[中][ENG]有關舞蹈影像的一些觀察 Observations on Dance Videography
除了創作之外，舞蹈影像也有記錄的功能。在疫情期間，海內外都有不少舞團，上載自己的經典作品，在網路上開放予家居隔離的觀眾收看。Maurice分享了他的觀察：｢（在記錄作品方面）歐美國家的表演藝術界比亞洲來得進步，他們願意投資成本製作一個影像紀錄，所以現在（疫情時期）才有作品放出來，譬如廿多年前的《Rosas danst Rosas》已經投放不少資源在拍攝與紀錄，現在看還是十分精彩……大家都在說要開始為舞團保留記錄，當你要保育作品時，是否需要更好的技術，投放更多資源呢？……過去香港曾有不少大型舞蹈作品，例如藝術節委約的作品，但這些珍貴的作品都沒有一個好的記錄，無法重現；但這次疫情讓我們反思，未來如何分配資源在紀錄現場演出工作上呢？」
雖然舞蹈影像（或舞蹈電影）是一種平面媒體，傳播技術也不一定需要即時發生的「現場」，不過Maurice強調，舉辦舞蹈電影節（dance film festival）是有其必要性和得著的，他分享了自己到海外參與舞蹈電影節的經驗，由於疫情關係，原本今年他要出席的一些舞蹈電影節，也變成了網絡形式進行，但他認為舉辦舞蹈電影節，讓各地的創作者親身見面交流，是非常重要的，「並不只是指技術上的交流，而是當你親身見到那個人，你能否和他合作，決定是非常直接的…… 例如香港「跳格」，主辦單位每年都有邀請影片入圍的創作者，前來參與影展，讓參與者可以面對面交談，這就是舞蹈電影節存在的目的。」他又認為，本地的舞蹈影像創作，可以開拓本地各大影展的平台來支持發展，因為單靠申請資助，不足以提供有效支援，他更以「臺灣舞蹈平台」作例子，指出在衛武營藝術祭裡，創立舞蹈影像單元，讓台灣舞蹈影像創作者能夠有發表的平台，並向外地觀眾展示成果。而Wilfred亦認同這種說法，他分享自己到歐洲參展的經驗，發現即使是歐洲地區，舞蹈電影依然定位模糊，在與當地藝術家交流後，他發現「『Dance film』（舞蹈電影）之於，舞蹈人不覺得是『dance』（舞蹈），而電影人又不覺得是『film』（電影）。所以能在影展裡親身見面討論，有其重要意義，能夠互相增進理解和技巧。」
[ENG] Observations on Dance Videography
Interviewees: Maurice Lai, Wilfred Wong
Original Text: Tse Kar Ho
Without warning, the highly contagious coronavirus plunged the world into a global pandemic. To control the outbreak, governments started taking extreme measures to impose social distancing, causing theatres and most performance spaces to be closed, with no reopening date known. This was a huge blow to the performing arts industry worldwide. This bleak period, while we are hoping for the pandemic to end soon, gives us a good chance to clear our minds, to look back and to look ahead, figuring out prospects and possibilities in the ‘post-pandemic world’. The Editorial Team invited Maurice Lai and Wilfred Wong, two directors active in the dance videography scene, to share their experience and observations on dance videography, and to discuss the obstacles and prospects for local dance video production.
When we discuss ‘dance videography’, do we discuss the dance, or the video?
Having filmed several dance films and having trained professionally in film production, Lai thinks that a dance film is no different from any other kind of film. There are many different film genres, such as action films, romantic films, comedies, melancholic art films and so on. Although dance film is one of many film genres which present dance using videography as a medium, this does not mean it will become the sole way to present dance in the future. It is only one of many ways. Wong does not have a background in film production, rather, he went from being a director of theatre performances to creating dance videos. He says that his difficulty in filming dance is to sort out the right storyboards for each dance piece. Since dance movements are planned holistically, if dancers perform in a theatre, their physical movements affect the atmosphere of the whole space. To Wong, dance is a holistic aesthetic consisting of the body, emotions, choreography and more. He therefore puts a lot of emphasis on preserving the holistic qualities of dance pieces when creating dance videos.
Apart from being artworks in themselves, dance videos also function as performance archives. During the pandemic, many local and overseas dance companies uploaded their classic works online and made them available to the public while the audience was under quarantine. Lai observes, “(On archiving performances) The European and American performing arts industries are more advanced than those in Asia. They are willing to invest in video archives, therefore they were able to show their works (during the pandemic). For example, a lot of resources were put into the video archive of Rosas danst Rosas. This over twenty-year-old work still looks brilliant now. … We all say we should start maintaining an archive for our dance companies, but are we willing to put in more resources to have better equipment for a higher quality archive? … In the past, there were many major dance works in Hong Kong, such as those commissioned by the Hong Kong Arts Festival, but these valuable works were archived poorly. They cannot be reshown. This pandemic prompts us to reflect -- how should we allocate resources to archive live performances?”
9, directed by Wilfred Wong, screened in the POOL - International Dance Film Festival Berlin; Photo provided by Wilfred Wong
Everything is ready, all we need is people with passion
In the past, due to the cost and complexity of equipment, creating videos was not popular. But with the advances in technology, equipment keeps becoming lighter and more convenient to use and offers strong functionality at different price points. Even just using a mobile phone, you can film video of good quality. Lai thinks that, “Video creators have no excuse to say they are unable to film because they lack the equipment… Whether you are creating VR videography or if a phone is all you have, your idea and the way you present it with the equipment you have are what’s most important.” Both interviewees teach in schools. They, who are in constant contact with young students, both find that the new generation have obvious differences from those who grew up under the influence of traditional media. Wong finds that they figure out video language and new technology and equipment very quickly, which may be because new media is already so common in their lives.
However, despite the low cost threshold for creating videos, the availability of resources is still an important factor affecting creation. Lai says, “There is no organization where you can apply for funding (for dance videography), even at the Arts Development Council. When we want to apply to make a dance film, we never get any return, because the dance department and the film department each push it to the other, saying it is not within their scope. They have provided emergency support funds that most industry workers can apply for, but in normal times, or after the pandemic, there might not be any similar funds available for application.” He thinks that those who wish to go into this field have to be prepared that there will not be any funding to directly subsidize dance videography and that they will have to combine different sources to support their work.
Opportunities arising from dance film festivals
Although dance videography (or dance film) is a 2D medium which does not need to be presented live, Lai stresses the need to hold dance film festivals. He shared his experience participating in overseas dance film festivals. Due to the pandemic, some of the festivals he was scheduled to attend were transferred online. However, he thinks it is important to hold these festivals live to enable face-to-face encounters between creative artists from different parts of the world. Participation is not only about exchanging knowledge of technique but also meeting people and deciding whether you can work with them. “Like Jumping Frames  in Hong Kong, where the organizer invites creators of shortlisted films to attend the showing every year, enabling them to chat face to face. This is why we need dance film festivals.” He also thinks that dance video creators can explore obtaining support from major local film festival platforms, because it’s not enough to depend solely on government subsidies. He takes Taiwan Dance Platform as an example, and points out that the Weiwuying Arts Festival added a dance film section, providing a platform for dance video creators in Taiwan to release their work and show it to international audiences. Wong agrees, saying that from his experience at European film festivals, the positioning of dance films is still obscure, even in European countries. After speaking with local artists, he found that “when it comes to ‘dance films’, dancers do not see them as ‘dance’, whereas filmmakers do not see them as ‘film’. Face-to-face discussions at film festivals are a meaningful way to become familiar with other artists and to exchange skills and techniques.
Maurice Lai in Cannes Film Festival, 2013；Photo provided by Maurice Lai
Dance video: Facing the world
In recent years, Wong visited a number of places in Europe to take part in dance film festivals. He concludes from his experience, “I had a strong feeling that I did not get from working in theatres in the past. Your (dance video) creation is facing the world, it belongs to the world. You may see that as an advantage, but it is also a pressure at the same time.” He points out that because live performances are restricted to a specific place and space, while videos have limitless ways of transmission, a dance video can reach far greater audience numbers than a live performance. Lai thinks that although it seems that dance videos are a minority domain, this minority creative work might take you very far. The subject of dance videos is not verbal language, but the presentation of physical movements plus ‘film language’, making them comprehensible to everyone, so they can be brought to different places to share with locals. He was once invited to show his works at a film festival in Brazil and. in 2013, competed in the short film section at the Cannes Film Festival in France. He was glad to have participated, because of the way that what he saw and heard during his time there broadened his horizon. He encourages local dance video creators to actively participate in local and overseas film festivals so they can learn from eye-opening experiences of this kind.
At the moment, there are very few dance video or dance film creators in Hong Kong. Both of our interviewees point out that dance videos are seldom filmed by filmmakers, but usually by dancers themselves. Lai finds that dancers need to improve their video skills as their works fail to make use of film language, giving flawed visual logic. However, local institutions training filmmaking talents take a conservative teaching approach, causing film school students to focus on creating only a certain type of movie and lacking a multi-dimensional vision of the film or videography scene.
It seems that the local dance video scene still awaits people with talent and passion to nurture and develop!
 Editor’s note: Maurice Lai graduated from The School of Film and Television, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He creates documentaries, does video design and makes promotional videos for films and stage performances, notably dance; in 2015 he received the Hong Kong Dance Award for his contribution to dance video and photography. He is also the curator of Rite of City Dance Video Project.
 Editor’s note: Wilfred Wong is the Creative Director of HerStory Polygon. He has recently become active in video multimedia creations and has collaborated with different local arts organizations on various video projects.
 Jumping Frames International Dance Video Festival has been organized by City Contemporary Dance Company since 2004. The festival includes (commissioned works,) competitions, workshops, screening and seminars, and touring of their commissioned work all around the world.
(English Translation by Tiffany Wong)
Original Text: Tse Kar Ho
Born in Hong Kong. Graduate of the University of Saint Joseph School of Philosophy. Apart from writing and editing work, he has many years of experience in performing. Now the head of Butoh group Theatre Aether.
焦點 FOCUS (22-3): 幕上之舞 Dance on Screen
While all performing venues remain closed, in the spirit of “keep dancing and carry on”, dance companies and artists all around the world are striving to explore new channels to keep creating new work as well as staying connected with their audiences. Video sharing and social media platforms have become popular stages for dance, and dance on screen is therefore getting the most attention it has ever had.
In fact, presenting dance with moving images is not a novel idea, there were movies on dance right after film had been invented. And in the past two to three decades, video shooting equipment has become more popular and easier to manage, resulting in a diversity of content, form and style in the dance film/video and screen dance genre.
In this issue, we have invited two local dance video directors, Maurice Lai and Wilfred Wong, to share their experiences in creating dance video works as well as their insights on this particular art form; while Chan Kwun Fee, the artistic director of Littlebreath Creative Workshop, will share her observations on online dance programme curation from an audience perspective.
In our previous issue we learned how City Contemporary Dance Company have found ways to keep dancing through hard times and in this issue we have an interview with Heidi Lee, the newly appointed executive director of Hong Kong Ballet. She will tell us her ideas about promoting ballet through social media, and how she sees innovative ways of putting dance on screen as a great opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.