Maurice Lai receives the award for Outstanding Achievement in Video and Photography for Dance in 2015.
攝影 Photographer：Mark Lam
Recognition in the Development of Dance Video
Last year at the Hong Kong Dance Awards, Maurice Lai received the Outstanding Achievement in Video and Photography for Dance Award based on his artistic work in dance video. A year has passed since he received the award and when asked about what his reaction was to it, Lai laughed, “I wonder would my wife be mad at me? Or would she want to ‘twist my ear’s’ [using the Cantonese idiom for a form of playful punishment] when I got home?” This because his wife danced for City Contemporary Dance Company for nearly a decade but never received a Hong Kong Dance Award. He was surprised that as a non-dance performer he won an award from the dance field. Lai acknowledged, “In fact, I’m really grateful that Hong Kong Dance Alliance has demonstrated a strong capacity to include dance [awards to artists] beyond [those that] focus only on performer’s technique, choreographic skill, and performance presentation. It has shown the organization is willing to take on a macroscopic perspective for dance development.” He observed in recent years, more dance video works are gradually gaining more attention, this award gives him a sense of recognition in the development of this art form. Moreover, it gives incentive for people interested in crossover dance and video work a boost.
2. 其中一個舞蹈錄像作品《城市祭》。Lai's The Rite of City - Reminisce.
攝影 Photographer：何海藍 Leecat Ho
3. 黎其中一個作品《Float》。A screen grab from Lai's dance film Float.
攝影 Photographer：黎宇文 Maurice Lai
From Video Shooting to Dance Video
Lai shared the difficulties in obtaining funding for dance video production, in order to apply for Hong Kong Arts Development Council funding, for example, Dance and Film & Media Art are two different sectors and each sector tends to think that such applications should go to the other sector to process it rather than theirs. He hopes that the relevant parties can be more proactive in promoting the characteristics of this kind of creation, in order to widen the understanding of the art form and reach more people. Lately, he notices, after received the award, it provides a reference for others in regards to his works, thus it helps him to explain the uniqueness of this art form. Lai recalls his initial contact with dance more than a decade ago - video shooting or documentation for performance wasn’t as widespread as today. Professional filmmakers like him stepped into the dance circle willingly to help explore dance performance documentation and video projection in performance. Through time, he developed a strong friendship with all the dance artists whom he has worked with. As he remembers back then “we all felt quite hopeless because there was not much interaction between these two professions [dance with film and video]”. Therefore, in order to open up the communication, he would introduce film professionals to assist in the documentation of some dance performances.
4. 他曾製作《男生》的紀錄片。He has made a dance documentary film about Boy’s Story.
攝影 Photographer：黎宇文 Maurice Lai
Pass on to Future Generations
From chance encounter with his first dance video collaboration with choreographer Yuri Ng in A Cup of Tea in 2004 to the recent dance film The Rite of City Trilogy and a dance documentary film Boy’s Story, Lai has pursued his own interests in the possibilities of dance with film and video. Having made dance videos for such a long time, he admits that he has thought whether it is time to turn his attention to something else such as managing his family restaurant business and so on. However, he lamented, “If I retire now, rather than allowing others to have my opportunities, it won’t give access to the knowledge that I gained to the people coming after me.” As Lai points out, dance video is not yet developed into a mature art form, just providing opportunity is not enough. He hopes through continuing to create new experimental works, it will lead the next generation of creators and producers to a more open path for creation. He added, “In the past there were a lot of people who gave me chances to try something different. Now, I’m glad I’ve achieved something and wish to use this achievement to help newcomers." Lai pledges to continue to share his experiences and to fight for more opportunities to support those interested in exploring dance video. He promises, “I will facilitate with as many resources and connections that I have to help them, I will live up to the recognition of the people who gave this award and opportunities to me.”
5. 黎(右二)於意大利佛羅倫斯留影。Lai (second from right) on location for the shooting in Florence, Italy.
攝影 Photographer：邱智華 Chiu Chih-hua