（原文刊於《舞蹈手札》第三冊第四期Originally published in dance journal 3-4）
雖然經過多年的談論，以及有心人士的鼓吹，香港的中學舞蹈教育仍是進展緩慢。是以，於舞蹈手扎第三冊第二期中閱到潘少輝的「 紐約學校舞蹈教育的考察」(以下簡稱「紐約」) 一文時，本人深感香港舞蹈界正須要這類考察，並希望該文能指出一個方向來打破這個悶局。然而，在讀完整萬文章後，雖然一方面覺得該文資料詳細而充實，令人看後對紐約的舞蹈教育有較全面的認識；但另一方面，卻認為該文的分析與結論仍有不足之處。
個人認為這推論之所以不合理，是由於其中缺乏了重要 的一環：那就是演出多了，舞者或舞蹈團體間的接觸、 交流和競爭都會增加，造成百家爭嗚、百花齊放的局面。這再加上舞者水平的提昇，舞蹈演出的水平亦得以改善。質量提高了，選擇亦多了，自然會吸引到更多死觀眾，並帶動舞蹈活動。這樣的策略完全符合自由市場原理—以質量和多元選擇來拓展市場，吸引觀眾—而不是如潘少輝所認為的「供應創造需求」。
跟著，在討論香港的舞蹈教育時，潘少輝提問：「究竟，列為獨立課程及成為會考科目,對其發展有何效用？」3 並以中學會考音樂及美術兩科的報考人數低的情況來作參考，得出以下的結論：「舞蹈成為獨立科目，及列為會考課程之一，可促進舞蹈教育的論述，在實証上是行不通的。」4 令人失望的是，作者完全沒有提及舞蹈教育對學生發展的重要性（在「紐約」一文中，潘少輝所訪問的紐約舞蹈教育人士，往往強調這一點） ，而只著重「成果」而他以用作「成果」的指標，是一堆充其量只可反映數量的「死」數字，完全反映不到學生在德、智、體、群、 美等各方面的得益。這就正如將看舞蹈表演的人數與電視觀眾的人數來比較，並得出完全不須要舞蹈演出的結論般荒謬。當然，在一個商業社會裡，做事難免要講求「成果」、「數字」; 但是，在說到教育與藝術的問題上，仍是只執著於數字上的成果，而沒有理想與熱誠。那是完全失去了意義，亦是一個可悲的現象。
「就算標榜體育及藝街的體藝中學，也得關顧會考的需要。這考試導向的課程不解開，藝街教育便無從談起！就算成功的遊說了政府，建立了一 所舞蹈中學，那和現在的體藝中學，本質上並無 二致，學術上的訓練還未夠，如何培養優秀的舞蹈員？」7
賽馬會體藝中學 Jockey Club Ti-I College
圖：CC by WiNG
其實，所謂「考試導向」，可以說是存在於老師、家長和學生心中的心魔；所以，問題是如何能提供一個開明靈活的學校環境、如何在考試與舞蹈間取得平衡、如何輔助學生管理時間、如何令家長們明白與接受。 雖然是困難重重，但是落在一群有心的教育工作者手中，卻絕對是可以辦到的事，而不是如潘所說的「考試導向的課程不解開，藝街教育便無從談起」。就正如潘於「紐約」一文中所提到的Talented Unlimited High School，也都注重文化課，而學生成績也比市內學生的平均為高 （事實上美國大多數的術藝專科中學成績都較平均為 高），可見考試與藝術教育不單是可以並存，甚至是可以互助互利。
As a course of study in Hong Kong secondary schools, dance education is still developing sluggishly, despite years of in-depth discussion and advocacy by various interested parties. Because of this, when I saw the title of A Comparative Study on the Dance Education of New York by Pun Sui Fai in the second issue of the third volume of dance journal/hk, I felt deeply that the Hong Kong dance community was in need of such a study, and hoped that it would point out a direction to move forward on the topic. After reading the report, while it remains informative and still provides a comprehensive understanding of dance education in New York, nonetheless there are some issues with the analysis and conclusions made.
Firstly, the report mentioned that it is not practical to promote Hong Kong dance activities by raising the level of dance artists:
"All these deductions are based on the assumption that well-trained dancers would promote dance activities and performances. The rationale for this assumption is that with more activities and performances, there would be more audience and therefore a propitious chance for dance development. This logic is similar to Say's Law of Economics -- supply creates demand."1
"This assumption is wrong pragmatically."2
In my opinion, there are two crucial factors that Pun did not take into account when he made this deduction. First, when there are more performances, there are more opportunities for dance artists and dance groups to interact, leading to more exchange and competition. This would create a situation similar to that in the ‘Spring and Autumn Period’ of ancient China, in which “all schools competed to make their voices heard”, and “all sorts of ideas bloomed”. Second, having better trained dancers also leads to an improvement in performance standard. The results of these factors, higher quality and more choices, can naturally attract wider audiences and drive more dance activity. This is not “supply creates demand”, as Pun believes, but follows free market principles.
Then, in discussing dance education in Hong Kong, Pun asked: "After reading these data, we should ask: is it really important for dance to be an independent subject and a subject in Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations?"3 He also used the low enrolment number for two HKCEE subjects, music and fine arts, to draw the following conclusion: "… the first idea discussed in the introduction of this article: having dance as an independent subject and making it part of the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examinations would promote dance education, is not correct pragmatically.”4 This is disappointing as the author appears to have completely ignored the value that dance education can contribute to the overall development of a student – a point often emphasized by the New York dance educators interviewed by Pun himself. In my opinion, the low enrolment is just a number, one that cannot take into account the benefits that are derived by adding the arts to a general curriculum. It is as ridiculous as comparing the audience size for dance performances to that for television programmes and concluding that the former are unnecessary. When it comes to education and the arts, it is completely meaningless to ignore ideals and passion and become obsessed with numbers.
In fact, only one question needs to be asked at this stage, that is, does Hong Kong need dance education at the secondary school level? If we think that the answer is yes, then we must fight for it, one step at a time. There are certainly major hurdles to clear, such as whether dance education should be a subject for public examinations, the number of students taking classes or enrolling in examinations, or how dance education influences dance development in the community. Nonetheless, these issues are secondary. Surely anyone who is passionate about the subject should seize any opportunity to develop dance education in Hong Kong, regardless of whether other art subjects – such as music and fine arts —are “not really playing an important role”5. (In fact, their results are fine, in my opinion).
While Hong Kong’s examination-oriented educational system poses a significant challenge to arts education, as mentioned in Pun’s report 6, this not a reason to not even try. We should not give up just because it is difficult to implement, but face the issues and work together on a solution. In fact, Hong Kong educational reform has picked up momentum in recent years. For example, the cancellation of the Hong Kong Academic Aptitude Test for secondary school admission is a first attempt to reduce the dominance of examinations. At the same time, the government has also given schools more autonomy over their respective curricula. This is the time to seize the opportunity to proactively create a platform more conducive to dance education. I also disagree with Pun’s opinion that examinations and arts education cannot coexist:
"Even Ti-I College, with its emphasis on sports and arts, cannot avoid paying attention to examinations. With this examination-oriented curriculum unchanged, it is not possible to have a proper art education. Even if we could successfully persuade the Government, and establish a dance secondary school, the result might be close to that of the Ti-I College: how could we possibly nurture good dancers, while there is not enough time to teach academic subjects?”7
I do not think that there is any condition or need in Hong Kong for a secondary school specialized in dance as a single subject at this time. Even New York does not have one – students in high schools with dance programmes are still required to study other disciplines. For a dancer to thrive in today’s society, the ability to think independently is crucial, and in-depth observation, abilities in comprehension, analysis, and critical thinking are needed. Even a secondary school specialized in dance would therefore need to provide a curriculum that covers basic knowledge in other disciplines and emphasizes balanced development.
Pun’s comment “with this examination-oriented curriculum unchanged, it is not possible to have a proper art education” is, in my opinion, not valid. The so-called "exam-orientation" is a demon that only exists in the minds of some teachers, parents and students. Discussions on how to provide an open and flexible school environment, how to achieve a balance between examinations and dance, how to assist students in time management, and how to help parents to understand and approve should help to find a way forward. Although this is not an easy task, it can be accomplished if given to dedicated educators to handle. In fact, the Talented Unlimited High School mentioned in the report pays attention to academic subjects, and its students post grades that are higher than the city’s average (the results of most of the high schools specialized in arts in the United States are higher than average). What we may learn from this example is that not only can examinations and art education coexist in a school, they can work together and achieve better results.
The most impressive thing about this study is its introduction of dance education organizations and institutions in various forms and scales in New York: intermediaries, dance centres, dance companies, as well as dance programmes in high schools and universities. With different goals and missions, they compete with and complement each other in the same environment. As Pun wrote:
"Although dance education in New York is not perfect, it is at least provisioned by various interlocking organizations, all with their own contributions."8
We can see this diverse and organic nature in the entire dance industry in New York, and it has made the city a world-class dance centre. This was not achieved overnight but is the result of the accumulation of experience and evolution over more than a century. There were certainly many failures in this process, but others can learn from them and use the room and resources left behind them to grow and develop. This is like ecological evolution: the more diverse the system, the more stable and vital it can become. This is similar to Pun’s comment:
"In a time of better economy and more resources, their development is faster; while they would go through a process of selection in a poor economy.”9
The cultural environment in Hong Kong is very different from New York, and we cannot copy its experience without adaptations, but that doesn’t mean we should reject the idea of learning from it. At the very least, we should commit to creating a diverse and viable environment for dance education rather than yield to the obstacles in its way by continuing to accept its status as an extra-curricular activity.
潘少輝， (2001) 「紐約學校舞蹈教育的考察」，刊於《舞蹈手扎》第三冊第二期，（香港: 香港舞蹈聯盟）， 第二頁。 “A Comparative Study on the Dance Education of New York” Pun Siu Fai, published in dance journal 3-4 (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Dance Alliance), page 4.
同上，第六頁。ibid, page 5 .
同上，第五頁。ibid, page 9
同上，第五頁。ibid, page 7-8
同上，第五頁。ibid, page 7
同上，第五頁。ibid, page 7
同上，第五頁。ibid, page 7
同上，第四頁。ibid, page 6
同上，第六頁。ibid, page 8
編輯手記 Editor's Note
在更普及的層面上，2009年在全港實施的新高中學制，也推行了「其他學習經歷（OLE）」， 其五大範疇包括藝術發展，並規定學生完成一定學習時數。另外由康樂及文化事務署在學校層面亦在這二十年間舉辦多項藝術教育計劃，包括「學校演藝實踐計劃」、「學校文化日計劃」、「高中生藝術新體驗計劃」、「中學生演藝賞析計劃」等。 多項校際演藝活動亦持續推行。這些活動和計劃中，很多是由學校與舞團或舞者合作推行。
About twenty years ago, dance journal/hk published the A Comparative Study on the Dance Education of New York by Pun Sui Fai, who at the time was the Dance Representative on the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and Fengren's response to his article by A Study Report with Unconstructive Conclusions - Several Responses to "A Comparative Study on the Dance Education of New York", in which their differing positions and opinions on dance education in Hong Kong schools were voiced. Years have passed since the articles were published, and dance education in secondary schools in Hong Kong has changed a lot in that time. How many of the ideas discussed in these two articles have been realized since then?
After the start of the new millennium, the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) School of Dance, under the leadership of its third Dean, Professor Susan Street, began to seek ways to improve the quality of the students it enrolled. Taking advantage of the curriculum review that was taking place at that time, she actively promoted the development of dance education in secondary schools to the Education Department. In 2002-03, the Hong Kong Dance Alliance, in partnership with the HKAPA, was commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council to conduct a "School Dance Education Research and Development Project". The researcher on that project, Anna CY Chan, who is the current Dean of the HKAPA School of Dance, visited 50 schools and interviewed their teachers in order to gain an understanding of the status of dance education in Hong Kong schools. She subsequently published Intelligent Moves: Dance Education Handbook, which put forward a direction towards building more comprehensive dance education. She then took up a new position as Lecturer of the School of Dance, where she joined Tom Brown, then Associate Dean of the School, to make a presentation to the Education Department. A series of dialogues was held, a dance curriculum was written, and a pilot programme by HKAPA was implemented in the Career-Oriented Curriculum (COC) in 2005. It successfully moved forward to become an Applied Learning subject of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination. Currently, three classes are offered each year, with about 80 students out of 200-300 applicants from all over Hong Kong selected to attend classes at the HKAPA. This is primarily a professionally oriented programme, with a number of students going on to enroll at the HKAPA once they have completed the HKDSE.
On a more general level, "Other Learning Experiences (OLE)" was later implemented as one of the three components in the New Senior Secondary Curriculum in 2009. It covers five major areas including Aesthetic Development and requires students to complete a certain amount of learning hours. Over the past 20 years, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has also organized a number of arts education programmes for schools, including the "School Performing Arts in Practice Scheme", "School Culture Day Scheme", "Arts Experience Scheme for Senior Secondary Students", and "Performing Arts Appreciation Project for Secondary Students". At the same time, numerous inter-schools performing arts activities and programmes have also been held regularly over the years, many of which were made possible by cooperation between schools and dance organizations or artists.
While Hong Kong students' access to dance has greatly improved over the past two decades due to the new curriculum and resources provided, has this helped them to a greater understanding and appreciation of dance?
Earlier, we invited five dance educators to share their experiences on the practice of dance education in local primary and secondary schools. Read full article.
客席編輯Guest Editor: 劉秀群Cathy Lau Sau Kwan ｜ 翻譯Translation：施德安 Cecil Sze