2012年初，我赴南美完成舞動所能（DanceAbility）證書課程，成為亞洲首個華人舞動所能認證教師，同年獲北京瓷娃娃罕見病關愛中心邀請，在他們舉辦的7天「I CAN協力營」中，每天下午進行四個小時的共生舞蹈工作坊，並在最後一天進行演出。這個契機逐漸促成三十小時共生舞基本課程的雛型（相等於香港共生舞團十個月的舞聚時間），當中除「漢化」教學語言之外，為了讓學員更易記得如何進入即興狀態，我將「修身、齊家、治覺、平天下」配用到方法裡，後來並加入Nancy Stark Smith的潛動譜（Underscore），成為一套 「共生舞譜」（見圖）。香港演藝學院主修編舞及舞蹈導演畢業的Mimi在2014年也成為舞動所能認證教師，我們倆都覺得唯有舞動所能是真真正正的人皆可舞，皆因這個發展自接觸即興的舞動方式真正容許一切的不同，而所有舞蹈教育工作者（不只共融）都應該學習一下，正如無障礙意識應該人人皆知皆有。
與Mimi赴美國参加Nancy Stark Smith所帶領爲期一個月的工作坊後，我定位共生舞蹈為一項透過不斷教學來實踐的舞蹈研究：「如何讓每一個人都能夠從差異中自在地參與舞蹈創作並發揮自己」。我鼓勵我的學生成為共生舞蹈導師，但不頒任何認證，因爲我相信能教的自然能教，現在當中包括一個失明者（他更來港修讀了舞動所能認證）和一個類風濕關節炎患者都教得相當不錯。
2018年，我在廣州成立共生不錯舞團，出任藝術總監，同樣從一個非政府組織中成立，不過走向跟香港截然不同。舞團成員的主動性很强，還要包辦舞團的一切行政，一年半下來舞團成員無論在藝術上和生活上皆有非常飽滿的成長，但舞團經營也不容易，靠的是申請基金會或籌款維持。舞團成員有很多自主創作，其中年度作品更曾入選北京國際青年戲劇節！舞團也堅持舉行每周「無障礙舞醬」（Jam for all），一種源自接觸即興的交流方式。共生不錯舞團的成員大概有一半是殘障伙伴，可以明顯地見到他們參與舞蹈後的人生改變（個人自信上的、身體能力上的、生活態度上的）; 而另一半非殘障伙伴，他們對無障礙抱有更深刻的同理心，平等的價值意識提升。而無論是殘障或非殘障伙伴，在舞蹈創作的能力上皆是不斷突破，舞蹈路上不斷有新發現和驚喜。共生舞蹈並不是特別針對殘疾朋友，它是面向所有人的舞蹈，但殘疾朋友的參與讓共生舞更豐盛和更具多元性；也可以說共生舞的入門是沒有任何門檻，只要你想跳舞都可以加入。而對於很多不同能力的伙伴來說，他們根本無法參與其他舞蹈，共融舞蹈幾乎是他們參與舞蹈的唯一選擇！共融舞蹈的特徵是有不同能力／背景者的參與，但共融舞蹈教育主要針對的，其實不是某些特定對象，而是面對所有人。除了一般大眾，專業舞蹈（教育）工作者才是推動共融舞蹈的關鍵！可惜到現時專業舞者的參與並不多，亦有可能是專業舞者對共融舞蹈依然存在誤解或不了解，未覺共融舞蹈與他們的專業有關。
社區文化發展中心在2019年暑假，曾經邀請Alito Alessi來港作亞洲第一個舞動所能教師證書課程，當中有二十多位新舞動所能導師在這個革命時刻誕生！Alito曾談及舞動所能是一個當代舞蹈的革命，它是「Contemporary Edge of Dance」（舞蹈的當代邊緣）! 我們常把舞蹈教育視為舞蹈創作的旁支，而共融舞蹈教育更是邊緣中的邊緣！最吊詭的是在當代舞蹈中，似乎愈是「exclusive」（獨有）的舞蹈就愈被「include」（納入）, 而愈是「inclusive」（具包容性）的舞蹈就愈被「exclude」（排除）! 香港舞動所能（舞動所能國際的香港分會，現由Mimi Lo出任藝術總監）已經在香港成立差不多兩年了，但到最近還是有不少人在打聽什麽是舞動所能。時代革命，我們也不可能再停留在雜耍式的審美標準，個人認為共融舞蹈實應作為每一個當代舞人的必修科，光復舞蹈於人皆可舞的真善美！
 筆者的文章〈由抗拒專業到面對專業—— 修畢Danceability教師證書課程〉曾刊登於第14-2期《舞蹈手札》
[ENG] Yuenjie Maru’s Inclusive Education Diary: from DanceAbility to Symbiotic Dance
Original Text: Yuenjie Maru
Translation: Tiffany Wong
Since publishing my article on Symbiotic Dance and DanceAbilitiy in dance journal/hk in 2012, eight years has passed in the blink of an eye. Since you can find interviews and introductions of these two topics everywhere on the web, I will try not to repeat any information in this article, but to record my experiences in inclusive dance education from the perspective of a hands-on educator and dance researcher.
The Symbiotic Dance Troupe of the Centre for Community Cultural Development (CCCD) was established in 2009, following some members taking up dancing through the DanceAbility Community Dance Project programme in 2006. People have come and gone throughout the years, but the overall number of members has stayed between 20-30, consisting of people with learning disabilities, wheelchair users, people with hearing disabilities, the blind, and other less familiar disabilities, alongside the able-bodied and professional dancers. I have to mention Wai, who is deaf (how these terms are used in life is political in itself) and who hardly knows sign language. He learns by watching and he performs each movement more accurately than any person who listens to verbal instructions. It would be a bad idea to write out the instructions for him because of your concern that he doesn’t fully understand, as it would hinder his observation. In fact, tutors and teaching assistants need not worry about anyone not understanding, what’s important is to allow time for everyone to observe, even those with severe intellectual disability, as you never know whether they understand something, but time and patience are key to allow them to answer you by dancing what they comprehend. On the contrary, what worries me more is arrogant and opinionated teachers and volunteers.
Since its establishment, the troupe has held a three-hour dance gathering each month, which adds up to thirty-six hours of training a year, almost equal to six days of training, with six hours each. I feel confident to say that every one of our regular members is a skilled improvisation dancer. In the past few years, we have been putting together the dances on the day of the performance, and it hasn’t been a problem! In fact, the problem is the pressure that our monthly gathering puts on CCCD’s financial and human resources. For every session, they need to arrange for Rehabuses to take members to and from different locations, and the “resources” of different programmes decide the direction of our events (for example, applying to hold activities in special schools is easier than in ordinary schools, although the latter produces a stronger educational result), and in most cases, we never know why our applications were not approved. Yet one of our best collaborative experiences was a workshop co-organized with Little Green Feet. Leading a workshop based on a storybook allowed adults and children to dance with members of our troupe, forming a natural, inclusive education arena, letting children know that people with different abilities can also dance together.
CCCD Dance gatherings; Photo provided by Yuenjie Maru
Our dance gatherings attract teachers, social workers and professional dancers to join as well. May (Mayson Fung), C+ (Scarlette Cheng), and Mimi Lo all first learnt about Symbiotic Dance and then sat the DanceAbility Teacher Certificate. At that time, May was a teacher at special education school, and she invited me to conduct a workshop at a school with students with severe learning disabilities. Two of the students fell asleep in class, so I requested a dance between teachers and students, to carry out a conversational exercise under the rule “One moves, one stays still”. Then, teachers ‘danced’ with the sleeping children. When the teacher danced, the child was ‘still’, but when the teacher stopped, everyone became aware of the child’s breathing. This was in fact a portrait of life itself. Had we planned to educate certain people about certain things? Eventually, our goal was as simple as to show that every life has its value and dignity, and to let every life be seen.
In early 2012, I completed the DanceAbility certificate in South America, becoming the first ethnic Chinese DanceAbility certified tutor in Asia. In the same year, I received an invitation from the China-Dolls Center for Rare Disorders in Beijing to conduct a 4-hour daily Symbiotic Dance workshop during their 7-day I CAN camp, with a performance on the last day. This opportunity fostered the prototype of the 30-hour Symbiotic Dance course (equal to 10 monthly gatherings of the troupe). Apart from making the teaching language more “Chinese”, I used one of Confucius’ famous quotes to illustrate the method. Later on I adopted Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore, to become a “Symbiotic Dance Score” (see image below). Mimi, who graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts majoring in Choreography and Dance Directing, became a DanceAbility certified teacher in 2014. We both agree that DanceAbility is the only route to achieving the goal that “everyone can dance”, because this method, developed from contact improvisation, truly allows all forms of differences, and all dance educators (not only inclusive dance specialists) should learn it, just as barrier-free awareness should be in everybody’s mind.
Left: Yuenjie and his 'Symtbiotic Dance Score' ; Photos provided by Yuenjie Maru
Right: The 'Symbiotic Dance Score'; Photo provided by Yuenjie Maru
After taking part in Nancy Stark Smith’s month-long workshop, I position Symbiotic Dance as a dance research that is put into practice by continuously educating, “how to make everyone able to participate freely in dance and express themselves in spite of differences”. I encourage my students to become DanceAbility teachers, but I do not give out certificates, because I believe that if you can teach, you can teach. At the moment, one of the tutors is blind (he even came to Hong Kong to sit the DanceAbility course) and another is a rheumatoid arthritis patient, and they are both teaching very well.
In 2018, I established the Mistakeable Symbiotic Dance Troupe in Guangzhou, holding the position of Artistic Director. Although this was also supported by a non-governmental organization, our direction was very different from the troupe in Hong Kong. The Guangzhou troupe had very active members and they were also responsible for all the troupe’s administrative work. After a year and a half, the members have grown a lot artistically and personally, but it is not easy to run a troupe and we have had to rely on applying for sponsorships from foundations and on fundraising. The troupe persists in holding the weekly “Jam for All”, an interaction method originating from contact improvisation. Around half the members of Mistakeable Symbiotic Dance Troupe are disabled persons, and the way they changed after starting to dance was obvious (their confidence, physical abilities and attitudes all improved). The able-bodied half of the troupe now has stronger empathy for disabled people, and a higher awareness of equal opportunities. Both able-bodied and disabled people are continuously improving their dancing and choreographic abilities, and keep encountering new discoveries and surprises on their road to dance. Symbiotic Dance is not specially focused on disabled people, but is a dance form for everyone. Disabled people’s participation makes Symbiotic Dance richer and more diverse, and we can also say that there is no prerequisite to taking part in Symbiotic Dance. If you want to dance, you may join. Friends of different abilities cannot participate together in other forms of dance. Symbiotic Dance is characterized by the participation of people with different abilities and backgrounds, but what inclusive dance education targets is in fact not just a few specific groups, but everyone. Apart from the general public, professional dance (education) workers are the key to promoting inclusive dance. Unfortunately, to this day, there are not a lot of professional dancers participating. This may be due to professional dancers’ lack of understanding or misunderstanding towards inclusive dance, not knowing the correlation between inclusive dance and their profession.
In the summer of 2019, CCCD invited Alito Alessi to Hong Kong to conduct his first DanceAbility tutor certification course in Asia, certifying 20 new DanceAbility teachers on this remarkable occasion. Alito refers to DanceAbility as a movement in contemporary dance, the ‘Contemporary Edge of Dance’. Often we see dance education as the support of dance creation and inclusive dance has been sitting at the edge of the edge. The funny thing is that in Contemporary Dance, it seems that the most ‘exclusive’ dances are the most ‘included’, but the most ‘inclusive’ dances are the most ‘excluded’. DanceAbility Hong Kong (a branch of DanceAbility International, with Mimi Lo as Artistic Director) has been established for two years, but up till now, many people are still just asking about what DanceAbility is. “Revolution Now” is needed: we cannot just stick with acrobatic-style aesthetic standards. I think that inclusive dance should be a compulsory course for every contemporary dancer, to free the truth, goodness and beauty in us all so that everyone can dance.
 The author’s Chinese article ‘From resisting to embracing professionalism -- Completion of the DanceAbility Teacher Certification Course’ was published in issue no. 14-2 of dance journal/hk.
Original Text: Yuenjie Maru
Hong Kong’s first DanceAbility certified tutor. He studied and developed Symbiotic Dance with the DanceAbility method as a base. He has been the Artistic Director of Symbiotic Dance Troupe of CCCD for 10 years (2009-2018), and is now the Artistic Director of Mistakeable Symbiotic Dance Troupe in Guangzhou (2018- ).