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[中][Eng]較佳的技巧課方法 Better Approaches in Technique Class

(原文刊於2005年《舞蹈手札》第七冊第五及第六期 Originally published on dance journal/hk 7-5 and 7-6 in 2005)

多年來教授大專學生及專業舞者的經驗常叫筆者感到沮喪:很多學生似乎認為他們的訓練應全專注於身體的機械性鍛鍊上 ——一些有如解剖學般仔細的舞蹈細節,例如如何做到完美的芭蕾舞步Arabesque ,或於一次跳躍中多次拍腿,或如何於某一動作中盡量把腿提高。他們看不到整件事的全面:他們似乎不知到舞蹈同時也是有關人類的達意和聯繫——如何掌握空間、使觀眾投入、觸動人心。舞蹈是有關不同概念的連結,並懂得如何將之傳達。

I have been teaching contemporary dance to college students and professional dancers for years, and I'm frustrated. Many dance students seem to think that the focus of their training should be all about mechanics - all about the anatomical details of dance, such as how they do the perfect arabesque or multiple beats in a jump or how they get their legs as high as possible in specific positions. They don't look at the big picture: they don't seem to realize that dance is also about human expression and connection - about commanding a space, engaging an audience, moving someone. Dance is about making connections between ideas and knowing how to communicate them.

學生的看法令我想到近年的瑜伽熱:你見到的是廣告板和雜誌封面上那把身體極端伸展和處於極端形態、把身體扭曲成「脆麻花」似的照片。每個人都想做這些把戲,想把他們的腿拉到耳旁,以為模仿這些極端形態便可使他們明白和完全掌握到瑜伽。但瑜伽是包含更多層次的——它是一門源遠流長、融合肉體和精神健康的哲學。它並不是要把身體變成一部機器 (其實,大部份人的身體並不能做到那些形態)。你並不須要完美機器般的身軀來成為瑜伽大師。舞者要成為偉大的舞蹈家,也不須要成為完美的機器。

The students' perspective reminds me of the current yoga fad: you see photos on billboards and magazine covers showing bodies in extreme stretches and in extreme positions, twisting themselves into pretzels. Everyone's doing all these tricks, trying to get their legs to touch their ears, as though if they mimic these extreme physical positions, they've understood and mastered yoga. But yoga has many more layers - it's an ancient philosophy about integrating physical and mental health. It's not about turning your body into a machine (most people's bodies don't have the ability to get into those positions, anyway). You don't need your body to be the perfect machine to be a great yogi. And dancers don't need to be perfect machines to be great performers.

在舞者可以令觀眾投入的所有方法中,機械性因素是重要,但只是其中的一部份。不錯,人們要看重複轉身和高躍,但同樣的觀眾——大眾——也想心靈被觸動。他們想看藝術,他們想要某些改變,他們想得到挑戰。單憑機械因素並不能做到這些。事實上,舞者往往用機械因素來隱藏自己——他們不須要勇氣來表達內心感受、及可能揭露自己脆弱之處。作為一個好的演出者,須要一種比注重機械細節更深的投入,要清楚明白到所受傳達的是什麼。那是完全不同的表達形式,並不如機械因素般可以觸摸,因而也更難介定——但對個人來說卻更重要。

When you think of all the ways that a dancer can engage an audience, the mechanics are important, but they're only part of it. People go to see the multiple turns and high jumps, but the same audience, the public, also wants to be moved. They want to see art, they want to be changed in some way, they want to be challenged, and mechanics can't do that alone. In fact, mechanics are something that dancers often hide behind - they don't have to be brave about being expressive people, and maybe revealing their vulnerability. Being a good performer requires a deeper kind of involvement than attention to mechanical details, it requires an awareness of what you're trying to communicate. It's a whole other part of human expression that's not as tangible as the mechanics, so it's harder to define - but to me it's even more important.

但是,當很多學生上技巧課時,他們心中只想著機械因素——他們能看到和觸摸到的身體部份,和可以形像化的肌肉和骨骼知識。這種看法有兩個問題:有些學生於畢業後,還對他們要投入的舞蹈事業的真實面貌所知有限:他們有很強的機械因素——他們能做到重複轉身和高腿位置——但從觀賞的角度來看卻是欠缺趣味。

But when many students enter a technique class, their minds are only on the mechanics —the parts of the body they can see and touch, the nuts and bolts, the anatomy of muscles and bones one can visualize. This perspective causes two problems: First, some students graduate from college and begin a career in dance with only a limited sense of what dancing is really about: they have strong mechanics — they can do the multiple turns and high leg positions — but they aren't interesting to watch.

另一類學生則早已看到他們的機械因素不好——他們所能做到的轉身的數量不夠,腳掌不夠強,又或者學習複雜的舞步組合不夠快——便決定他們做不了專業舞者。他們放棄、退出。我見這些學生時,常問他們對未來的打算。他們差不多全都承認想做專業舞者,但認為自己的能力不及,所以會嘗試教學、編舞或舞蹈行政等工作。往往,這些缺乏超級機械能力的學生,很多是出色的舞者。於舞台上他們常常比機械體能優越的舞者更能令觀眾投入 。

Another group of students decide that they aren't good at the mechanics — they can't do enough turns and the arches of their feet aren't high enough or they can't pick up the combinations fast enough — so they decide they're not going to make it as performers in the dance world. They give up. They drop out. Often when I meet with these students, I ask them. "What do you see yourself doing in the future? "Almost 100 percent of them admit, "I'd love to be a performer, but I don't think I'm good enough — so I think I'll try teaching or doing choreography or something in dance administration." Many times. a lot of these students who don't have super mechanical facilities are incredible performers. They're often more engaging on stage than someone who's mechanically proficient.

在我所教的學生中, 大部份沈迷於機械體能的原因是他們想要簡單的「正確答案」: 他們想要的,就只是老師給他們成為偉大舞者的最直接而又可掌握的資料,沒有其它。他們想要的,是一些詳細步驟,讓他們逐步砌合起來,達到他們那清楚介定的目標,就像組合一張「宜家」傢俬的桌子般。只要你懂得一、二、三,你便會成為傑出的舞者。

The majority of students who've been in my classes have been obsessed with mechanics because they want the right answer: they want teachers to give them the tangible information they need to be great dancers. Period. They want precise procedures that they can piece together to achieve their definable goals - like instructions to assembling a desk from IKEA. If you do ABC, you will be a great dancer.

這是一種普遍存在的心態,他們就以這種心態來面對所有學科,問題的所在,是傳統的教育系統,和建立這些系統的因素:多項選擇試題、是非題, 只有選取正確的答案才會有好分數。這系統不會教人思考和把意念關連起來,只教人記誦。所以,這並非全是學生的錯,而是一個根深蒂固的問題。

This is the mentality, a pervasive mentality, which they apply to all their subjects in their education. Part of the fault has been traditional systems of education and how these systems were set up: multiple-choice tests, true or false tests, you pick the right answer and you get the right grade. The system doesn't teach people to think and relate ideas, it teaches them to memorize. So it's not totally the students' fault – it's been ingrained.

一個好的例子是歷史科的教學法。我所上的歷史課,都是有關在漫長的歷史時期中,名字和日期的記誦。善於記誦的學生固然可以在多項選擇題和是非題中獲得高分數,但他們很多都不能看到歷史的整體——不懂得如何談論某一時期中的背景脈絡,藝術、政治、社會和文化間的關係。

A good example is the way history has been taught. The history courses I've taken were about remembering names and dates over huge spans of time. The students who were good at memorizing would do well on the multiple choice and true-or-false tests and get good grades. But many of them didn't grasp the bigger picture – they couldn't talk about the context, the connections between the art, the politics, the sociology and the culture of that time.

單只記誦名字和日子,就如理解歷史的機械因素。對比於舞蹈室內的情況,那就是要藉著記誦一連串互不關連的姿勢,來跨越空間——對舞蹈的一種機械性理解。

Merely memorizing the names and dates is like understanding the mechanics of history. The parallel to this in the dance studio is a student who moves across the room in a series of well-memorized positions with no relationship between the positions – a mechanical understanding of dance.

在上一學期的教學中,我遇到一個好例子。在教授一段設計來練習圓轉和延續的動作段落中,其中一個機械技術最熟練的學生就是不能完整地完成一圈。在段落中的轉身部份,她的身軀應作螺旋移動,但她卻會突然中斷了連綿的動作而展出腿來。她問是否應把腿放在第二位置。就像她在這一段兩分鐘的動作段落中,不斷把錄像暫停下來專注於其中一格影像。然而,整個練習的目的卻不在任何一個姿勢上,而是在連續動作的質素。就算在我示範了整個動作後,我仍見她當試把動作拆解成個別的技術性和機械性姿勢。我所嘗試教的技巧——輕易而沒有過渡痕跡地舞出一串動作——是舞者的最重要成就之一。另一個學生則剛巧相反。她平時很靜,不會問很多有關機械性的問題,什至差不多永不看鏡中的自己,但卻能明白到舞動連續感這個較高層次的概念,而立即做到了這個練習,動作看來毫不費力而沒有突顯任何一個姿勢,把螺旋移動漂亮地完成和傳達。我記不起她的動作中有否出現第二位置,也看不到將動作抽離和分辨的需要。根據個人的教學經驗, 在三十個學生中只有一、二人可以如此吸收動作質素。

Here's an example: Just this past semester, I was in the middle of teaching a movement phrase that was designed to practice the feeling of circularity and continuity. One of the most mechanically proficient students in the class was having trouble completing a full circle. During the turning part of the phrase, where her torso should have been moving through a spiral, she would suddenly break the continuity to display her extended leg, and she would ask, "Should my leg be placed in second position here?" It was as if she kept pausing a video to focus on one frame in a two-minute movement sequence, when the goal of my exercise was not any one position but a quality of continuous motion. Even when I demonstrated the exercise, I could see her trying to break it down into separate technical and mechanical positions. The technique I was trying to teach — moving through a sequence with a lush ease as if there are no transitions — is one of the most important achievements for a dancer. Another student, who's usually quiet and doesn't ask a lot of mechanical questions and almost never even looks at herself in the mirror, immediately picked up the exercise through understanding the bigger idea of moving with a sense of connectivity. There was a quality of effortlessness and not one position spoke louder than another. The motion of the spiral was executed and communicated beautifully. I didn't recall whether she moved through second position - and don't see why it would be relevant to extract and identify. I have never had more than two students out of thirty who can absorb movement qualities this way.

學生過度關心機械性技術的另一個跡象,可從他們在課堂中所提的問題中看到。每個動作意念或動作段落都有很多不同的質素——能量、空間方向、所傳達的意義、與重力的關係、音樂感或時間性等等,但他們所問的卻總是機械性的: 「右腿應轉出還是轉入? 」「這是甚麼芭蕾舞步? 」「轉多少轉? 」。我甚少聽到「這段的感覺應是如何? 」「這動作如何關連到下一個? 」「處理這個意念時, 有什麼適合的影像可作參考? 」或類似的問題。

Another sign that students are too concerned with the mechanics is the kind of questions that are asked in class. While every movement idea or sequence has a qualitative energy, a spatial direction, an expression, a relationship to gravity, a sense of musicality or timing etc., the questions are always mechanical. "Is the right leg turned out or in? Is that in coupé or posé? Is this a piqué or relevé? How many turns?" Etc. I almost never get questions like "What is the feeling of this phrase?" "How does this movement relate to the following movement?" "What is a good image I can work with for this idea?"

一些著眼於質素上的關係及更重大意念的提問,所包含的內容是遠超(但不排除)機械性技術的。要成就這樣的舞蹈須要時間和專注力。要做到只是在台中一站便吸引著觀眾,舞者要擁有高超技巧,但這種能力與機械技術的關係不大。對個人來說,能令人看得投入的演出者,會帶著一種存在和有目的感覺進入演出空間, 他們能帶引觀眾進入一種自有生命的體驗,他們的動作互相緊扣,延綿無縫,他們與音樂配合無間,就像他們便是音樂般。當一個舞者如此舞動,沒有人會記得她的雙臂是否放在第五位置,或是她的腿在那個水平,或是她的雙腳究竟是放鬆還是尖直。誰會在意!

The kind of questions that are focused on qualitative relationships and bigger ideas encompass much more than (but don't exclude) mechanics. It takes time and focus to achieve this kind of dancing. A performer that can just stand in the space and be riveting is a dancer with great technique - and this ability has little to do with mechanics. I am engaged by performers who enter the space with a sense of presence and purpose, who draw us into an experience that has a life of its own, whose movements are interrelated in a seamless continuum and who relate to the music as if they are the music. When a dancer moves like this, no one will recall whether her arms were in fifth or her leg in attitude or foot flexed or pointed - who cares!

可是,如何能達到這樣?如何能上技巧課而不只專注於機械因素?有誰能同時想著眾多不同的目的? 這看來叫人洩氣。

OK- so how do we do this? How do we take a technique class and not only focus on the mechanical parts? How can anyone think about fifteen different objectives all at once? I admit it sounds daunting.

最重要的是要保持著開放的心懷。學習成為一個演出者是一個過程。對於一代又一代沉迷於正確答案的學生來說,這是一個巨大的挑戰。當三位老師給學生的同一條問題回答了三個不同的答案,那並不是要學生迷惑於哪個才是正確答案。每個老師都是有不同經驗的獨特個體,而不同的策略又適合不同的身體和思想。所以,學生的工作是要汲收所有的資料,並從中找尋適合自己的東西。

The most important idea to remember is to stay open. Learning to be a performer is a process. For generations of students who are obsessed with the 'right answer', this is a big challenge. When three different teachers give you three different answers to the same question it's not to confuse you about which one is the right answer. Your teachers are all different people with different experiences. Different strategies work for different bodies and minds. Your job is to take in all the information and find what works for you.

在把專注力由機械技術擴展到更全面的因素時,要嘗試以協同效益的概念來處理。協同效益是一個不同部份共同運作所起的成效較各自運作的總和高的現象。在舞蹈中,這效益往往可以以一些內心影像來啟動。影像可以有效地把整個身軀全面地結合於獨特的身體表情。雖然現在已有很多動作系統是以影像來啟發更具創意、合作性和效率的動作,這些理論常被視作為一些支援的課題或另類手法而獨立開來,通常不會進入技巧課的門檻。

In terms of changing your focus from only the mechanics to the bigger picture, try working with the idea of synergy. Synergy is the phenomenon of multiple parts working together to produce a greater effect than what is possible by the individual parts. This quality can often be triggered by mental images. Images can effectively incorporate the whole body in full and specific expression. While there are many movement systems out there that use images as inspiration to move in a more creative, incorporative and efficient way, these philosophies are usually isolated as support subjects or alternative approaches to movement and don't typically make it into technique class.

舉例說,當你發現自已麻木地望著鏡子,做著腿部伸展練習——用肌肉的力量盡量提高腿部,從而把盤骨傾斜推高——你便須要改變自已心中的焦點。試試想像自已整個身體的能量有如香檳酒的泡沫般慢慢的上升和打開,隨而張開髖部,並把腿浮起,穿越天花板。這個方法做來固然更有趣;對於觀看的人來說是否更有趣,則是不言而喻了。

For example, if you find yourself staring blankly in the mirror during a developé -tilting and tucking your pelvis as you tensely muscle your leg as high as possible - you need to change your mental focus. Try considering the energy of your entire body slowly rising and opening like bubbles in a glass of champagne as your hip opens and your leg floats up through the ceiling. The latter approach is much more fun to do, and you can imagine which one is more fun to watch.

簡單的動作是最大的挑戰。當用腳尖在地板上向前伸展,做出Tendu 這個動作時,那並不只是腿部動作的練習,而更練習了「伸延」這個動作。當你伸手向書架頂層的一本書時,你不單只要運用手臂,而且也要用上背、眼、髖、腳踝——整個身軀。

The simple movements are the most challenging. When reaching the toes forward on the floor in a tendu, it's not only to practice the movement of that leg, but also to practice the act of reaching. When you reach for a book on the top shelf of a bookcase you don't just use your arm, you use your back, your eyes, pelvis, ankle - your whole body.

最重要的是,協同效益的運作並不排除機械性技巧,只是將其結合於一表達性的動作段落,而非以個別動作來處理。每個轉動、平衡和腳尖動作都融合於一個更大的動作概念。唯一不同的是,舞者要從更大的概念出發,而非腳尖。

This is the best part; working with synergy doesn't mean that the mechanics are forgotten. The mechanics become incorporated into an expressive sequence and are not addressed as isolated moments. Each rotation, balance, pointed foot is integrated into a larger movement concept. The only difference is you start from the larger concept instead of the pointed foot.

最後,舞蹈學生要常常緊記,舞蹈室中的練習和工作是一種藝術的嘗試。要超越舞蹈員而成藝術家,就要進入更深的層次。像很多寫作有關藝術體驗的哲學家一般,John Dewey 指出「如果他的理解在本質上不含美學,那會是一種無色而冰冷的認識,用以作為一個機制,以實質上是機械性的程序來啟動下一步。」1要以美學來處理在舞蹈室中的練習和工作,我們就要加強在認知結構(形態)元素時的敏感度——傑出的藝術擁有傑出的形態。形態創造出結構,予藝術家來創作完整的意念,就如一些舞蹈,在整齣作品中都貫穿了一些可以見到或感覺到的特質——有一種起承轉合的感覺。「⋯⋯因為不斷的融合,我們在體驗時沒有空隙、剪接和盲點。有的是停頓和歇息的空間,起著標點般的作用,介定了動作的素質。」2

Lastly, students of dance need to keep in mind that our work in the studio is an artistic endeavor. To cross the line between a dancer and an artist means going deeper. Like many philosophers who write about the experience of art, John Dewey writes "... if his perception is not also aesthetic in nature, it is a colorless and cold recognition of what has been done, used as a stimulus to the next step in a process that is essentially mechanical."1 To approach our work in the studio aesthetically means heightening our sensitivity to perceive the elements of composition — the form — and great art has great form. It is form that creates the structures that allow artists to create complete ideas, like dances that embody a quality that can be seen or felt throughout the entire work - a sense of beginning, middle and end. "...because of continuous merging, there are no holes, mechanical junctions, and dead centers when we have an experience. There are pauses, places of rest, but they punctuate and define the quality of movement." 2

因此,習舞的學生們:下次上技巧課時, 嘗試以具協作效益的焦點來處理。嘗試忘記自己正被評分。暫時不要被日常生活的細節防礙了身體內的能力。提醒自己並不只是任由編舞家操弄的機械工具。 作為人類,要成為盛載身體情感的器皿,我們就要讓機械因素達到更大的目的 。就如Dewey 所說:「藝術家的手和眼並不會單獨操作——藉著這些工具, 整個能走能動的生物得以運作。所以,身體情感是情緒化的,並由目的所指引。」3

So, students of dance: The next time you go to technique class, try working with a synergistic focus. Try to forget that you are being graded. Don't let the details of your daily life hinder your ability to be in your body — in the moment. Remind yourself that we are not just mechanical instruments for choreographers to manipulate. In order to be a vessel for expression as human beings we have to allow the mechanics to serve a greater purpose. As Dewey put it; "Hand and eye to an artist do not work alone - they are but instruments through which the entire live creature, moved and active throughout, operates. Hence the expression is emotional and guided by purpose." 3

記著,我們作為人類,基本上就擁有舞蹈的基礎。作為具有表達能力的個體,我們擁有創作和傳遞不可置信的經驗的能力,不單只依靠我們的身軀,也藉著我們的想像和連繫意念的能力。對一些因未能做到四個踢腳轉身而認為自己不會成為舞者的學生來說,要記著有很多藝術家是能單靠站在台上便能攝著全場觀眾的,要朝著這個方向努力。或著,最重要的是,要時常看到事情的全面。就如Monroe Beardley所說:「如果部份終局的滿足感能夠帶到過程中,而每一階段的過程又能讓我們感到帶有終局的重要性,那麼我們便會在生命中擁有更多美學體驗的素質。暫時來說,這些體驗在我們面前提供了一些線索,讓我們見到生命在最豐盛和喜樂時的面貌。」4

Remember that our presence as human beings is fundamentally what dance is based on. As expressive beings we carry the power to create and communicate incredible experiences - not just with our bodies - but with our ability to use our imagination and create connections between ideas. And for those of you who think you will never make it because you can't pull off four pirouettes, remember that there are artists who can engage an entire theater full of people by just standing in the space- so work on that. And maybe most importantly, keep the big picture present at all times. As Monroe Beardley writes; "If some of the satisfyingness of the end could be brought into the means, and the means at every stage felt as carrying the significance of the end, we should have in life something more of the quality of aesthetic experience itself. Meanwhile, such experience holds before us a clue to what life can be like in its greatest richness and joy.” 4

註Notes:

  1. John Dewey (1995). "Having an Experience" in The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, edited by Alex Nell and Aaron Ridley, New York: McGraw-Hill, pg. 69

  2. ibid p. 61

  3. ibid pg. 70

  4. Monroe C. Beardsley (1995). "The Arts in the Life of Man" in The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, edited by Alex Nell and Aaron Ridley. New York: McGraw-Hill, pg. 538

編輯手記 Editor's Note

羅傑索(Rob Kitsos)的這文章雖然以「技巧課」為題,但討論的是超越肢體活動的舞蹈表演層次,值得專業者細閱思考,也可以幫助一般觀眾認識和欣賞舞蹈這門藝術。曾任香港演藝學院現代舞系高級講師的羅傑索,現為西門菲莎大學(Simon Fraser University)當代藝術學院(School for the Contemporary Arts)的教授暨副總監。他於文中指出由於傳統教學制度注重記誦及以目標為本,眾多習舞的學生(甚至舞者)都只追求機械性的技巧而輕視舞蹈作為藝術的表演性及傳意,更提出練習建議。

最近幾個月疫情期間,網上流傳著「無法外出,就往內觀」(If you can’t go outside, go inside)。這篇文章也許能為不同層面的讀者帶來一點啟示,並借全球停擺的時機,檢視及探索身體的運用和各種變化,改變固有模式,讓身心好好相處。

Rob Kitsos is a former senior lecturer in the Department of Modern Dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Kitsos is now a professor and associate director of the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Although the words “technique class” appear in the title, the central idea of the article is that performance level of dance goes beyond technique or mere physical movement. Kitsos provides ideas for professionals to reflect upon which can also help the general audience to understand and appreciate the art of dance. In the article, he points out that because of the memorization-focused and goal-oriented traditional teaching system, many dance students (and even dancers) only pursue the mechanics of movement and ignore the performance and expression aspects of dance as an art form. Some exercise suggestions are also put forward.

During the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the idea “If you can’t go outside, go inside” has been much advocated on the internet. We hope that this article may bring some inspiration to readers from all dance and non-dance backgrounds, and help them to take the opportunity provided by the global shutdown to examine and explore the use of their bodies and the variations in them, to change long-held habits and methods of moving, and to better connect their bodies with their minds.

客席編輯Guest Editor: 劉秀群Cathy Lau Sau Kwan

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