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[中][ENG]「我們都是超級巨星!」—— 超能量街舞團以舞蹈燃點所有能量 — 專訪超能量街舞團團員Lazylegz、Kujo和Redo “WE ARE SUPERSTARS!” – ILL-Abilities moves to empower ALL abilities – interview with ILL-Abilities’ team members Lazylegz, Kujo and Redo

[中]「我們都是超級巨星!」——超能量街舞團以舞蹈燃點所有能量

— 專訪超能量街舞團團員Lazylegz、Kujo和Redo

原文:丘思詠;翻譯:林韋彤

 

加拿大人Luca Patuelli(即Lazylegz),患有先天性多發性關節攣縮症,是一種影響關節和骨頭的神經肌肉疾病。自七個月大起,一共進行了十六次手術,日常依靠拐杖活動。他爸爸曾跟他說,「不願意嘗試」是人生的第一個失敗,所以縱然身體有礙,他亦嘗試參與各種各樣運動。十五歲的時侯,Lazylegz第一次接觸並繼而愛上霹靂舞,現在已成為國際上數一數二的「B-boy」(霹靂舞者)。他從沒視拐杖為阻礙,反而將拐杖變成雙臂的延伸,由此創作出他獨有的舞步。

 

2006年時,他有了一個夢想及野心,「我希望創造一個由不同能力舞者組成的超級舞團(全明星團隊)」,Lazylegz明言「當時最大的挑戰,是作為加拿大中唯一一個高水平殘疾B-boy,卻未能在這個國家找到可以合作的舞者。不過,到世界各地參與上不同比賽後,我便開始接觸到其他舞者」。Lazylegz隨即邀請世界各地的舞者加入他的舞團。2007年,Lazylegz的團隊超能量街舞團(ILL-Abilities)正式成立,當時共五名成員,包括Tommy Guns、Kuho、Checho及他本人,每個人都有不同能力,每個人都有自己的故事。於2008年,他們為了首個官方活動「No Limits」終於在蒙特利爾見面。現時,團隊活躍成員已經增至七人,分別來自荷蘭、智利、南韓、美國、巴西和加拿大。

ILL-Abilities7人全員合照; 攝:Kien Quan

 

超能量街舞團(ILL-Abilities)的名字「根據嘻哈文化中,將負面字詞轉換成正面字詞的慣例命名」。所以,ILL-Abilities中的「ILL」不應解作「生病」或「不適」,反作「難以置信」、「不可思議」、「精雕細琢」或「才華洋溢」的意思。而從每個團員的日常生活及工作可見,他們都以「No Excuses. No Limits」(無藉口,無限制)為生活的座右銘。

 

超能量街舞團今年應「無限亮」[1]計劃邀請來港共兩次,第一次(是次一月來訪)是為藝術家進駐計劃以及導師培訓工作坊而來,而第二次則會於三月份[2]與本地舞者一起表演和尬舞(Battle)。

 

第一次訪港時,超能量街舞團的成員Kujo(美國)和Redo(荷蘭),隨Lazylegz同行與本地社群分享他們的知識及經驗。

 

創建第二家庭

坐在我面前是三位三、四十多歲的B-boy,訪談期間一直互相調侃,並時而為對方的發言作補充。在我看來,他們就像大男孩一樣,敏銳而又富創造力。他們間的兄弟情,明眼人都能看出來。

 

「在B-boy的世界,舞團(crew)就像是第二個家」Kujo續說,「我們猶如兄弟,非常關心、重視對方。」

 

他們各自在自己的城市都有自己的舞團,與各自舞團的關係也很好,但Redo就覺得「原本各自的舞團中並沒有跟自己一樣同是殘疾的舞者,比超能量街舞團的成員們較難身同感受,所以成員間會有一種特別的情結。」Kujo亦坦言在他本身的舞團中,「我們總是突出的一個,但在超能量街舞團裡,卻沒有這個情況,畢竟大家都是『奇奇怪怪』的」。聽到Kujo這樣說,成員們都忍不住大笑起來,然而當中的意義正正就是「人人平等」。

 

這隊有如家人般的B-boys將於三月在大館為香港觀眾帶來他們第一個足本演出《失•聯》,一個關於如何在充滿隔閡和困惑的世界中找到聯繫的表演。Lazylegz對這個作品的演化做出了說明:「這個表演本來只有五分鐘,後來像雪球一樣,一切都越滾越大。」因為沒辦法經常聚在一起,所以團員各自創作自己的獨舞,再僅以四天的時間將所有部分串連起來,並進行首次排練。由於他們沒有特定的創作基地,所以很多時候都是於車庫,甚至是民宿中進行創作,將限制轉化成不同可能。「每一次創作都是一個演化,每一個作品都是不一樣的」Kujo補充道,「我們不斷表演,也不斷把表演完善」。

 

ILL-Abilities成員在香港本地社區進行工作坊;照片由香港藝術節提供

 

燃亮他人生命

超能量街舞團無疑是最受歡迎的國際霹靂舞團之一,然而除了表演和比賽外,他們還有其他重要的角色。

 

Redo認為「我們與一般舞團的不同之處,在於我們不是一個只會表演的舞團,還是一個會作為導師、當義工和參加社區工作的舞團。」

 

Lazylegz解釋他們的「其他角色」也是一直在進化。「初時,我的公開演講讓超能量街舞團聚在一起,亦幫我們籌集到進行2011年第一次正式巡迴演出的資金。過往,我曾試過在三十天內走訪蒙特利爾和其他城市共二十所學校,舉辦了二十八場演講。晚上,我們為了在劇場演出而努力;白天,我們走訪不同學校。最後,這個準備多時的表演於兩年後完成巡迴演出。」憑著巡迴演出作品《No Limits》以及團隊在倫敦薩德勒之井的首個演出,超能量街舞團於2013年獲提名角逐勞倫斯・奧利弗獎「傑出舞蹈成就」。

 

雖然超能量街舞團的演說、表演,還有他們的故事一直為不同能力人士充權,Kujo卻說這不是他們的初衷,而是在過程當中自然而生的。「我們教育他人,同時在燃亮他們的人生。我們在力臻完美的同時,也跟他人分享我們的故事。」

 

這個自然的演化讓他們深有收穫。有一次,他們到了日本的拘留營,那次經歷讓他們每一個人都十分動容。

 

Lazylegz回想當時的情境,「我們以一個兩小時的演講/工作坊作為激勵大家的開場白,但大家一點反應都沒有,每個人都抱著自己的腿一動不動。然後我就大喊,『好!我們來跳舞熱身吧!』,每個參加者都隨之望向保安和老師,希望獲得許可,你可以感受到他們的恐懼。但到最後,大家都在跳舞。保安也與眾人擊掌,每個人都很開心。」Lazylegz續道,「當我們回到後台,我們來自巴西的團員Sumuka哭了,他說:『這就是舞蹈的力量。我住在巴西時,見過很多瘋狂的事,見過人被打、被謀殺,這些事不會觸動我,然而我今天卻感受到恐懼,看到學生們怎樣透過舞蹈超越恐懼,感受到舞蹈不可思議的超能力,那是一個非常特別的瞬間。」

 

「我不會說那是因為我們,是舞蹈給了他們一些促動。他們一直有自己的幹勁和決心,我們只是給他們帶來點點推動力。」

 

我相信今趟超能量街舞團訪港,於社區的工作也燃亮了很多人的生命。他們在一個星期內舉辦了八個工作坊,並為三月於青年廣場的最終表演,與很多不同能力的舞者進行了遴選。

 

影響更多人

為了增加影響力,讓更多的殘障舞者可以跳舞,Lazylegz與妻子Melissa Emblin及特殊教育專家Marie-Elaine Patenaude於2012年舉辦了導師培訓工作坊。計劃的目的是為了給予舞蹈工作室認證,確保適合任何人(不同能力)使用的資格。Lazylegz解釋到「我們會訓練那些參加了計劃的導師,讓他們明白怎樣跟不同能力的舞者互動。時至今日,這已經是一個非常受歡迎的項目,剛開始時只有一間工作室和四個學生,直至2016年項目完結前,已經有六間工作室和一百三十個介乎四至六歲,擁有不同能力的學生。」

 

「我們自己卻是這份成功的受害者」Lazylegz坦承他們已經積勞成疾,「我們一開始著手這個項目是因為熱誠,並不是要去經營一盤生意。我一直以來以演講籌集經費,我快要累垮了。」Lazylegz與妻子即將迎來他們第一個小孩,所以打算暫停這個計劃。

 

但是這份推動力是永不停止的,他們三十二個在蒙特利爾已經受訓的導師會繼續影響他人。Lazylegz和他的妻子Melissa亦受大芭蕾舞團(蒙特利爾非常有名的芭蕾舞團)邀請,為他們的新編街舞課程擔任導師和顧問。

 

舞蹈教育家、社工或是殘疾方面的專家都有機會嘗試剛在香港舉辦的導師培訓工作坊。這個工作坊是將一個原本兩天的訓練壓縮成兩小時的速成班,「第一天著眼於理論方面,第二天即著重肢體方面。」Lazylegz向我們講解原本的訓練是怎樣的,「兩整天的訓練可以做很多事,每個練習後我們坐下來聊天,讓訓練員可以與來受訓的導師們分享他們的故事,讓他們更投入。」除此之外,他們一整年都在主辦各種各樣的訓練課,多是專門針對某種殘障或某種舞蹈。Lazylegz強調他們希望導師之間,可以建立與超能量街舞團團員們之間一樣,如家人般的關係,這樣的關係和聯繫是他籌劃這麼多東西的中心思想。

 

與超能量街舞團進行訪談前,我於早上也參加了導師培訓工作坊。當中最打動我的是當我一走進工作室,裡面播放著嘻哈音樂,大家都在交談,就像一般的親朋好友的聚會,氣氛十分放鬆,還有那一疊疊記錄著與不同殘障類別人士互動的方法和原則的筆記。當然,一定要提到的還有他們之間毫無隱瞞的「促膝長談」,大家之間的交流充滿喜悅和熱情,十分具啟發性。

 

為了讓工作坊的參加者對不同殘障有更深體會,參加者在過程中需使用不同道具,例如以輪椅或拐杖體會肢體殘障、戴眼罩體會視障人士的黑暗世界、佩戴耳塞體驗聽覺受損的感受,又或者是負重體會多發性硬化病人的感受。之後我們玩了一個鏡面模仿拍檔的遊戲,我是「聾」的而我的拍檔是「盲」的,Lazylegz讓我們互相形容自己的動作予拍檔知道。當我轉身時,我也讓我的拍檔轉身。後來聊天時他告訴我,原來當時讓他轉圈讓他覺得頭暈目眩,我才第一次知道原來視覺受損的人轉圈是會感到頭暈。這個活動就是旨在讓我們親身感受一下,這些以前從來都沒有發覺和意識到的事情。

 

在工作坊的尾聲,Lazylegz跟Kujo、Redo讓參加者一起大喊「WE ARE SUPERSTARS!」(我們都是超級巨星)Lazylegz解釋每次表演完結後都會讓大家這樣大喊的原因,是想最後激勵大家一下,他們相信每一個人都有他自己的隱藏才能,只是需要時間去發掘。

 

ILL-Abilities成員在香港本地社區進行工作坊;照片由香港藝術節提供

「共融」並不存在

超能量街舞團的每一個項目都是以行動表明甚麼是「平等」。

 

難怪當問到他們甚麼是「共融」時,Redo回答到「『共融』是不存在的,無論你來自甚麼地方、甚麼種族,是男是女,成年人還是小孩,有錢沒錢,都可以跳舞。舞蹈面前,人人平等。」但Kujo亦補充,「共融在嘻哈文化卻又是不可或缺的,有很多人其實在我們面前都是殘障。」

 

Lazylegz提到他們其中一個挑戰是創造「有機共融」,即是要明白背後的動機,而不是強迫共融。他曾目擊一些學校強逼老師學生去跟他人共融,但其實他們並不知道怎樣去處理這件事情,長此下去會產生事與願違的後果。「親身經歷過才能身同感受」,Lazylegz提醒我們需要了解事情背後的動機。

 

超能量街舞團的動機很明顯,就是為每一個參加者和旁觀者充權。Kujo說,他們的格言「無藉口,無限制」不只是對殘障人士說,而是對每一個人說,意在鼓勵大家突破界限,真正活得完滿。

 

 

 

 

 

[1] 「無限亮」計劃於2019年成立,由香港藝術節及香港賽馬會慈善信託基金聯合呈獻,旨在透過藝術探索及推動社會共融。

[2] 香港藝術節於2020年2月10日宣布,基於新型冠狀病毒疫情持續,導致表演場地關閉,以及對藝術家、觀眾及同事們的安全及健康考慮,將取消二、三月期間進行的第48屆香港藝術節的所有演出,「無限亮」計劃亦不會如期於二、三月舉行。

==

原文:丘思詠

自由身舞蹈工作者,專注於舞蹈教育、研究及寫作。她先後於紐約大學舞蹈系及香港大學文學系完成她的藝術碩士及文碩士。她現為香港教育大學舞蹈學科的客席講師。

[ENG] “WE ARE SUPERSTARS!” — ILL-Abilities moves to empower ALL abilities

– interview with ILL-Abilities’ team members Lazylegz, Kujo and Redo

Text: Catherine Yau

 

Luca Patuelli (a.k.a. Lazylegz), is a Canadian born with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disorder affecting the bones and joints of the body. He has undergone 16 surgeries since he was 7 months old, and has to rely on crutches to get about for daily activities. “Your first failure is not to try” his father used to tell him. Despite his physical limitations, that pushed him to try all kinds of physical activities, until at the age of 15 he discovered the world of breakdance, fell in love with the whole culture, and has now become one of the best-known international B-boys. Instead of treating his crutches as a hindrance, he transformed them into extensions of his arms, and with them creates movements that are uniquely his own.

 

He formed a dream and ambition back in 2006: “I had the idea of creating a Super Crew with dancers who are differently-abled – an all-stars team” Lazylegz explains. “The biggest challenge was that I remained the only high-level disabled B-boy in Canada, there was no-one in the country I could link up with. However, while going through different competitions in the world, I started to meet other dancers.“ Lazylegz therefore invited dancers from all around the world to join his team. In 2007, his crew ILL-Abilities was officially formed, with four members, Tommy Guns, Kujo, Checho and himself, all of whom are differently-abled and have different stories. In 2008, they finally met together in Montreal for their first official event, “No Limits”. Now the crew has grown to seven active members, from the Netherlands, Chile, South Korea, USA, Brazil and Canada.

 

The name of the crew, ILL-Abilities, “came from the hip hop culture in turning negative terms into something positive”. Therefore the “ILL” in ILL-Abilities does not refer to “sick” or “unwell”, but rather to “incredible, amazing, intricate and talented”. All crew members also live by their very important motto – “No Excuses. No Limits”, which they are certainly demonstrating in their work and in their lives. ILL-Abilities came to Hong Kong in January at the invitation of the local project -- No Limits[1], and will pay two visits in all, this first one to conduct Artist-in-Residencies in local communities, plus Teachers’ Training workshops; a second one scheduled in March[2] 2020 where they will perform and battle with local dancers.

 

For the first visit, two other ILL-Abilities’ members, Kujo (USA) and Redo (Netherlands), came with Lazylegz to share their knowledge with the local community.

 

Left: Lazylegz (Canada); Photo:  Jacob Jonas Photography

Middle: Kuji (USA); Photo: Kien Quan

Right: Redo (Netherlands)l Photo: Jacob Jonas Photography

 

Creating a Second Family

Sitting in front of me are three B-boys in their 30s and 40s. During the interview, they are constantly teasing each other, and sometimes complementing each other on their ideas. I felt there was a playful kid in each of them, filled with sensitivity and creativity. Their brotherhood and tight bonding was also evident.

 

Kujo says “In the B-boy world, crew is like a second family.” That explains his saying that “all of us are really brothers, we care for each other, and we have a special bond”.

 

While all of them also have their own crew back in their home towns, with whom they still have a great bond, Redo says “but we don’t have the differently-abled in our home town crew, so we have a special bond between ILL-Abilities, because we understand each other [in terms of] what we have been through in life, in a way that our first family or original crew family may not understand.” Kujo added frankly that in his home crew, “We stand out. In ILL-Abilities, none of us do, cause everyone is weird.” Everyone laughed at his joke, yet while light-hearted it was also a reminder of their core value that “Everyone is the same.”

 

With this ILL-Abilities family, the B-boys built their first full-length show Dis-Connect, a work about finding connections in a world full of disconnection and confusion. It will be performed with a full crew at Tai Kwun later in March. Lazylegz explained the evolution of the work: “First it was just 5 minutes. Everything snowballed from that 5-minute show.” Without the advantage of being able to get together often, the team created their own solos and had just four days to rehearse the whole work by putting all the material together for the first time. Since they also do not have a home base for creation, they just “created in garages, in Airbnbs”, turning all limitations into possibilities. “It’s a constant evolution. Every time the work is different”, Kujo says, “Each time we perform the show, it’s getting more and more close to finished.”

 

Sparking something special in the lives of others

Today ILL-Abilities is indubitably one of the most popular international breakdance crews, but they have other important roles in addition to performance and competition.

 

Redo says, “What differentiates us from the majority of companies is that we have a wide variety of offerings. We also teach and do social work, and do a lot of work within the community.” Lazylegz points out that those other roles have also evolved along the way, “Initially, what helped ILL-Abilities come together was my public speaking appearances. This helped finance our first official tour in 2011. I had organized 28 speaking engagements in 20 different schools, across Montreal and various cities in 30 days. In the evening, we were building a theatre show. In the morning, we were working in schools. The theatre show ended up touring 2 years later.” For their touring work No Limits and the team’s debut at Sadler’s Wells in London, ILL-Abilities was nominated for “Outstanding achievement in dance” at the UK Olivier Awards in 2013.

 

Although their speeches, performances and their own stories have helped to empower people of different abilities, Kujo says that in the beginning it wasn’t their intention to empower people, it was something that evolved naturally. “We are educating, we are empowering. How we could strive to be the best, and at the same time give or share our stories along the way

 

This natural evolution has been deeply rewarding. One of their experiences, in a Japanese detention camp for young offenders, touched the whole team.

 

“When we first started our 2-hour motivational speech/workshop, it was [like] ice, no response.” Lazylegz says, “They are sitting holding their legs tight to themselves. And when I shouted: ‘OK! We are going to do a dance warm-up.’ the participants were looking to the guards and teachers for permission if they are allowed to participate. You could feel their fear. Yet by the end, everyone was dancing. The guards were giving high-fives. Everyone was laughing, they were having fun!” Lazylegz continued, “After we went backstage, Sumuka, the dancer from Brazil, was crying, he said ‘This is the power of dance. I lived in Brazil, and I have seen some crazy stuff, I have seen people get beaten and murdered. That doesn’t faze me. But what I felt today, I felt the fear. And seeing how the students were able to knock that fear away through dance; giving them superpower, making them feel incredible, was a very special moment.”

 

Lazylegz confirms, “I won’t say that it’s because of us, but the dance sparks something within them, which they always have that drive and determination. And I think we are just helping to give them that little push.”

 

I am sure their first visit to work with local communities in HK, where they conducted eight workshops within one week and auditioned differently-abled dancers for a finale showing in March in Y-Square, has also helped spark something special in many lives here.

 

ILL-Abilities hosting workshops in HK local communities; Photo provided by Hong Kong Art Festival

Spreading the Influence

To spread the influence even further, allowing more disabled dancers to enjoy dancing, Lazylegz created a teacher training programme with his wife Melissa Emblin and special education specialist Marie-Elaine Patenaude in 2012. The idea was to “start a programme that certified dance studios, making sure they are accessible [to differently-abled people]” Lazylegz explained. “Then we train the dance teachers within those studios for them to understand how to work with people with differently-abled bodies. It became a very popular programme. We started off with 1 studio and 4 students. In 2016, before we finished, 6 studios had 130 students, aged from 4 to 6, all with different abilities.”

 

Unfortunately, we were the victims of our own success.” Lazylegz admits honestly, “We ended up burning out. We built the programme with passion, and not with a foundation of a business structure. I was financing the programme through my speaking engagements, and it was burning me out.” At the same time he and his wife were expecting their first child, therefore they decided to stop the programme.

 

However, the momentum they started has never stopped. Their 32 trained teachers in Montreal still continue to spread the influence. Lazylegz and Melissa were also invited by the Les Grands Ballets (a major modern ballet company in Montreal) to serve as instructors and consultants for their Adapted Street Dance programme.

 

Dance educators, social workers and professionals working with disabilities had the chance to experience their teacher training workshop held in Hong Kong. A 2-hour workshop was conducted as a crash course of the original 2-days’ training. “Day 1 is all theoretical, and Day 2 all physical.” Lazylegz explains about the original training, “There is a lot more within the 2 full days. After every exercise, we sit and talk, allowing the dance trainers to share their experiences and to help the dance teachers to feel more engaged.” In addition, throughout the year, they host a variety of training sessions, specific to one type of disability or dance style. Lazylegz emphasizes that they do this because they want “to create this family bond among teachers.” Bonding and connection are always central to Lazylegz’s work.

 

Before the interview, I also attended the teacher training workshop in the morning. What most impressed me was the casual atmosphere when I first got into the studio, with hip hop music playing and people talking to each other like a party or a family gathering; as well as the substantial pack of notes detailing definitions and methodologies in working with different disabilities. Of course, the openness, the stories of the members, and their joy and passion in their sharing were very inspiring.

 

In order to let us experience different forms of disability to enhance our understanding of potential students, we were asked to use different props, like wheelchairs or crutches for the physically disabled, blindfolds for the blind, ear plugs for the deaf, or weights attached to the body for those with multiple sclerosis. We played a movement game of “mirroring your partner”. I was a “deaf” person working with a “blind” partner. Since my partner was “blind”, Lazylegz asked me to describe our movements to them. At one moment, I turned, and therefore, I asked my partner to also turn around. In the post-session discussion, my partner told me that she felt very dizzy when she turned. It was then that I realized for the first time that being “without sight”, means a blind person will feel dizzy in turning. This shows how the activities achieved their aims in letting us discover things for ourselves by directly experiencing different abilities through our own or our partners’ bodies.

 

At the end of the workshop, Lazylegz joined hands with Kujo, Redo and all the participants in shouting “WE ARE SUPERSTARS!” Lazylegz explained that they perform this ritual after every workshop, aiming to give the participants a final boost before they leave. They believe that every student has hidden talents within them, it just takes time to discover them.

 

ILL-Abilities hosting workshops in HK local communities; Photo provided by Hong Kong Art Festival

Inclusiveness does not exist

All the work that ILL-Abilities do brings the meaning of the word “equality” to life.No wonder when asked what ‘inclusiveness’ means to them, Redo says “Inclusiveness does not exist”. He explains “in the world where we came from, women, men, children, different races, poor guys, rich guys all come together to dance. No one judges. Dance is for everyone.” Kujo adds, “Inclusiveness is integral to hip hop. Many people are disabled before us.”

 

Lazylegz comments: “One of the challenges is we have [is] to create ‘organic inclusiveness’. They have to have a purpose, not forcing the inclusion”. He has witnessed schools seeking to enforce inclusion with people not understanding how to handle it, which can backfire. “It really needs to come from within” he says, emphasizing that we need to find “the intention behind it”.

 

ILL-Abilities’ own intentions are crystal clear: to empower both onlookers and participants. Kujo says “Our motto, ‘No Excuses. No Limits’, is for everyone, not only for the disabled. To encourage people to live life to their limits, to their fullest.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The No Limits project was first launched in 2019, co-presented by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, with the aim of promoting inclusiveness through art.

[2] Hong Kong Arts Festival has announced on 10 February 2020 that all February and March performances are cancelled, as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, resultant closures of venues across the city, and concerns for the health and safety of artists, audience and staff. The No Limits project will also not be held as scheduled in February and March.

 

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Text: Catherine Yau

is a freelance dance practitioner focusing on dance education, research, and writing. She is Guest Lecturer in Dance at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She obtained an MFA and MA from New York University and the University of Hong Kong respectively.

 

 

 

 

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