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[中][ENG] 與常肖妮談舞蹈創作與教學 Interview with Chang Xiaoni about Choreography and Dance Education

常肖妮 Chang Xiaoni (北京 Beijing); 照片由香港藝術節提供 Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

 

 

陳瑋鑫

William Chan

 

 

今年香港藝術節「香港賽馬會當代舞蹈平台」,邀請了來自北京的編舞常肖妮,把前年在北京「培青」項目支持下首演的《沒有大象》(下稱《沒》),帶到香港,與一眾本地表演者合作,重新編創一個全新版本。我們把握排練的空檔和她談,了解她的創作觀,以及舞蹈及舞蹈教育在國內的發展。

 

This year, the Hong Kong Arts Festival invited Chang Xiaoni to stage her production Elephant in the Room (Elephant) in the Hong Kong Jockey Club Contemporary Dance Series. Elephant was premiered in Beijing with the support from the National Young Dancers Development Plan in 2017. This time, Chang co-created with local performers a whole new version of Elephantfor Hong Kong. We managed to interview Chang during a rehearsal break where we got to know her views about choreography, and the development of dance and dance education in China respectively.

 

尋找能夠真誠表達自己的演員

Finding performers who can truly express themselves

 

今次《沒》的香港新版,除了甘肅的舞者李斌之外,其餘五位本港創作演者皆是常去年八月份來港,透過工作坊所挑選的。由於作品主要想表達每個演出者的真實情感,所以要把前一個版本的內容複製到今回表演者身上並不合適,因此編舞需要重新在香港演員身上挖掘故事。

 

In the Hong Kong version of Elephant, apart from Li Bin from Gansu, the other five local artists and performers were chosen by Chang in the workshop that she attended in August last year. Elephant was aimed to bring out the true feelings of every performer and did not aim to rely only on the content from the previous Beijing version. The choreographer wanted to search for new stories from the Hong Kong performers.

 

《沒有大象》演出 Performance of Elephant in the Room; 創作及演出 Choreographers and performers(由左 from left): 唐浩山 Michael Tong Ho-shan, 張嘉怡 Cheung Ka-yi, 李斌 Li Bin (甘肅 Gansu), 梁儉豐 Leung Kim-fung, 陳瑋聰 Chan Wai-chung, 余巧兒 Yu Hau-yi; 攝影 Photo: Terry Tsang

 

縱使作品的結構跟內容因為有不同人士的參與而變得不同,但首演版中的符號與元素運用依然可見。而且兩個版本的表演者有專業舞者,也有背景跟經驗各異的藝術工作者,當中有戲劇演員,也有學默劇的,不過大都是舞蹈素人。

 

Although the structure and content of the new Hong Kong version of Elephant changed as different people were involved, the use of the original symbols and elements in the premier version was still clear. Interestingly, the performers in both versions were not only professional dancers but also included art practitioners of different backgrounds and experience such as actors and mime artists most of whom were fairly new to dance.

 

常強調她其實沒有一定要選專業舞者,而是針對作品的需要,並根據她對那人的感覺或氣質去選。不過她也直言,由於今次作品想呈現真實的內容,所以即使專業舞者在身體素質方面較佳,若思維不能完全打開的話,始終有所欠缺。相反,演戲的人可能跳得沒那麼標準,但只要他們真實地去跳,就已經能夠感動人。因此她作品內的演員,不單要交出身體,也要有開放的思維模式。

 

Chang stressed that the selection of dancers was not entirely dependent on their professional training but also depended on her feelings about the dancers’ openness to different creative journeys. Given that the production presented real-life materials, she felt that even though professional dancers were stronger in relation to their body conditioning, they still lacked something if they were not able to open their minds to other possibilities. From another perspective, although actors might not perform as well as trained dancers, they could be compelling performers as they performed with sincerity and integrity. In other words, the performers in her production not only had to be open with their bodies, but also with their minds.

 

「喝一杯水,說一句話,舞者總會帶著某種腔調。」常肖妮覺得專業舞者往往會有一種慣性,如果他們意識不到自己在演,就很難從多年塑造出來的框架中跳出,演出也會缺少一份靈性。她認為在《沒有大象》這個作品中,真實性至為重要,「有些人可以放下從前的基礎,去嘗試新的挑戰。這種人,你可以感受到他的不一樣。」故此她這次特意發掘具肢體表達能力,又能夠在舞台上真切表達自己的演員來參與。

 

“A dancer carries a certain style when he/she drinks water or speaks.” Chang thought that professional dancers displayed certain habits. They often could not relinquish what they had been taught and what had shaped them. In this way, performances could become vague and empty. In Elephant, what mattered the most was truthfulness. “Some people can put down what they have learned and pick up new challenges. You can sense their difference.” Therefore, she looked for performers who were not only expressive with their bodies but also able to convey themselves truthfully on the stage.

 

常直言很怕在舞台上看到一本徒有肢體結構的「工具書」,她希望看到的是生活。「為什麼要把字典搬上舞台要我去解讀、去查,這個我不喜歡。」

 

Chang admitted that she was afraid to see an automaton that was only versed in body movements on stage. What she wanted to see was life. “Why should I have to interpret and check out a ‘dictionary’ of learnt movements on stage? I don’t like this.” Chang said.

 

《沒有大象》排練 Rehearsal of Elephant in the Room; 編舞 Choreographer:常肖妮 Chang Xiaoni (北京 Beijing); Choreographer and performer 創作及演出:李斌 Li Bin (甘肅 Gansu); 照片由香港藝術節提供 Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

 

 

舞蹈不舞蹈,興趣最重要

To dance or not, interest is the most important

 

雖然這次是常的創作首登香港舞台,但她本人其實對香港並不陌生。早於1995年,常就曾以舞者身分來港,參與由香港城市當代舞團與上海東方青春舞團合作的大型舞劇《三毛》。不過現時任職於北京師範大學藝術與傳媒學院舞蹈系的她,過去十多年都專注於編舞和創作,幾乎沒有再以舞者的身份登台了。

 

Although this was the first time that Chang staged her production in Hong Kong, she is not unfamiliar with the city. Back in 1995, Chang came to Hong Kong as a dancer to perform in San-Mao, which was co-created by City Contemporary Dance Company and Shanghai FEOSO Youth Wudaotuan. She is now teaching in the School of Art and Communication in Beijing Normal University. In the past ten years and more, she has worked mainly in choreography. She has not been back onto stage as a dancer.

 

問她為什麼不再上台跳舞,常笑言就是懶。「我以前的能力很強,而且大學時的老師非常善於開發身體,也很器重我,但不知怎的,離開大學後人就懶了。」當然懶只是一個借口,說到底其實是常喜歡玩,興趣太多。她當年從北京舞蹈學院編導系本科畢業後,完成了北京師範大學藝術與傳媒學院的電影學碩士,拍過舞蹈錄像,參加過希臘舞蹈影像節(MIRfestival)。前陣子還舉辦過個人手機攝影展,最近還渴望可以涉足室內設計呢。

 

When asked why she did not go on stage and dance again, Chang laughed and replied that she was lazy. “I used to be skilled. My teacher in university was very good at exploring my body potentials and had a high opinion of me. I don’t know why I have become lazy after leaving university” Chang said. Obviously lazy is a ploy masking her varied accomplishments. After all, Chang likes trying new things and has many interests. When she graduated from the Faculty of Choreography in Beijing Dance Academy, she also completed a Master’s degree in Film Studies in the School of Art and Communication of Beijing Normal University. She produced dance videos and participated in the MIRfestival(Greece). Recently, she hosted an exhibition of mobile phone photography. She also hopes to try her hand in Interior Design.

 

「如果只做純肢體的,我不喜歡了,自己沒什麼興趣。」她認為有太多藝術的東西可以放在創作當中,肢體不是最重要。如果只為了演出而天天去作身體鍛練,只會變得很累而不知性;然而有著其他不同元素的刺激,相互影響,才可發展出現在多元化的舞蹈劇場編創方式。

 

“I’m not happy with just working on body movements. I’m not really interested in this” Chang said. She thought that there were many arts elements that could be put together in dance creativity amongst which the body was not necessarily the most important.

 

常坦言做創作很累,興趣不變最重要,她覺得要在一件事情上保持熱度,若當中有所啟發,創作就好像本能;但是如果興趣沒有了,或者沒有真正去感受生活,而只是為勢所逼地做創作,結果一定不會好,還得讓本能的東西出來才行。「隨着你的熱情走才有意思,沒意思的事做來幹嗎?」

 

Chang told us that creative work was tiring but one had to explore ways to maintain his/her interest. If one got inspired in the creative process then instinct can come into play. On the other hand, if one created something not from passion but for practical circumstances without living life fully, the outcome might not be good. What produced exciting art was an instinct-like creativity. “It is all about doing something that you are passionate about. Why do something that you don’t like?” Chang asked.

 

啟發年輕一代,打開更多可能

Inspire the next generation, open up more possibilities

 

除了持續透過不同媒介去做創作,常的主要工作其實是在大學裡面當舞蹈老師,教授師範大學學生編創課。學生當中縱使有一些有舞蹈專業背景,但大部分只是從一般高中升上來,沒有好的舞蹈基礎,他們也不一定對舞蹈編創感興趣,更多的是希望畢業後於中小學教授舞蹈。

 

Apart from trying out different media in her creative work, Chang’s main work is as a university dance teacher in choreography and dance creativity at the Beijing Normal University. Although some of the students have experience in professional dancing, most of them have graduated from high school without a solid foundation in dance. They are not necessarily interested in choreography. What most of them want to do is to become dance teachers in high schools and primary schools.

 

對常而言,教授編創不一定是坐在教室內告訴學生舞該如何編,而是該先打開他們的心,讓學生願意去嘗試,覺得做創作是開心的。「上課前我還會告訴他們,如果你不喜歡這一堂課可以不來…… 不喜歡,從此你可以來幹甚麼都可以,我給你六十分,我們商量好的。」她直言有學生真的不喜歡編舞,就真的不要來,免得每天苦著臉來上課。但對於有興趣的學生,常就會在編創課上,引導他們打開想像力,增加對一個作品完整的認識,並鼓勵他們更主動去看更多與藝術有關的東西。

 

For Chang, teaching choreography was not about lecturing students in the classroom on how to choreograph, but was about opening up their minds to try and feel excited about dance-making. “I told them before class that they can skip classes if they don't like choreography. They can do what they want. I’ll give them the 60 marks in the end. It’s been the deal between us” Chang said. She told us that if students were not interested in choreography, it was no point in them coming to class and to upset the class. But to those who were interested, she would guide them to open up their minds and imaginations, to know more about a dance piece and to encourage them to see more about the arts.

 

「從老師教導學生的角度來說,沒有談過戀愛的話,就別修編導課,不懂得愛情是甚麼,光在排練室內編創有意義嗎?得玩,去戀愛,會讓自己開心很重要。」說到底,無論是創作也好,學習也好,常一直強調感受與興趣的重要。在過程中,她會與學生談談電影,聊聊有什麼展覽,儘管跟舞蹈沒有直接關係,但透過這些話題,慢慢打開同學的視野,讓他們在裡面找到好玩的東西,再慢慢回到編創舞蹈。

 

“As a dance teacher, I think it is important for students to have experience in love first. Without any love experience, what’s the point of them creating a dance piece in rehearsal rooms? It is important to play, to love and to make oneself happy,” Chang said. It was “interest” that mattered whether in creative work or studies. In the learning process she talked to students about movies and exhibitions. Although these topics were not directly relevant to dance they helped broaden the students’ horizons and enabled them to find something interesting from the topics, and to apply this to their own creations of dances.

 

《沒有大象》排練 Rehearsal of Elephant in the Room; 編舞 Choreographer:常肖妮 Chang Xiaoni (北京 Beijing); 創作及演出Choreographers and performers (由上from top): 唐浩山 Michael Tong Ho-shan, 余巧兒 Yu Hau-yi, 陳瑋聰 Chan Wai-chung, 張嘉怡Cheung Ka-yi, 梁儉豐 Leung Kim-fung, 李斌 Li Bin (甘肅 Gansu); 照片由香港藝術節提供 Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

 

不過她認為現在的學生過於被動,跟他們互動其實有點力不從心,蠻失望的。常指這一代的學生主動性不強,一般都過著優悠生活,父母年青且家裏條件環境好,可以特意送去藝術學院學習,可是他們其實對藝術的熱愛並不是那麼強烈,而且欠缺了上一代的情懷。她認為00後的學生,大都沒有想像,只懂瀏覽網絡,所有事情都很「速食」、很快,沒有文學裡的東西。「小時候父母給你一碗米飯、一個饅頭那種溫暖,還有溫度,現在都沒了。」

 

Chang maintained that the students nowadays were too passive. She was at times quite disappointed with this behavior and not keen to communicate with them. Chang felt that the current younger generation were not active in learning. Generally, they enjoyed a good life. The younger generations come from prosperous families. The material living standard of their lives is high. Those who came from prosperous backgrounds were sent to arts institutes by their parents but they were not necessarily passionate about the arts. They also lacked the sensibility that the previous generations had. She thought that students who were born in post-2000s did not have vivid imaginations. They relied on surfing the Internet. Everything became very fast and was quickly consumed, and dependent on “quick fixes”. There was a lack of substance and sensibility that were evident in literature. “The warmth that comes when your parents hand you a bowl of rice or a man-tou (Chinese bread) when you are small has disappeared”, Chang said.

 

常慨嘆跟這一代在創作上有一個很大的代溝,教學上也只能盡量給他們多一點啟發,但也沒辦法要求太多,因為他們的父母都很寬容,讓他們隨心所欲。猶幸常今天依然抱著興趣與熱情去跟舞蹈打交道,無論在創作抑或教學上也願意去思考能否讓舞蹈變得不一樣,發展更多可能,實在難得。

 

Chang lamented that there was a huge gap between her and the younger generation in choreography. She could only give them inspiration when teaching. Their parents were liberal and let their children do what they want. She felt that the liberal upbringing had instilled a sense of complacency and ease in the young people. Chang could then not expect too much from themin choreography. Fortunately, she still retains interest and passion in dance. It is rare to find someone like her who still thinks about how to make a difference in dance, be it in choreography or education, and how to develop more possibilities.

 

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