion），於2022及2023年在一片藍海中把香港的舞蹈作品突圍，在愛丁堡「說好香港的舞蹈故事」。
要獲得一個海外巡演機會，並非來一場風花雪月就能如願。Andy提及多年前於韓國釜山遇上當時Dance Base的藝術總監Morag Deyes，發現與她在某些想法上很聊得來。及後在2017年的城市當代舞蹈節再次相逢。自此，Andy用了兩三年時間與Morag溝通，了解她的品味、想法、互相分享資訊、建立信任，最終造就了TS Crew和「香港‧魂」走進愛丁堡藝穗節。Andy認為成功取決於「信任」二字，但除了日積月累，還可以怎樣建立信任？「千萬不要演出完結後就甚麼都不做，一定要去不同場地看表演！因為在那裡可以認識各地的製作人，從他們口中獲取更多資訊與交流。某程度上你跟那些製作人、主辦單位之間的信任也是這樣建立起來的。」
羅馬非一日可建，《冇龍冇獅》的雛形源於2021年社區文化大使計劃，概念是結合在地文化和賣藝。另由於TS Crew擁有三年參與愛丁堡藝穗節的經驗，2023年他們決定不要只帶《冇龍冇獅》，希望與其他香港藝術家出走，並善用TS Crew的資源和經驗，成功建立「香港‧魂」平台。對觀眾而言，Andy認為這並非只是一場演出，實為看見一個香港藝術家共建的舞蹈平台。「其實這件事我覺得頗know how（知道如何處之）。Know how的原因是我們對愛丁堡（藝穗節）有經驗，了解這樣的作品組合和題材可以放在哪裡有助整個「香港‧魂」演出。」經驗的累積加上策略成功，無怪乎載譽而歸。
愛丁堡國際藝穗節 Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022／攝Photo：Ian Georgeson（照片由盧君亮提供 Photos provided by Andy Lo）
現為TS Crew舞團經理及由TS Crew推動成立的香港-國際舞蹈平台「香港．魂」的製作人。曾監製TS Crew不同作品，包括《順》及得奬作品《冇龍冇獅》等。盧也是舞蹈「香港比舞」的監製及現為國際演藝協會（ISPA）的成員。
Telling the Good Dance Stories of Hong Kong: An Interview with Veteran Dance Producer Andy Lo
Author: Eveline Wong
Translator: Laura Chan
The global cultural and art scene was thriving once again as everything returned back to normal after the pandemic. In 2022 and 2023, Hong Kong veteran dance producer Andy Lo and TS Crew’s “No Dragon No Lion” emerged amidst a sea of opportunities, bringing Hong Kong pieces to Edinburgh and telling the “good dance stories” of Hong Kong.
To secure an opportunity for an overseas tour, it surely required more than just a random conversation. Andy mentioned how he met Morag Deyes, the Art Director of DanceBase, many years ago in Busan. He found out they had a lot in common in terms of ideas, and they met again at the City Contemporary Dance Festival in 2017. From then on, Andy spent a few years communicating with Morag, understanding her style and ideas, sharing information and building trust. It ultimately led to TS Crew and "Hong Kong Soul" making their way to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Andy believed that success came from trust, but how else could one build trust other than doing it over time? "After the tours, make sure to watch other performances at different venues. You can meet producers from different countries and exchange information with them; relationships with producers and organisers were somehow built this way."
愛丁堡國際藝穗節 Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023／攝Photo：Cheung Chi-wai（照片由盧君亮提供 Photos provided by Andy Lo）
Building Platforms through Mutual Help
The initial concept of "No Dragon No Lion" originated from the 2021 Community Cultural Ambassador Scheme, which aimed to combine local culture and street performance. As TS Crew participated in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for three years, in 2023 they decided to not only bring "No Dragon No Lion" overseas, but also other Hong Kong artists, in order to make good use of TS Crew's resources and to establish the "Hong Kong Soul" platform. Andy believed it was not only a performance, but an opportunity for the audience to witness a dance platform co-created by Hong Kong artists. "Actually it was like a ‘know-how’ to me. We were experienced with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and knew what combination of works and themes could contribute to the 'Hong Kong Soul' performance." The accumulation of experience and successful strategy contributed to the wide acclaim.
Unexpected situations were inevitable during overseas performances. During the premiere in Edinburgh, there was an issue with the zipper on Wong Pik-kei's dress; producers then had to make quick and sometimes tough decisions. They need to immediately come up with different plans, discuss with the dancer, ask her to decide within a short time frame, and try to minimize her panic while focusing on completing the first performance. Therefore, Andy believed it was crucial to only collaborate with artists you were familiar with, as it was necessary to understand their work, creative concepts, and personalities, which could only be developed through time and experience.
On the other hand, in case there were disagreements with the artists on future opportunities, Andy recommended seeking a mutually acceptable stance in order to continue working together. Otherwise, he advised it would be better for the artist to decide, as ultimately they were the ones facing the audience; it was unnecessary to let the producer's ego come into play. Furthermore, he stated that all technical issues must be avoided, and producers had to understand the requirements of each venue and context, manage expectations throughout the planning process, and provide clear briefings to the artists.
Being Direct Versus Being Goal-Oriented
In the process of promoting "Hong Kong Soul”, Andy pointed out that Western organisers would tell you directly whether your work was suitable for them. However, Hong Kong still held a special position to them, as they still wanted to know what Hong Kong artists were interested in at the moment. In contrast, Asian representatives were more goal-oriented. If interests align, things would naturally fall into place, but ultimately it depended on resources. Therefore Andy said, "The cultural exchange grants from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council were definitely helpful." But in the end, it was always about interaction. "Firstly, understand their preferences and characteristics, then tell them, 'I know what you're envisioning, and I can provide them to you.'"
Loneliness of Being A Producer
"When the team finished their work and went to enjoy themselves, producers never had me-time. You need to know how to adjust or else you'll give up in no time," Andy said. He advised young people who wanted to enter the industry to spend time trying and be curious and inquisitive, which would help with developing personal taste. They should also read more to establish their worldview, and excel in the basics, such as email etiquette and dealing with proposals. They should be humble and quiet their ego when necessary. Lastly, he believed that youth was a great advantage, as many fresh ideas came from young people. If the industry can leverage the resources of young producers while having veteran producers to share with them their experience, the field would grow strong.
Andy emphasised that the above should not be taken as absolute, as they were personal experiences and views. It would be meaningful if they could be seen as a basis for discussions, questions or even criticism.
Experienced arts administrator, producer, and musician
Enjoys networking extensively in the field and cultivating new friendships
Company Manager of TS Crew. He is also the producer of Hong Kong Soul, a Hong Kong – International dance platform, which is motivated by TS Crew. Andy has produced different works of TS Crew, include Along and No Dragon No Lion, an award-winning dance work. Apart from roles in TS Crew, Andy is also producer of Hong Kong Dance Exchange, a dance festival as well as Hong Kong Fellow of International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA).