[中][ENG]楊雲濤：不忘赤子之心 The Child in You, Yang Yuntao
訪問Interview : 尉瑋 Wei Wei 拍攝及剪接Video shooting and editing: 余健衡 Ifan Yu
太極指導 Tai Chi Instructor: 夏雪 Xia Xue (香港太極青年團副主席 Vice-Chairlady of Hong Kong Taichi Youth Association) 鳴謝香港舞蹈團提供相片 Special thanks to Hong Kong Dance Company providing photos
Yang Yuntao, the Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC), stresses the importance of facing our inner child during the creative process. While he was a student, there were times Yang was uncertain about dance and questioned his ability. But, he always recovered from those bouts of self-doubt and carried on afterward with a broadened horizon and newly formed ideas. After all, art is a ceaseless exploration of the outer world and inner self. Yang regards himself as a man of action. From finding his niche in the past to searching for a new direction for development of the Company today, Yang has always sought perspective. Once he discovers it, he starts work without further ado.
Yang is from the Bai ethnic minority group and was born in Dali, Yunnan. When he was 11, he was admitted to the Dance School of Minzu University of China, and soon after graduation joined the Guangdong Modern Dance Company. Though he won Gold Awards in National Lotus Awards Competition and National Dance Competition for Ethnic Minorities, he didn’t try to get into a folk dance company because “There were plenty of people who could dance way better than I did and I just could not compete with them,” Yang laughs. This is a rather candid answer, yet he continues and gently says, “The experience of each person is unique. We need to have a clear picture of ourselves.”
Instead of so-called artistic elegance, Yang’s charm lies in his steadiness and pragmatic approach to life. In early productions, such as Border Town, The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, and his performance in City Contemporary Dance Company’s Warrior Lanling, you can feel his grasp of neat structure and rhythms in his choreography, and, in his performance, a raw power that constantly built, to an extent that sometimes it was a bit too vigorous. On the other hand, Yang has grown more at ease and the mood of his work has become more relaxed, notably in his performance in Blanc from Reveries of the Red Chamber last year.
楊雲濤於他編舞的《紅樓．夢三闕》之<白>中演出 Yang in Blanc in Reveries of the Red Chamber; 攝Photo: Stephen Yau
“A dance career is quite contradictory. It’s medium is the body, but there is a gap between body and mind. Your mind lags behind when your body is at its peak. However, as you start to fall in love with your vocation and understand art and dance, your body begins to go downhill. Dance is a career for the young, which is exceptionally cruel.”
In his youth, when he was at his peak, Yang was confused about dance, in particular folk dance, which he had been learning since he was small. “Graduating at the age of sixteen or seventeen, I was inept in many areas. How can one finish school at such a young age?” He feels as if he did not start to become educated until he grew a couple of years older and began to learn modern dance. “Since modern dance engages the mind, it is very different from classical aesthetic expressiveness. Classical aesthetics require uniformity and standardization, such as in ballet. No matter how passionate you are about ballet, not everyone can dance it well because of the demands on one’s physical facility. Modern dance is in complete contrast, as it advocates free entry as far as one wants to enter its world. Reality has also proven that many dance genres do not require professional ballet training to get on the international stage. Modern Dance has inspired me with this notion.”
Yang did not abandon his previous dancing experience and turn to the world of modern dance; instead his broadened perspective has enabled him to become confident in folk dance. “I did not know its merits when I learnt folk dance; what was more, I thought I was clumsy at dancing it. This feeling may be related to our institution and education. Perhaps from the eyes of the teacher, I thought I was a poor student, and this inhibited me.” Yang says, “After learning modern dance, I figured out that I too am a good dancer. Why did I think of myself that way? Why did I let other people gauge my ability? I was a bit reserved, even felt inferior, but now I am free.”
According to Yang, the HKDC might have chosen him because of certain qualities brought on by this confidence. In 2002, he officially became principle dancer of the Company, intertwining his fate with Hong Kong over the following sixteen years with dance being his vocation.
楊雲濤（左）Yang (left); 圖片由香港舞蹈團提供Photo provided by HKDC