放眼舞林 An Eye on Dance
澳洲編舞獎 Keir Choreographic Award in Australia
Angela Conquet（最右）與KCA 2018的國際評委會成員Angela Conquet (first on the right) and International jury of KCA 2018 (左起from left) 陳頌瑛Anna CY Chan, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Christophe Slagmuylder, and Lucy Guerin; 攝Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse
三月時我被邀到澳洲，與另外五位傑出的同業一同擔任本年度Keir Choreographic Award（KCA）的國際評委會成員。這五位同業包括：澳洲著名編舞家Lucy Guerin；美國編舞、作家、舞者及策展人Ishmael Houston-Jones；匈牙利編舞、舞者及表演家Eszter Salamon；布魯塞爾的國際藝術節Kunstenfestivaldesarts藝術總監Christophe Slagmuylder；以布魯塞爾為大本營的著名美國編舞及舞蹈家Meg Stuart。KCA與亞洲其他地區的編舞獎項不同，它側重支持新作品、促進作品巡演，以及鼓勵論述和對話。本期我將分享我與獎項創辦人Phillip Keir，以及獎項籌委Dancehouse藝術總監Angela Conquet的一場對談。
In March I was invited to Australia as a member of the International jury of the 2018 Keir Choreographic Award (KCA) along with five distinguished colleagues: Australian dance icon Lucy Guerin; U.S. choreographer, author, performer, and curator Ishmael Houston-Jones; Hungarian choreographer, dancer, and performer Eszter Salamon; Christophe Slagmuylder, artistic director of the international arts festival Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels; and, acclaimed Brussels-based American choreographer and dancer Meg Stuart. Unlike other competition type awards in Asia, KCA focuses on supporting new works, promoting their circulation and encouraging discourse and dialogue. For this edition of the journal, I would like to share my conversation with KCA founder Phillip Keir and the organizer, Angela Conquet, Artistic Director of Dancehouse.
Anna (Anna CY Chan): Phillip, why did you have this idea to have a competition, when the word 'competition' can be very controversial, why did you want to do this for dance?
Philip (Phillip Keir): First of all, we call it an award rather than a competition. I think what is very important about the award is new works being commissioned and many people get to see it, so that's why we have Melbourne and Sydney performances, and hopefully the wider country gets to see the work. The Award would hopefully help those in a competition to develop their works outside, so as you know this time, there is a strong international jury and we also have an international delegates program in Melbourne, which invites producers to come and see the commissioned works.
Stop-Go; 編舞Choreographer: Branch Nebula; 攝Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse
Anna: Angela, how did Phillip Keir convince you to organize this choreographic Award?
Angela（Angela Conquet） ：我必須承認我對比賽模式是非常抗拒的，因為來自歐洲的我，明白很多不同比賽的模式衍生於歐洲舞蹈生態下的機制內。然而，我留意到墨爾本的舞蹈界，特別是獨立的界別，有一項特徵，就是舞蹈同業之間的互助和友愛。亦因這種同業互助令他們互相參與大家的作品，給予對方建議亦比較客氣和自滿。這情況明顯是由於墨爾本舞蹈界的規模小，當你由一個舞團轉到另一個舞團、參與一個又一個項目，所有人都會透過互相的工作而認識。我猜也許因為業界的這種緊密關係，局限了靈感和想法的深度交流，令他們「安全」地原地踏步。而Dancehouse是一個靈活的組織，我們希望能帶領業界一同冒險、思考及同行，因此我覺得不防嘗試舉辦這個獎項。
Angela (Angela Conquet): I must say I was very reluctant to go into a competition mode because coming from a European context, there's a lot of competitions embedded in the very mechanism of the landscape. However, I did notice that there is one thing characterizing the Melbourne dance landscape, and particularly in the independent sector, a huge collegiality and camaraderie that exist between the dance makers. I also realized that kind of collegiality came with a slight complacency in the way they were giving feedback to each other, how they were all involved in everyone’s work; obviously it’s due to the size of the dance landscape, but when you circulate from one company to another one; one project to another, and then everyone meets at somebody else’s project, then I guess it’s a little to do with how the inspiration and influence circulate, and keep you in the safety zone. So then because Dancehouse likes to think that we are a nimble organization and we want to risk, think, and move with the arts so I thought why not give the idea a go.
The only condition for me was to address two other things that are enormously important: one is the circulation of dance to other Australian states as the industry here has no infrastructure for dance to circulate; and, second is to bring dialogue and discourse around the art form. If the competition as such was about raising the profile of the art form for the media in order to attract more audiences, then it had to come with another layer, which was dialogue and discourse. Discourse for the professional community, and dialogue as a way of framing the works in an accessible way for audiences to engage with. Hence the rich, diverse, and with different access levels for the public program in this third edition, which is I think what we have always wanted it to be.
Keir 編舞獎的頒獎禮Keir Choreographic Award Ceremony; 攝Photo: Yaya Stempler
Anna: In your opinion how do you compare this competition with other competitions that you’ve encountered in Europe or other parts of the world?
Angela：首先，對藝術家來說，這是一個獲得全額資助機會，以及與資助伙伴建立一個有願景的合夥關係。我們為藝術家提供一切創作所需，包括時間、金錢、空間和製作支援，令他們不用籌款或申請其他資助去創作。另外，獎項亦會帶一些被選中的作品到悉尼演出，令作品被更多人觀賞及更廣泛分享。第二，這個編舞獎是針對新創作，因此KCA可算是為澳洲激發新作和新編舞意念最重要的一個獎項。我認為這個獎項很重要，因為它說出了澳洲藝術家在這當下正全神貫注、投入參與的是甚麼。這個獎項也是捕捉澳洲編舞脈搏的最好指標，甚至是唯一指標。比如每兩年一度的Dance Massive其實是經過策展和篩選的藝術節。我想世上無一個比賽可以做到這樣，可能除了由Boris Charmat在巴黎發起的Danse Elargie獎吧，但贏得這個獎的藝術家沒有酬勞，亦只能表演五分鐘。
Angela: First, this is a fully funded opportunity for the artists and a visionary partnership with the funding partners. We offer to the artists everything artists need to make a new work: time, money, space, and production support, so artists don't have to raise more money or apply for another grant to make the work. Also embedded in the process of the Award, some of the works will be selected and go to Sydney to perform, which increases visibility and circulation of the works. Secondly, the choreographic award is about new work, and as such the Keir Award, is probably the most important generator of new works and new choreographic ideas in Australia. I think it’s important because it says something about what are Australian artists in this precise moment in time preoccupied with. And I think it’s the best indicator of taking the pulse of what these choreographic concerns might be, and there's no other opportunity in Australia to see this. For example, the bi-annual Dance Massive is a festival but it is a curated festival, there was a choice that was made there. And I think no other competition in the world does this, except, perhaps, Danse Elargie initiated by Boris Charmatz in Paris, but the artists are not remunerated and they present five minutes of work.
The Wetness; 編舞Choreographer: Bhenji Ra; Photo: Gregory Lorenzutti for Dancehouse
Anna: I also notice that in this competition you don't categorize emerging artists or established artists, what is the rationale behind this? How do the Australian artists take on this idea of competition?
Angela: The Award is never for a particular category of dance makers because for that we have specific initiatives or festivals, which are dedicated to present emerging work here and then. The Award is about new choreographic ideas and we like to encourage multi-generations of artists to apply. So it is not a specific opportunity for a specific sector, even artists who run major companies can apply because it’s a choreographic work, or artists who are from a different art form, but would like to work with the choreographer. It is a sort of an expanded approach to what choreography is today, because choreography is not only about placing bodies in space.
Post Reality Vision; 編舞Choreographer: Nana Bilus Abaffy; 攝Photo: Zan Wimberley
Anna: After running this competition for the third time, do you see any change of landscape or impact on the dance development in Australia?
Angela: I have seen two areas: I have seen artists really looking forward to these opportunities as a way to make new work, and most of them are really thinking beyond the work and how they can grow the work, how can they re-work it and how can they present it further. I think it's great that the artists have a long-term approach to their works, not a single one-off season somewhere. The other important area comes from the public program. We invite other pedagogues and thinkers to come and spend time with the community here, work with them, do lectures, conversations, something that encourages circulation of ideas and generates discourse, and online content that people go back and refer to, and as such, we are building a whole set of tools and resources, and critical discourse, and also podcasts, which are much more for the general public, and I think as such... I would say it’s probably the biggest contribution of the Keir Award.
Anna: Lastly, Phillip how would you see taking this Keir Award to the next level, or do you have any plan or you just let it evolve accordingly?
Philip: It has been evolving in the sense that gradually I think the juries become more international and also what we have developed over time is a pool of discussions about what dance is or what movement performance is about, so initially the first time we did this, it was just the award, and then the next time, we had some small public programs and this time, we have a much larger public program, we have discussions, we have performances with some of the jury members, we have also workshops, so what we want to do is to extract or to tease out what is dance or what is movement and how does performance work. So that the broader public or the broader arts will and get more of the insight into what was happening around the world.
=== 陳頌瑛 Anna CY Chan
Head of Dance, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA)