[Eng] The Professional Journey of Lam Chun-ho (林俊浩) -- an independent Hong Kong-based Dance Artist
Jane Chan (JC): How did performance come into your life?
Lam Chun-ho (LCH): I started with musical theatre at Hong Kong Children’s Musical Theatre (HKCMT) at the age of 12. It was my mom’s idea. I have always wanted to perform but never really had the chance. Also, I thought it was uncool to dance as a boy and hesitated. Thanks to my mom, at HKCMT, it was a perfect occasion for me to sing, dance and act, all my wishes came true.
At the age of 14, I started going to Starwave Dancing Academy for dance classes as one of close my friend was going. It was there I realised I had great interest in dance. I started with Jazz. It was an eye opening experience as I discovered the possibilities of how I could move.
I continued taking classes at Starwave Dancing Academy until Form 5 in secondary school. I lied to mom, told her I wanted to go to painting classes as art was one of the subjects I was taking, in fact I took the money to go to dance classes. My mom found out of course but it was too late. It was during those years, it became clear that I have a passion for performance and dance, so I applied to study at HKAPA.
Choreographer: Lam Chun-ho
Photographer: Katja Glass
JC: What did you study at HKAPA and why?
LCH: I applied for the Drama diploma. Till today I am not too sure why didn’t I choose musical theatre. I think one main reason was that I was still very much interested in acting. Also, sometimes life fall into places without you knowing. If I hadn’t done this diploma, I wouldn’t be creating works I do now.
The age range was wide within the drama course. Some course mates have degrees in other subjects, some were relatively younger like myself, some have worked for a number of years, we all had very different experiences. I definitely matured a lot in those years. It was a steep learning curve for me.
As I was about to graduate from the drama diploma, the courses were undergoing restructuring. I chose to transfer to the dance department. I had a direct entry onto the 2nd year of contemporary dance course. The reason I transferred was because of some of my very inspiring teachers: Tang Shu Wing (鄧樹榮), Lee Chun Chow (李鎮洲) and Chan Sukyi (陳淑儀). Although they were not trained in movement, they focus very much on the physical body in their works. Especially Tang, he stimulated my thought process the most. Also, the very same year Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s company - Eastman came to the Hong Kong Arts Festival. His piece Foi was another enlightening experience for me. The performers in the piece include actors and dancers. I have always had this idea to include actors and dancers in my work but Cherkaoui almost gave me the confidence and reassurance to do so as most his performers had both acting and dance training. Under these influences and my own interest in the body, I decided to transfer to dance school for further training. I graduated with double diploma in drama and contemporary dance after three years of studying at APA.
Alongside my course at APA, I continued going to class at Starwave Dancing Academy. I also started doing Chinese dance. Gradually, I was given opportunities to teach Jazz, choreograph snippets of sequences, to co-choreographing a piece with my teacher Elieen Li and by the time I graduate from my diploma I had the opportunity to choreograph a nine-minute piece for the Academy’s annual performance. It was an enlightening experience for me and that was the beginning of my journey as a choreographer.
JC: How was life after studying at HKAPA?
LCH: After I graduated, I was very confused as to whether I am an actor or a dancer because in Hong Kong, there was a very clear distinction between actors and dancers. That said, the distinction of the two have been merging and developing in the past years. I did not continue my studies because I wasn’t sure what I want to do and I did not want to continue studying just for the sake of it. So the two years (2006-08) after my diploma I worked freelance.
Odd Couplings Choreographer: Lam Chun-ho Photographer: Katja Glass