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Artistic Director and Choreographer of Miranda Chin Dance Company
翻譯Translation: Tiffany Wong
It has been 30 years since I founded the Miranda Chin Dance Company in 1989 after returning from New York in 1986 where I had studied Modern Dance. Under the influence of this Western culture, my initial aspirations were to devote myself to developing an individual approach to choreography and to locate a unique voice. I wanted to establish a Hong Kong local dance troupe that integrated Chinese and Western cultures. 90% of the dancers in my company were trained graduates of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, and in this way we hoped to make up for the lack of opportunities for Hong Kong dancers to perform on stage because, for the most part, professional dance troupes hired mostly foreign dancers.
《武極七》：黃帝內經 ─ 腎水 Wuji 7 – Huangdi Neijing - Water Kidney; 攝Photo: 鍾漢榮 Jason Chung
My company’s works and I grew together. The early works such as Innovative Chinese Rhythms and Movements, Four Seasons, Dun Huang, Calligraphy Fantasia used paintings, potted plants, sculptures and calligraphy as central themes and tended towards elegant representations and referring to living culture.
The success of China in the bid for hosting the Olympic Games in 2000 motivated me to work hard in another direction and this time together with athletes. I spent eight years creating pieces based on the Chinese cultural icons including the martial arts and Tai Chi hoping to contribute to Chinese specialties and enliven the Hong Kong arts. On this journey of exploration and creation, I had some of my most memorable experiences as a creative artist and also strengthened my knowledge of Chinese culture.
After visiting Wudang Mountain and Chenjiagou to learn more about local culture and folk songs in 2001, I created Wuji 1 introducing the origins of Tai Chi and its consequent development. Wuji 2 was a dance based on the pushing hands of Tai Chi such as attack and defense and was performed to Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. This second version was created after traveling to Qing Cheng Mountain and discussing the correlation between magic and dance with Liu Suibin, the Grandmaster of Qing Cheng Tai Chi.
《武極二》：太極 – 推手散打 Wuji 2 : Tai Chi – Pushing-hands; 攝Photo: 鍾漢榮 Jason Chung
Wuji 3 incorporated Tai Chi chants to create a “Tai Chi Capriccio” with movements from Yang Style Tai Chi swordplay. Wuji 4 was matched with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and dance movements from Neijiaquan. For Wuji 5, I started to base my creations on “The Eight Trigrams and Five Elements” after visiting Beijing. Wuji 6 referenced how the Wushu School (Martial Arts School) of Beijing Sport University taught Tongbeiquan and Xingyiquan the changes of forms and expressions. Wuji 7 was based on Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) and the idea that Tai Chi was linked to and developed from Chinese medicine and that the body needed to coordinate with nature. And the last episode, Highest State of Good – Water, was based on the Chinese classic Dao De Jing advocating that we could understand life and gain wisdom from the water in nature. In particular, we observed the source of water, its changes, rhythm, surge and state. The highest state of good was like the state of water.
《武極三》：太極隨想曲 ─ 蛇手貓步 Wuji 3 ─ Snake, Catlike Changing Shadows into Dragon; 攝Photo: 鍾漢榮 Jason Chung
In these explorations, I realized how practical Chinese culture was. Through learning about the origins of martial arts and Tai Chi, I came to understand the Chinese idea of humanity from literature, Chinese medicine, divination and also the concept of “oneness of heaven and men”. The concept of each dance was the result of half a year of explorations. After sharing their thoughts and feelings about a topic, dancers then worked together on time, space, rhythmic movement and quality to improve the dance. I found Hong Kong dancers to be especially sensitive and adaptable. After sharing their creative work, I made a selection of materials and refined them further and hence the eight episodes of Wuji were completed.
Of the eight episodes, Le Sacre du Printemps and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 were the most impressive and the most challenging for me and I was fortunate to have creative input from Music Director and Composer Ming-chi Chan. In the process, I realized that interviewing acclaimed experts was the most effective way of obtaining inspiration and finding an initial theme. For example, by observing the rhythmic movements in martial arts as inspiration for the dance, I came up with the movement materials for a dance episode. The dancers felt it and further developed their rhythmic movements. Of course, the whole series would not have happened without the backstage assistance in stage design and production. This was a demonstration of collaborative team spirit among artists.
Art is creativity without boundaries. In creating the eight episodes, what I felt strongly was that due to each person’s different background, mindset and direction, it was easy to talk but more difficult to put everything into practice. People from martial arts and the Tai Chi would find modern dance too abstract, while those from modern dance would find martial arts and Tai Chi too strictly bound to Chinese culture. Fortunately, Hong Kong is a free and creative society. We respect diversity and we live in harmony.
My over-ten -year journey in arts will be shared in The 30th Anniversary Gala Programme of Miranda Chin Dance Company on 26th May in the Grand Theatre, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. We have invited Tai Chi masters and creative dancers to participate in the event accompanied by live guqin and percussion. As the Artistic Director and Choreographer, I am grateful for the care and support from my counterparts.