While the dominate focus of the West Kowloon project is on ‘hardware’ development, the performing arts department of West Kowloon focuses strongly on capacity development and sets core objectives to elevate Hong Kong performing artists and creations to the next level. We aim to achieve this by becoming the bridge between local artists and audiences, and the Mainland, Asia, and the world. This new dance journal/hk column is my personal sharing with readers of overseas festivals, venues, and organizations I visited and artists and people I met during my overseas networking trips.
1. (Clockwise from upper left) Santa Yamakawa (Odoru Akita Dance Festival), Yoshiko Swain (Fukuoka Dance Festival), Yi Chul-Jin (International Duet Dance Festival) and Anna CY Chan
(由左上順時針) 山川三太 ( “Odoru Akita Dance Festival”)、Yoshiko Swain (褔岡舞蹈節)、李哲珍(國際雙人舞節) 及陳頌瑛
2. Before performance at the International Duet Dance Festival: (left to right) Yuen Shenglun, Karen Kwong, Hua Chi-yu and Anna CY Chan
International Duet Dance Festival (Seoul)
剛在首爾舉行的「國際雙人舞節」顧名思義是一個以雙人舞節目為主打的舞蹈節。以雙人舞作節目安排，並不是什麼稀奇的橋段，但以傳統舞為核心，全部節目均在不到八十位觀眾的小劇場演出便富趣味。創辦人李哲珍先生（Yi Chul-Jin）本身是一名朝鮮無形文化遺產「僧舞」 （Seungmu）的第二代大師，亦是一個博士學者。早在五年前，他便在自己擁有的 The Sungkyun Theatre（位於南韓著名劇場區 Daehangno大學路的百多個小劇場中，唯一主打舞蹈演出的小劇場）以朝鮮傳統舞和兩位舞者為限的條件下開始了「雙人舞節」，並逐步加插一些當代和海外雙人舞作品，以拓闊觀眾群和建立海外交流平台。2015年受邀的作品以四個作品為一組，分為四組節目，每組節目演5天。在小劇場看傳統舞（並有四位現場樂師）確有一番風味，令人深深感受到那種聞歌起舞的自然反應。我觀看的第一組節目就有兩段以朝鮮傳統農樂為主的雙人舞、兩個分別由香港舞蹈團黃磊編舞的《身．影》選段和兩位南韓青年編排的現代舞。傳統衝擊當代，帶動對話和思考。同期，李哲珍和另一位南韓資深製作人金甡娥（Kim Shinah）亦主辦了一個研討會，主題為「 從藝術節活化傳統表演」。
International Duet Dance Festival held in Seoul was chiefly a showcase for duets. What was unusual was not that it included duets in the program. What made the event intriguing was that traditional dance made up the core of the show and it was held in a theatre that can hold an audience of no more than eighty. Yi Chul-Jin who initiated the Festival is a master of Seungmu (one of the most well-known Korean traditional dances that has been designated a South Korean important intangible cultural asset), as well as a PhD scholar. Featuring traditional Korean dance and allowing only duo works, the first Duet Dance Festival was held five years ago in the Sungkyun Theatre, owned by Mr Yi. Gradually, contemporary dances and overseas work were included, which attracted more audience and facilitated overseas exchange. In the first program I watched, there were two duets about a primitive North Korean farm, a selected performance of Passing Shadows choreographed by Hong Kong Dance Company’s Principal Dancer Huang Lei, and finally a modern dance performance choreographed by two South Korean youngsters. Tradition clashing with contemporary ideas triggers dialogues and reflections. Yi Chul-Jin and another experienced South Korean producer Kim Shinah organized a seminar with a theme “Vitalization of Traditional Performance through the Festival”.
3. Fukuda Tomokaza, founder & president of studio ARCHITANZ. 福田友一，一級建築士事務所創辦人及代表
充實的四十小時東京之旅包括了四個會議和一個演出。與2002年相識的福田友一（Tim San）再聚，參觀了他於2011年開辦的Studio ARCHITANZ 新址。這個結合商業和藝術的私人舞蹈中心，除了定期舉辦大師班和舞蹈班外，中心的三個舞室亦供專業舞者排練，成為滙聚獨立舞者的「家」。另外，Tim San亦會定期邀請海外和日本藝術家合作演出舞蹈作品。在2015年，好幾位香港舞者亦受邀演出，包括伍宇烈、香港芭蕾舞團舞者江上悠和不加鎖舞踊館的舞者。
東京藝術劇場翻新後於2012年重新開幕，現有四個表演場館，六個排練室，八個會議室，四個展館／工作室。從2009年起，場地邀請了著名劇作家野田秀樹 （Hideki Noda）為首位藝術總監，為劇場開拓更多元化的節目。
最後感謝英國Sadler’s Wells Theatre 的邀請，讓我可於東京文化會館欣賞Sylvie Guillem的息影作品《 Life in Progress》。日本觀眾對Sylvie 的擁載和招待級數，無論大堂到場內都能感受到對這位藝術家的尊敬，難怪她選日本為最後巡演的一站！
Four sessions and one performance made the forty-hour Tokyo trip really fruitful. It was extraordinary to meet a friend whom I knew in 2002, Tomokazu Fukuda (Tim San), and visit his newly relocated studio ARCHITANZ. This private dance center combines both commercial (his architecture firm) and artistic elements, which apart from regular master classes and dance classes offers three dance rehearsal rooms for professional dancers, and turns into a ‘home’ for gatherings of independent dancers. Tim San regularly invites overseas and Japanese artists to cooperate in creating unique dance pieces. In 2015, some Hong Kong dancers were invited such as independent artist Yuri Ng, Yuh Egami from Hong Kong Ballet, and dancers from Unlock Dancing Plaza.
Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre was reopened after renovation in 2012. There are now four performance halls, six rehearsal rooms, eight meeting rooms, as well as four exhibition spaces / studios. In 2009, the famous playwright Hideki Noda was invited to be the first artistic director in order to facilitate diversity in programming.
Finally, I appreciated so much the invitation from Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London to watch Sylvie Guillem’s final farewell program, Life in Progress, at Tokyo Bunka Kaikan. The audience’s enthusiasm and passion were palpable in the theatre, revealing their admiration of Guillem. No wonder she chose Japan as the final stop on her international tour!
4. Sylvie Guillem’s performane Life in Progress in Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre. Sylvie Guillem於東京藝術劇場之息影演出《Life in Progress》
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陳頌瑛Anna CY Chan
Head of Artistic Development (Dance), West Kowloon Cultural District Authority