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[中][Eng]舞蹈評論即文化批評 Dance Critique as Cultural Study

舞蹈評論即文化批評

 Dance Critique as Cultural Study

 

 

(原文刊於2001年第三期第一冊 Originally published on dance journal/hk 3-1 in 2001)

 

在今日的學術脈絡中,文化評論一般意指日常生活中流行文化的研究。較為傳統的藝術形式如音樂和文學等,會被冠以「古典」一形容詞,使其跟其餘活生生的世界區別開來。然而古典音樂和文學,事實上亦一度「流行」於某段時空,跟今日的流行曲及動作片不遑多讓。時移物遷,一度流行的不是湮沒無聞,便是成為古典作品。新模式的流行文化取代舊模式的藝術形式。合時性與當代性成了文化評論領域上的規限。

 

對於文化品流更為傳統的中國式理解,可見於民間故事裡中國春秋時代楚國一地,高雅的陽春白雪與鄙俗的下里巴人之辯。陽春白雪,識者一二;下里巴人,和者千人。故事背後的教訓是:藝術的品質越高,流行的程度便越低。流行性似乎暗示著鄙俗、低賤、膺淺與無品。伯牙毀琴,只因知音難覓,藝術品質與欣賞者的人數成為反比。由此觀之,亦局限了文化評論作為流行文化研究上的價值。

 

相比於傳統的芭蕾舞與中國舞,現代舞這模式有著更大的合時性與當代性。然而大多數的觀眾,都不會把它看作自己生活世界中的一部份。對於大多數的人來說,現代舞屬於陽春白雪、高山流水一類的高雅品流,他們既不明白、亦難參與。以流行程度而言,觀眾寧可選擇觀看切合預期的舞蹈,也不願接觸挑戰理解的演出。香港芭蕾舞團可以每年演出一次《天鵝湖》皆連場滿座;以《黃河協奏曲》為藍本的舞劇,可以在有中國人的地方不斷上演。現代舞卻難以藉一再重演而坐享其成。它的票房有賴於每一場演出的嚎頭,必須自創新與求異中另闢境地。

 

香港的現代舞以自闢創意和喜走偏鋒吸引觀眾。在過去二十多年來,城市當代舞蹈團曾為香港觀眾帶來不絕的驚喜。在他的《三千寵愛》中,曹誠淵邀請了知名女藝人袁詠儀 (綽號「袁靚親」),於形如手掌的小細台上起舞。中國歷史裡美色與權力間的舞與弄,形象鮮明。黎海寧的《Plaza X與異變街道》以台後冰塊上,瀟灑跳脫的往來滑動,對比於台前實地上,欲去還留的沈重步伐。天上人間,時空裂變。城當的近作《脫衣秀》,則企圖越界於時裝表演與舞蹈演出,游走於性與身體作為商品想像和藝術舞弄之間。

 

既獨立而互動,則是香港現代舞的第二個特色。只須一瞥《舞蹈手札》上,香港舞蹈聯盟的會員名單,便可看到香港舞團如何以無數小型而獨立的單位出現:梅卓燕的「接觸點」、王廷琳的「動藝」、廖朗莎的「舞蹈界」、潘少輝的「舞城」、鍾碧霞的「戀舞狂」、余仁華的「東邊現代舞蹈團」、楊惠美的「雙妹嘜」、王榮祿的「南群舞子」、鄭志銳的「三分顏色」等。儘管他們皆能獨立演出,可是更為常見的,卻是各舞團巧立名目,如《六段錦》、《八分八》、《九大簋》或《各自各舞蹈系列》等,以串連的形式合作。互不相關的獨立舞蹈環節,一一展現於觀眾的眼前,自行於腦海中發生實驗性的互動化學作用。看一場香港的現代舞,仿似看一場既有個性亦多元化的綜藝演出。

 

香港現代舞的原創性與真實性,源自我們城市生活中的文化空間與歷史片斷。黎海寧的《夏至》與潘少輝的《忘情列車》,皆取景於尖沙咀文化中心岸邊,同一個意大利廣場的戶外空間上。被遺忘的過去,借屍還魂重現於觀眾的眼前。來去匆匆的路人被逼稍停腳步,在腦海中憶起被壓抑的自我。潘少輝的近作《後獅子山下的游園荊夢》,再一次地運用香港文化博物館的空間,喚醒忙於來往奔波的游人,躬身自問:我是誰?人在何方?人們必須從玫瑰夢中覺醒,重游香港歷史這幻滅的大觀園。

 

潘少輝於文章寫成後數年創作的《忘情列車80年》

 

最後也可能是最重要的一點是,我們的現代舞對於當代歷史與文化,有著典型的香港感性。外在萬事紛紜,皆自本地人及個體的觀點下,轉化為主觀形象。香港觀眾因而可以獲得共鳴,於曹誠淵的《地獄變》中,感受到六四事件自悲涼轉滑稽的發展,或於黎海寧的《九七封印》中,感受到香港回歸中國時的鬧劇式變奏。我們也可以在伍宇烈的《男生》與《操操蘇絲黃》中,感受到香港文化身份的含混性與交雜性。在楊春江的《天體樂園》中,感受到小男孩於黑夜中無形的他者凝視下,對於自我分裂與肢解的恐懼。

 

我們的現代舞既表現亦呈現香港活生生的流動感性。任何認真的舞蹈評論,皆是香港的文化批評。

 

Cultural study in today's academic context usually refers to the study of popular culture in daily life. An adjective "classical" is added to more traditional art forms such as music and literature to distinguish them from the rest of the living world. But classical music and literature were in fact once as "popular" as nowadays' pop songs and action movies. As time goes by, what was popular in the past either disappears for ever or becomes incorporated into the classical canon. New modes of popular culture replace old forms of arts. Timeliness and contemporaneity tend to mark the territorial boundaries of cultural studies.

 

A more traditional Chinese understanding of culture lies in the old story about the distinction between the Song of the Spring Snow (yangchun baixue 陽春白雪) and the Rustic Poor (xiali baren 下里巴人) sung in the state of Chu in ancient China. It was said that only a few could echo the refined melody while thousands of people could hum the vulgar song. The moral behind the story is that the higher the quality of art, the less popular it can become. Popularity seems to suggest vulgarity, cheapness, shallowness, and tastelessness. Proportional incompatibility between the quality of art and the number of audiences seems to delimit the value of cultural studies on popular forms of art.

 

Compared with traditional ballet and Chinese dance, modern dance as a genre enjoys more the privilege of timeliness and contemporaneity. Yet most audiences do not regard it as part of their living world. For many, modern dance belongs to the mode of the Spring Snow, or high-brow art, that most people can neither participate in nor understand. In terms of popularity, audiences may choose to see dances that conform to expectations than performances that challenge them. The Hong Kong Ballet Company can stage a performance of Swan Lake every year. Dance drama based on Yellow River Piano Concerto can be choreographed again and again in different parts of the Chinese world. Yet modern dance may not share the joy of frequent re-runs and repetitions. Its box office relies more on its gimmick to produce something new and different in each new show.

 

Modern dance in Hong Kong attracts audiences by being creative and adventurous. Over the years, the City Contemporary Dance Company under Willy Tsao and Helen Lai has brought forth numerous innovative surprises to the audiences of Hong Kong. In his Sexing Three Millennia, Willy Tsao invited a famous actress Yuan Wing-yee nicknamed "Yuan the beautiful" (袁靚靚) to stage her dance debut on a hand-shaped platform. The image of beautiful woman under the manipulation of history is then in full display. Helen Lai's Plaza X juxtapose skating on a big piece of ice on the backstage with dances on the frontstage. The world of heavenly transcendence and the street of earthly transience counteract each other in the clash of time and space. The Company's recent work Strip Teaser tries to cross the boundary between fashion show and dance performance, between commercialized imagination of sex and artistic maneuvering of the same body.

 

 

曹誠淵作品《地獄變》Willy Tsao’s Hell Screen (1989); 圖片由CCDC提供 Photo provided by CCDC

 

Being independent and interactive is the second characteristic of modern dance in Hong Kong. Take a look at the list of membership of Hong Kong Dance Alliance at the back of dance journal/ hk. One can find numerous dance companies in small independent units ranging from Mui Cheuk-yin's "Contact Point, Andy Wong's DanceArt Hong Kong, Rosalind Newman's Dance HK/ NY, Pun Siu-fai's Dancing City, Jocelyn Chung's Danseomanie, Jacky Yu's E-Side Modern Dance Company, Yeung Wai-mei's McMuiMui Dansemble, Ong Yang Lock's South Asli Dance Workshop, Afa Chiang's Three Colours. Although these small units can choreograph one dance program alone, more often than not they would join together in dance series in the name of Six Dance Brocade (liu duan jin 六段錦), Infinite Emotions (ba fen ba 八份八) , flu da gui (九大簋) or All Independent Dance Series (ge zi ge 各自各). Independent units of dances unrelated to each other are center-staged one after another, serving an experimental flavor of interactive chemistry. Seeing a modern dance in Hong Kong is like seeing a variety show with personality and diversity.

 

Modern dance in Hong Kong derives its originality and authenticity from the cultural space and historical time of our city life. Both Helen Lai's Summer Solstice and Pun Siu Fai’s Somewhere in the Past by the Railway make use of the same Italian piazza in the outdoor space of Hong Kong Cultural Center along the bank of Tsim Sha Tsui. Visionary glimpses of the forlorn past are conjured up in the eyes of the audiences. The busy passers-by are forced to stop and think about in the inner space of themselves part of their forgotten selves. Pun's recent environmental dance Journey to the Lion Rock: A Marco Polo Adventure once again makes use of the space of cultural heritages to remind the busy moving audiences in their repressed consciousness who they are and where they are. People have to wake up from the rosy dream of city life and see the vanished garden of Hong Kong history.

 

Last but not the least, our modern dance embodies a typically Hong Kong sensibility towards contemporary history and culture. The external world is subjectively visualized from the perspectives of local people and individual selves. Hong Kong audience can echo with choreographers feelings of grievance and absurdity in the turn of affairs in the June Fourth Incident in Willy Tsao's Hell Screen or in the melodramatic handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 in Helen Lai's Revolutionary Pekinese Opera (Millennium Mix). We can also sense the ambivalence and hybridity of Hong Kong identity in Yuri Ng's Boy Story and Ciao Cio Suzie Wong. In Daniel Yeung's Dance Exhibitionist —A Paradise for Natural Body, we observe a small boy's fear of fragmentation and disintegration in the threatening gaze of an invisible 'Other' in total darkness. Our modern dance presents and represents Hong Kong in its living mobility and moving sensibility. Any serious critique of the dances should be regarded as cultural study of Hong Kong per se.

編輯手記 Editor's Note

 

任教於香港理工大學通識教育中心的劉自荃博士在2001年撰寫本文,提出了藝術文化的在地性,當代舞蹈反映出當時當地的某種人文面貌,而透過不斷書寫、討論及對話,多作文化評論及紀錄,沈澱出一個時代的藝術特質。同時亦紀錄了當年百花齊放的舞壇狀況。然而,現代藝術及其運作與中國傳統的藝術傳播大相徑庭,縱然編者因此對本文作者「流行性似乎暗示著鄙俗、低賤、膺淺與無品」的論述抱持不確定的態度,但文章提出的香港的文化批評也值得深思。

 

Dr. Paris Chi-chuen Lau, a Lecturer at the General Education Centre of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, wrote this article in 2001 to discuss the localization of art and culture, and how contemporary dance reflects certain human characteristics of its time and place. Through continuous writing, discussion and dialogue, as well as more cultural critiques and records, the artistic qualities of an era may be collected and consolidated. The article also recorded the flourishing situation of the dance community at that time. However, modern art and how it operates are very different from the way traditional Chinese art reaches the public, and the editor therefore has some reservations about the author's argument that “Popularity seems to suggest vulgarity, cheapness, shallowness, and tastelessness”. Nevertheless, the article’s cultural criticism of Hong Kong is deeply thought-provoking.

 

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