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[中][ENG] 專訪香港芭蕾舞團藝術總監衛承天 Interviewing Septime Webre, Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet


衛承天 Septime Webre; 香港芭蕾舞團藝術總監 Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet;

攝 Photo: Calvin Sit

在香港芭蕾舞團(港芭)的《吉賽爾》首映當晚,我的友人匆匆看完演出後表示雖然這是她第一次觀看港芭的舞台演出,卻感到與這舞團相識已久──事實上,她已有了好幾位喜愛的舞者。在參與了港芭過去一季的快閃活動、公開綵排及教育論壇後,這股熟悉的感覺油然而生,而這些活動在衛承天的帶領下規模不斷增加擴大。

On opening night of Hong Kong Ballet’s Giselle, my friend rifled through the program and commented that, although this was her first main-stage performance, she felt that she already knew the company – in fact, she already had some favorite dancers. That sense of familiarity had developed over a season of attending the company’s pop-up events, open rehearsals, and educational forums, which have snowballed under the leadership of Septime Webre.


在該星期初,我和履職藝術總監一年多的衛承天見面。恰巧《華盛頓郵報》剛刊登了一篇文章,詳談了他來港前領導了十七年,並為之創作了許多精彩劇目的華盛頓芭蕾舞團。

Earlier that week, I caught up with Webre, who is a little over a year into his tenure as Artistic Director. Interestingly, the Washington Post had just published an article about Washington Ballet, which Webre helmed for seventeen years before coming to Hong Kong, and for which he created a number of vivid story ballets.


為令行文更清晰並配合篇幅,下文為我們經過編輯的對談摘錄。

Following are excerpts from our conversation, edited for clarity and length.



Carla:《華盛頓郵報》的文章形容你為一個以「建立普及文化、追求當下風格」來吸引芭蕾舞新血的「娛樂家」,與向芭蕾舞狂熱份子大獻殷勤、模仿全球頂尖舞團劇目的繼任人大相逕庭。你對此刻畫有何看法?

Carla: The Washington Post article describes you as a “showman” who “established a populist, of-the-moment style” that attracted newcomers to ballet, in contrast to your successor who is courting ballet aficionados and building a repertory to mirror that of the top companies in the world. What do you think of this characterization?


衛承天:我的確認為我是一個追求普及文化的人,但卻不會簡化迎合。我相信我對偉大的芭蕾舞劇的定義比起一些總監的更廣闊。

Webre: I do think I’m a populist but not one who dumbs things down. I believe that the definition of great ballet is broader than some directors might think.


芭蕾舞是一套流動的語言,可以用來表達很多事情。我相信芭蕾傳統──我們現正演出《吉賽爾》,而自我上任起我們已上演了《唐吉訶德》及《海盜》,下季則計劃演出《天鵝湖》──故我對這些演出劇目很有信心。我亦認為觀眾需要在這些劇目當中觀照自己。他們需要與之連結,並感受劇目與他們的生活息息相關。故此,更重要的是那些劇目在天鵝和巴伐利亞農家女孩以外需要有其他的反照。我們用芭蕾舞的語言來反映那些與當代全球公民生活更有關連的事物。而這種語言與英文、中文和他加祿語同樣流動。一樣的語言曾被莎士比亞、埃米莉.狄更生、《瘋狂雜誌》及一首當代的饒舌樂曲使用。我們能流利地說這套語言,並應用於無數情景至關重要。

Ballet is a fluid language that can be used to express a lot of different things. And I believe in ballet’s traditions – we’re presenting Giselle right now, and since I’ve been here we’ve presented Don Quixote and Le Corsaire, and next season we’re planning a Swan Lake – so I believe in this repertoire. But I also believe that audiences need to see themselves in the repertoire. They need to connect to it and they need to feel that it’s pertinent to their lives. And so, it’s important that the repertoire also reflects other things in addition to swans and peasant girls in Bavaria… that we use the language of ballet to reflect things that are a bit more connected to the lives of contemporary citizens of the world. And the language is as fluid as English or Chinese or Tagalog. The same language was used by Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson and Mad Magazine and a contemporary rap song. It’s important that we speak it fluently and in lots of different ways.


更具體地說,我認為芭蕾舞應迎向所有人。而我在香港和在華盛頓芭蕾舞團時的哲學如出一轍,就是我們應上演形形色色的芭蕾舞劇,包括足本的十九世紀作品,巴蘭奇和羅賓斯的舞蹈,以及委約現代創作,但舞團應要反映出其身處城市的活力。

Even more specifically, I think ballet’s got to be open to everyone. And my philosophy in Hong Kong and at Washington Ballet was that we need to do all kinds of different ballets and that meant doing full length 19th century work, doing [George]Balanchine and [Jerome] Robbins, and it also means commissioning works of today. But the energy of the company needs to feel like it’s reflective of the energy of the city in which it lives.



你怎樣實踐這哲學?

In what ways are you doing this?


我們每月都舉行大型戶外演出的快閃活動。你有參觀過大館(前中區警署和域多利監獄建築群,為香港其中最重要的歷史古蹟)嗎?那實在太令人難以置信了。我們將在週末(11月17-18日)上演一場有活力並遊走整個建築群的環境演出。屆時公眾可免費入場──此為我們「芭蕾四圍舞」計劃的一部分。

We’re doing pop-ups monthly – large-scale outdoor performances. Have you visited Tai Kwun [the restored Central Police Station and Victoria Prison compound, one of Hong Kong’s most important remaining historic buildings]? It’s outrageous. We’re doing a site-specific installation on a Saturday and Sunday [Nov. 17-18] that activates the whole place. It’ll be free to the public – [part of what we’ve called] Ballet in the City.


我們亦在新界舉辦快閃活動。我們將有一個週日活動在中環舉行,活動會以廣東話、英語和他加錄語旁述,因為有很多菲律賓女傭在該處渡過星期日。她們是香港少被關注的一群,但若沒有她們,這座城市便會停止運行。我們希望能與這城市緊扣,成為不可或缺的一部分。

We’re also doing pop-up performances in the New Territories. We’re doing one in Central on a Sunday that will be narrated in Cantonese, English and Tagalog because that’s an area where so many Filipina domestic workers spend their Sundays. They’re an underserved population in the city, yet the city would stop without its domestic workers. We want to be pertinent and important to every aspect of the city.


我們正編排在不同屋苑的快閃演出,亦將在港鐵站推行一個名為「週五芭蕾邂逅」的計劃──因為我們在幕後創作的過程是不被外界看見的,便欲一改作風。每逢週五,我們會到不同港鐵站,在鋼琴伴奏下進行四十五分鐘扶把練習,作為一種藝術裝置。

We’re scheduling pop-up performances in various housing estates. We’re launching a project called Friday Night Barre in the MTR – because our process is so hidden from the world, we’re doing something to change that. We’ll install ourselves in different MTR stations on Fridays and literally do a forty-five minute barre with a live piano,