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[中][ENG]我心不死 繼續跳舞 — CCDC及CCDC舞蹈中心專訪 My heart goes on - keep dancing and carry on -- An interview with the directors of CCDC and CCDC Dance Centre

[中]我心不死 繼續跳舞 — CCDC及CCDC舞蹈中心專訪

文:藝文記

 

疫症陰霾久久不散,日常生活大受影響,其中舞蹈業界的演出、授課及交流等活動通通取消或延期,編、跳、教、學無一倖免,幾近完全停擺;抗疫之路仍然漫長,業界拒絕坐以待斃,靜極思動,紛紛透過如數碼科技等工具「繼續跳舞」,其中城市當代舞蹈團(CCDC)在過去一個多月內先後推出「Facebook live」教室、網上串流平台,以至與音樂服務平台KKBOX合辦舞蹈音樂頻道,反應甚快,舞團行政總監黃國威(Raymond)強調,雖然環境非常艱辛,但是絕對不能停步,「如果這個時間不去做,別人忘記了你,就算日後復原,他們都不會再理你,你就變得可有可無。」

 

CCDC舞團行政總監黃國威(左)及CCDC舞蹈中心總監黃建宏(右)在7號排練室;攝:Terry Tsang

 

 

為了配合政府防疫計劃,CCDC舞蹈中心(舞蹈中心)自一月底全面停課,倘若最終全額退款,收入銳減過百萬元,損失慘重,中心總監黃建宏(Kevin)指出,長期停課引發出一連串深遠影響,包括導師生計難保和學生學習受阻等等,他更擔心嚴峻情況短期之內都難有改善,「其他坊間『studio』(舞蹈工作室)的情況比我們壞一萬倍,我們至少暫時無需負擔一個很貴的租,他們每個月付出數萬元的租,卻一毫子收入都沒有,可以怎辦?整件事『ongoing』(持續發展)又會如何?」

 

疫情下,原定之現場演出被逼延期[1],舞團立即轉攻網絡世界,推出串流平台「CCDC Programme Play」(劇場搜影),舞迷足不出戶仍能觀賞舞團歷年精彩節目;除了看舞,舞迷亦可透過線上教室學習不同舞種,就算處於停工停課狀態,舞蹈生活仍可持續不停。Raymond認為,不論社會狀況如何惡劣,舞團必須堅持邁步向前,這既關乎機構的生存,亦涉及團隊的使命,「為什麼政府會『support』(支持)文化藝術,因為這是『basic right』(基本權利),是責任。」

 

藝團演出需要取消和延期,損害當然巨大;既成事實,多想無益,Raymond寧可把握這個暫借的餘暇進行深層次的檢討和反思,「去思考我們表演藝術的本質是什麼,任何『art form』(藝術形式)都好,即是你的本質是否與社會一齊行?或是你本身與社會就不是太有關係呢?」他尤其關注表演藝術在香港社會的位置,「全世界的表演藝術都受影響,都要『cut show』(抽起節目),意義在哪?對香港來說,cut了show也無所謂,即是等如你不行街、不看戲,好似沒有太大所謂,但是對於某些國家來說,好大件事『哎呀!少了一場歌劇』,那又代表了什麼呢?」

 

堅持舞團一直運作,並與社會一起同行,因為Raymond相信表演藝術有其獨特價值,「提供一個『enrichment』(充實)、娛樂,這是最基本,更重要是在這些時間,我們再去有個心靈的價值,或者能夠提供到『value』(價值),去安慰這個社會?我覺得這個『繼續』的意義是更加重要。」

 

除了探索理念、堅定宗旨,Raymond及其團隊亦有機會釐清前路方向,並且調撥資源配合,「其實我們做了很多『analysis』(分析),愈傾、愈自己內部去問,就愈清楚其實我們為什麼會做這些事;或者一些不必要的,我們就不做了,或者遲些才做,這樣我們就能夠找回重點」,率先煞停的是(「跳格國際舞蹈影像節」)舞蹈影像的委約項目。經過多年來的投資和推廣,CCDC確認社會對舞蹈影像已有一定的認識和了解,並相信市場有足夠能力持續發展下去,因此決定將用於委約作品的資源改放到其他地方。

 

花上這麼多的時間和心思,從理念、宗旨到營運、執行,一層一層深入檢視,既是自願,也是被迫:驟明驟暗的疫情只是外憂,舞蹈中心面臨搬遷更是內患,雙重夾擊之下,團隊上下更要抖擻精神、全力迎戰;縱然戰情緊湊,Raymond卻不失樂觀,始終相信危中有機,如以叫停舞蹈影像委約項目為例,「說真的,要不是曹生[2]『withdraw』(退出),我們又未必會去如此思考,然後又再自我複製;我覺得(這次)需要尋回你自己的存在意義,以及你的支持者,當中的反思很大很大。」

CCDC線上教室;照片由CCDC提供

 

舞蹈中心既是CCDC的支柱,也是香港當代舞蹈業界的搖籃:她為大小演出提供排練空間、她給予新晉編舞和舞者創作平台;她的舞蹈課堂培育了一代又一代的舞蹈人才、她的節目製作圓滿了一個又一個的舞蹈夢想。由空間、平台到人才、資金,舞蹈中心全方位支援了整體行業發展,故此當舞蹈中心須覓地重建消息傳出時,行內上下無不感到震撼。

 

舞蹈中心租約將於今年九月中到期,Kevin透露,團隊目前正在探討多個不同方案,包括已向新業主提出短暫續租,可是至今未有回覆,另外他們也在坊間尋找其他可行替代空間,例如香港藝術發展局轄下大埔藝術中心的商業樓面用地,以至商場舖位等等;另一方面,CCDC已向政府當局入紙申請將火炭一個廢置校舍重新發展成為舞蹈中心,倘若一切順利,預計可於2022年啟用。

 

Kevin預告未來大約兩年多會出現一個過渡期,挑戰巨大,「現在就全部一齊不停做『proposal』(企劃)、不停做『plan』(計劃)、不停計數,看看哪些會『work』(有效),哪些可以不用再想。」

 

按照目前計劃,新的舞蹈中心將提供五個排練室,以及如辦公室和服裝間等其他基本設施。Kevin明言,發展規模難免受到影響,發展模式則有更多可能,「未來會不會是一個『satellite model』(衛星模式)呢?即是有一個主地方,之後加上不同的其他地方,例如我們租用一些細小的studio,可以這樣營運嗎?」

 

Raymond相信,不同做法自有不同好處,「當然會是可惜,沒有了一個『hub』(聚會點),大家可以見到大家,但是如果分散的話,會不會對『audience building』(建立觀衆群)或者推廣有用呢?⋯⋯變相我們盡量會用這些方式去靈活地繼續營運,沒有行不通的事情。」

 

儘管自顧不暇,CCDC卻仍然心繫整體行業發展,Raymond寄語同業積極面對,迎難而上,當眼前工作難免受到影響時,更應該捉緊時機籌劃未來,力之所及,CCDC和舞蹈中心都會鼎力支持,Raymond強調這是本份,「作為『九大團』之一,我們有責任和大家共渡時艱,如何去繼續跳舞,是我們每日都思考的事情⋯⋯要『keep』(保持)住大家的創作欲望,這個心死了、火熄了的話,就很難搞」;Kevin亦呼籲行家採取主動,「你出聲,就可能有人幫到你,或者大家合作做些事;你自己坐在一邊,只是埋怨,就沒有事會發生。」

 

 

 

 

 

[1] 二月初在中環大館舉行的CCDC40周年舞蹈節節目《雙雙》和《07/08022020CE》需要延期舉行。

[2] 曹誠淵為城市當代舞蹈團創辦人及前藝術總監;他早前辭任舞團藝術總監,並收回其擁有業權的CCDC舞蹈中心會址另作發展。

==

文:藝文記

「不要在乎權威會說什麼,真理就在你的自我之中。」《傅柯的生死愛慾》

[ENG] My heart goes on - keep dancing and carry on

-- An interview with the directors of CCDC and CCDC Dance Centre

Original Text: Brian Yu

 

The dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic have had a massive impact on daily life. Dance performances, classes and exchange events have been cancelled or postponed; choreography, practice and learning also affected. Operations in the dance sector have almost come to a halt. Members of the industry do not want to waste their time being idle and have made use of tools like information technology to carry on with dance activities. In the past February, City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) reacted quickly to the situation with the launch of the “Facebook live classroom”, online streaming service and an online dance music channel in cooperation with KKBOX, the music streaming service provider. CCDC’s managing director, Raymond Wong, stresses that although the circumstances are tough, they cannot stop their activities. “If we stop what we’re doing, people will forget us. Even if everything goes back to normal after the pandemic, people won’t think about us anymore, we will become dispensable,” he explains.

 

CCDC managing director Raymond Wong (left) and CCDC Dance Centre director Kevin Wong (right) in Studio 7; Photo: Terry Tsang

 

In line with the government’s anti-epidemic plan, CCDC Dance Centre has suspended dance classes since late January, and is facing from a potential loss of more than a million dollars if full refunds of class fees are ultimately made. The Dance Centre’s director, Kevin Wong, points out that long term class suspension results in a series of profound impacts, including reduced income for dance teachers and disruption of students’ learning. He is also worried that it will take a long time for things to get better. “Other dance studios outside suffer way more than we do. We at least do not have to pay high rent at the moment. They have to spend over ten thousand dollars each month on rent. Now, they have no income, so what can they do? What will it be like if the situation goes on this way?” he laments.

 

During the pandemic, scheduled live dance performances have been postponed[1]. CCDC has turned to the internet, rolling out a streaming service, CCDC Programme Play, where users can view past dance programmes and performances by CCDC. In addition to watching performances, users can also study different genres of dance through online dance classes. Despite the suspension of work and classes, dance life can still go on. Raymond Wong is certain that no matter how dire the status quo is, CCDC still has to move forward. This is a matter of the institution’s survival and preserving its mission. He adds, “Why does the government support culture and arts? It is because this is a basic right and a responsibility.”

 

With all performances either cancelled or postponed, the losses are huge but there is no point dwelling on the downside and getting upset. Instead, Raymond Wong prefers to focus on reviewing and reflection during this period of inactivity. “To think about the nature of our performing arts, you have to think whether your own nature aligns with society, regardless of the art form your work belongs to. Or do you yourself not relate enough to society?” he questions. He is particularly concerned with the status of performing arts in Hong Kong society. “Performing arts all over the world have been affected. Everyone has had to cut shows. What’s the point? Yet in Hong Kong, it doesn’t seem to matter if dance shows are cancelled, it’s just like not going out, or not going to the cinema to watch films. Yet in some countries, it matters hugely if there’s one opera less. What does this mean?” he continues.

 

The reason for Raymond Wong's insistence on CCDC continuing to operate and to stay in sync with society is that he believes in the unique value of the performing arts. “To provide enrichment and entertainment is one basic thing that we can do, but is there also a spiritual value or other value we can give to console society? I believe the meaning of this ‘continuation’ is even more important,” he says.

 

Aside from the exploration of CCDC’s spirits and reaffirmation of its objectives, he and his team also have the opportunity to clarify their future direction and allocation of resources. “We have done quite a lot of analysis. The more we discuss the issues with our staff, the more clearly we know the reasons for what we have done, the more we can sort out what isn’t really necessary, which things we can stop doing or get on with later. In this way, we can get our focus back,” he explains. The first programme to be discontinued was the (Jumping Frames) contracted project to commission dance videos. After many years of investment and promotion, CCDC is confident that society now has a certain level of awareness and understanding of dance videos. The company believes that this market will be able to thrive on its own and has thus decided to transfer the project’s resources to other areas instead.

 

Much time and effort has been spent on re-evaluating CCDC’s spirit, objectives and operations, digging deep to review these aspects. It is voluntary and involuntary at the same time. The Covid-19 outbreak is only one of the reasons for such a thorough review. The CCDC Dance Centre is also facing the unprecedented difficulty of having to move to a new location. In these circumstances, CCDC’s whole team is prepared to fight an uphill battle and morale is high. In this time of crisis, Raymond Wong remains positive and sees opportunities in the dangers the company is facing – for example, the decision to discontinue the dance video project. “To be honest, if Mr. Tsao[2] had not withdrawn from CCDC, we wouldn’t be thinking and considering what alternatives we might have. I think we need to return to the real meaning of our existence and think about our followers. The amount of deliberation involved in this process is significant.”

 

CCDC online class; Photo provided by CCDC

 

The CCDC Dance Centre is the backbone of CCDC and the cradle of the contemporary dance sector in Hong Kong. It provides venues for dance rehearsals, platforms for creative projects for emerging dance choreographers and performers and dance classes which have nurtured generations of dance talents. Its productions have fulfilled the dreams of dance practitioners. Whether providing venues, platforms, or funding, the Centre has been a pillar supporting the continuous growth of Hong Kong dance. When the news that the Centre was being forced to re-locate came out, the whole dance sector was shocked.

 

The Centre’s current lease expires in September. Kevin Wong reveals that the team is exploring different options. They have requested a short-term renewal of the lease from the new owner, but have not yet received a reply. Meantime, they are looking for suitable substitute locations, such as studios in the HK Arts Development Council’s Tai Po Arts Centre or space in commercial premises. Furthermore, CCDC has submitted an application to the government to redevelop a disused school in Fo Tan into a new dance centre. If everything goes as planned, this new dance centre will open in 2022.

 

Kevin Wong expects the coming two years will be mainly transitional. The challenges are going to be big. “We are working together non-stop on proposals and plans, doing the calculations to see which proposals will work and which we can put aside,” he says.

 

According to the current plan, the new dance centre will be equipped with five rehearsal rooms, plus other basic facilities including offices and locker rooms. Kevin Wong acknowledges that the scale of the dance centre’s development will inevitably be affected; however, the ways in which it can develop could be more diverse. For example, a ‘satellite’ model might be envisaged, with a principal location plus smaller studios in other places. “Could we operate like this?” he wonders.

 

Raymond Wong believes that different approaches have different advantages. On the one hand he laments that “It’s surely a pity that we won’t have a hub anymore where we can all meet together,” On the other hand: “If we’re spread more widely, could that help to promote audience building? Our aim should be to operate flexibly. To us, there is nothing that cannot be worked out.”

 

Despite the inevitable preoccupation with its internal reform and impending change, CCDC has not lost its concern for the overall development of the dance sector. Raymond Wong hopes that their counterparts in the dance sector will remain positive and deal proactively with the challenges ahead. When normal work is affected, they need to grasp the opportunity presented by difficult times to plan for the future. CCDC and its dance centre will do everything in their power to fully support their colleagues in the sector. He stresses that this is their duty, “as one of the nine major performing arts groups, it’s our responsibility to see through hard times with everyone together. How we can keep on dancing is what we think about every day. We have to keep the desire to be creative burning. If this passion dies out, it will be hard to rekindle it again.” Kevin Wong also urges other members of the dance sector to take action, “if you speak out, you are likely to get help, or join together with others to make things work. But if you just sit and do nothing but complain, nothing is going to happen.”

 

 

 

 

[1]The programmes of CCDC 40th Anniversary Dance Festival, A Lover’s Concerto and 07/08022020CE to be held in Tai Kwun in early February have been postponed.

[2] In October 2019, CCDC’s founder Willy Tsao resigned as the company’s artistic director and reclaimed ownership of his property, the site of CCDC Dance Centre, for other development, obliging the Centre to seek a new location.

==

(English Translation by Pomny Chu)

Text:Brian Yu

‘Don’t look to authorities; the truth is in yourself.’

The Passion of Michel Foucault

 

 

 

 

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