[中][ENG]探索舞蹈的根源——專訪郭亞福、黃天寶 Looking for the Roots of Dance with Aaron Khek and lx Wong
(左left)郭亞福 Aaron Khek Ah-Hock, (右right) 黃天寶Ix Wong Thien-Pau
“Artists look for creative ways to live in whatever situations,” Ix Wong Thien-Pau’s words bring to mind a picture I saw of his partner, Aaron Khek Ah-Hock, before heading to Kuala Lumpur: Ah-Hock is lying on a bed in a hospital. He has formed his nasogastric tube into a figure eight, symbolizing limitlessness, and placed it like glasses framing his eyes; he is smiling.
郭亞福和黃天寶這對舞蹈情侶檔，亞福出生於新加坡，而天寶生於東馬來西亞的沙巴亞庇。亞福曾在著名的倫敦政治經濟學院修讀會計，後來赴香港演藝學院修讀舞蹈。二人於香港演藝學院讀書時相識，黃天寶於1998年畢業後，在城市當代舞蹈團（CCDC）當舞者，二人同住在CCDC排練室樓上的天虹之家。當時的室友是現任的CCDC舞蹈中心總監黃建宏。2000年，郭亞福畢業後與黃天寶回流新加坡發展，創辦了他們同名的舞蹈團「Ah Hock & Peng Yu」，亞福更在2005年更獲新加坡國家藝術理事會青年藝術家獎。
The dance couple Ah-Hock and Ix were born to Chinese families; Ah-hock in Singapore and Ix in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia. Ah-Hock was an accounting student at the London School of Economics before going to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts to study dance. The two met in Hong Kong while students at the Academy. After Ix graduated in 1998, they both lived at the Rainbow Home in Wong Tai Sin above the rehearsal studios of the City Contemporary Dance Company, where Ix was working as a dancer. Their roommate at the time was Kevin Wong, the current CCDC Dance Centre Director. In 2000, Ah-Hock graduated and both returned to Singapore, before they established their eponymous dance company– Ah Hock & Peng Yu. Ah-Hock was later awarded the Young Artist Award by Singapore’s National Arts Council in 2005.
The couple experienced serious illnesses twice over the past 20 years. In 2008, Ix was diagnosed HIV+ two weeks before a performance. At that time, Singapore revoked the visa of anyone diagnosed with AIDS and those who were HIV+ were prohibited from entering the country. Ix was deported after his diagnosis.
During the following five years, Ah-Hock, still working in Singapore, visited Ix in Kuala Lumpur every week. The couple tried everything to maintain their relationship and continue their dance collaboration. Finally, in 2013, Singapore loosened its policy and allowed Ix to enter on a regular basis – two weeks each time. The turmoil they experienced in separation became settled.
Then, in July 2017, Ah-Hock was diagnosed with final stage nasopharyngeal cancer, leading to postponement of all his overseas projects. In early 2018, a series of treatments was able to kill all his cancer cells. During the interview in July this year, he was recovering, he looked lean, but his passion and humor still showed in his speech.
「果時我係醫院就嚟死，都仲諗住個Jessey （曾翠珊）個Project1。」他們說自己都是工作狂，笑說兩次大病來得「啱啱好」，「身體叫我哋真係要休息啦，重組一下思維方式，再衝落去就真係無命啦。我地聽返身體轉頭，But We Become More Creative」。卧病在床的確是對以身體作為主要創作及謀生工具的藝術家帶來很直接的障礙。2008年天寶患病時，面對龐大的醫藥費，亞福曾經想過放棄舞蹈，從操會計故業。但在同樣是藝術家的朋友的勸服下，他們去了日本與拜會朋友的老師Susan Buirge。
“When I was on the brink of kicking the bucket, I was still thinking about Jessey [Tsang]’s project,” said Ah-Hock, who further explained that both he and Ix are workaholics. Smiling, he said both serious illnesses came “at the right time.”
“Our bodies told us to take a rest and reorganize our way of thinking. We’d die if we kept pushing ourselves like that. We listen to our bodies now instead, but we’ve become more creative,” he said.
Lying on the bed is without a doubt a direct obstacle for artists who rely on their bodies to create and make a living. When Ix was sick in 2008, Ah-Hock was faced with an enormous amount of medical fees, prompting him to think about giving up on dance and going back to the accounting industry. But after being persuaded by their artist friends, they flew to Japan to meet a friend’s teacher, Susan Buirge.
Susan Buirge出生於1940年代美國，曾是紐約的Alwin Nikolais舞蹈團的舞者。1970年代起在法國推動現代舞，2008年，六十八歲的她決定移居到日本鑽研神道和祭神舞（Kaguras）。此會面和老前輩分享的經歷，燃起了他們對民族舞與祭祀相關舞蹈的興趣。更重要是，打消了他們放棄舞蹈的念頭，還把非常實在的生存問題，換成探索如何在限制中繼續以其他形式創作，後來更轉化為一連串對舞蹈根本的詰問：「Where is Dance？」
Born in 1940 in the U.S.A., Buirge was once a dancer for the New York-based Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater. She started promoting contemporary dance in France in the 1970s. In 2008, the 68-year-old moved to Japan to venture into Shinto and learn Kagura. The duo’s meeting with Buirge ignited their passion for folk dance and ritual-related dances. More importantly, they decided not to give up on dance and turned the practical existential issues into an exploration of how to create in alternative ways within their limits. Later, they raised a fundamental question about dance: “Where is dance?”