Voice Out｜以舞蹈藝術來訴說的權力遊戲 A POWERPLAY TOLD THROUGH DANCE
這個月的 Voice Out 主題，立即讓我想起本地編舞家Victor Fung（馮樂恒）。曾與Victor合作為其作品《Fighter》設計舞蹈服飾，我能感受到他是一個執着、意志堅定的人，也一直以「權力角力（power play）」貫徹其編舞作品。我們以時裝來表達自己的想法與立場，同樣地不同藝術創作如舞蹈、視覺藝術、音樂、文學等都是Voice Out的方法，也是最原始的方法。
在我看來，一場抗爭運動中總有不同的表達方法，可以是勇武，可以是和理非，各自堅守訴求。在服裝設計上，大家均有共識以不太政治化的形式來進行，所以運用了一些遊行人士常用的道具、象徵符號轉化成服飾細節。這場舞蹈中共有13名舞者，跳出不同聲音匯聚而成的力量。於是，我為13名舞者各自設計了一套服裝，但在服裝背面同樣加上了交叉符號貫穿整個系列 — 有些顯而易見、有些隱藏於服飾輪廓之中，代表着以不同路線表達不滿的示威者們。
當整個設計系列完成及呈現眼前時，Victor大讚超乎預期，當舞者穿着服裝舞動時，整個氛圍更具感染力。Voice Out 的方式有很多，不論遊行、舞蹈還是服飾衣着都是是一種為自己發聲、表明立場的方法。而沒有性格、沒有立場的人，或者有想法卻死也不肯說出口的人，最讓人嗤之以鼻。DARE TO VOICE OUT — 縱然你的聲音未必是主流、未必受到認同，但至少能夠忠於自己、Be Yourself。
最近，Victor正籌備的一部長篇舞蹈作品 — 《從頭（再）開始》”From The Top (Final Edit) “，其中就道出了編舞家與舞者之間的權力鬥爭。編舞家在排練時總會讓舞者一遍又一遍地「From the top（從頭開始）」，而舞者們縱然再累、再不想跳，還是得咬着牙再重新排練一次。作品本身的香港版本《從頭開始》只有兩位舞者參與，Victor到英國學習後再加入了兩位當地舞者創作出《從頭（再）開始》，配合旁白、音樂、影像投射後將編舞家與舞者間的政治角力刻劃得更細緻。目前作品會先在西九文化區自由空間排練，稍後在英國階段展演後便會在Swindon Dance作無界首演。
幾天前與Victor重遇，正好問起他為何一直以不同的power play來貫穿自己的創作生涯，他思考了一會便說：「其實我是到最近才發現自己的創作一直講述了不同的power play，關於權力、身型，甚至乎種族差異都有。可能是因為香港這個生長背景，一直以來的歷史或現狀都是被更大權力去控制、凌駕，才讓我不自覺地將這種權力關係植入至創作中。」
Coco Chanel曾說過：“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”（「最有勇氣的行為仍然是獨立思考，並大聲說出來」）作為一個創作者，如果沒有獨立思考、沒有勇氣說出所思所想，其創作必然是空洞無物。Victor對於power play的詮譯、對不同角色的尊重讓我十分欣賞，期待將來在香港亦能看到《從頭（再）開始》演出！
VOICE OUT | A POWERPLAY TOLD THROUGH DANCE
Translated and edited by Wendy Liang
This month’s Voice Out theme made me think of the works of Hong Kong based choreographer, Victor Fung. I’ve previously worked with him in the past, to design costumes for a piece entitled “Fighter”. With a determined and self-assured character, his works often focuses on powerplay and power dynamics. Our collaboration in 2012 was an opportunity to explore different forms of artistic expression for us both.
Our work began when the City Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC) invited four local fashion designers to design costumes for that year’s “Strip Teaser” show. Working with Victor, we had a great deal of freedom in creating our designs. It was an interesting experience, learning how to combine two art forms to convey the same message. After all, in fashion the designer tends to take the backseat and let the clothes speak for themselves. The opposite is true in dance – its the performer who dominates the stage. It’s no wonder then, that we clashed in the very beginning. At first, Vincent was concerned about the details of each piece, whereas our team wanted our own space to work. The series of back and forth negotiations, between designer and choreographer seemed to ironically replicate the powerplay in the work “Fighter” itself. But if not for the communication, we would not have produced a final product we were both satisfied with, and our work process was a testament to the idea of VOICE UP itself.
FIGHTER: “WE THE PEOPLE”
Victor’s “Fighter” was based on “Occupy Wall Street” in 2011, where thousands of demonstrators took to New York’s financial center to express their dissatisfaction with the city’s financial system and high unemployment. When choreographing “Fighter”, he emphasized the cohesiveness among the people, and the way society can flourish when we listen to different voices and opinions. Alternating between a dance language that was both soft, and at times powerful, he illustrates the collective power of society when people come together for a common cause.
Yet it’s important not to ignore the diversity of opinions within any movement. Though brave, movements such as these can often be viewed as both wrong or right – depending on who you’re asking. In designing the costumes, I tried to weave in these elements of diversity, contrast, and contradictions. For the 13 dancers, I included cross symbols that were obvious on some, and carefully veiled in others, representing the diverse opinions we may have to a single topic.
Another design detail involved incorporating newspaper prints in different languages. With dancers physically wearing the words they were trying to express, my goal was to combine the two art forms, and transmit the power of words through fashion and dance. Among the more notable pieces, was a curved headpiece, symbolic of the voice of citizens.
When the series was completed, it received more welcome from Victor than we had originally expected (bearing in mind our earlier clashes). Combining choreography and fashion, Victor’s “FIGHTER” had a voice that is both personal and political. There are many ways to voice out, whether it is to speak out, to dance, or to wear a dress. It’s a way to speak out for yourself, and express yourself. DARE TO VOICE OUT – even if your opinion isn’t the mainstream. BE YOURSELF.
“From the Top (Final Edit)”: Power Struggle
Recently, Victor has been preparing a dance piece entitled “From the Top (Final Edit)”, illustrating the power struggle between a choreographer and a dancer. The title is taken from a common phrase used during rehearsals – “from the top” – where at the choreographer’s command, dancers would have to grit their teeth, and perform the sequence all over again.
The original Hong Kong version entitled “From the Top”, is performed by two dancers. After studying in the UK, Victor returned to his home city and connected two local dancers with two UK dancers to further explore the work. It is currently being rehearsed in the free space of West Kowloon Cultural District, and the world premiere of the dance piece will be presented in September 2019 by Swindon Dance, UK.
Reuniting with Victor over coffee a few days ago, I asked him why he chose to focus on power dynamics as the subject of his work. He thought for a moment, and then replied – “It’s only recently that I realised a lot of my works centered on different power plays, whether it is about power itself, body shape, or ethnic differences. Maybe it’s because growing up in Hong Kong, I’ve always lived in a city that was the product of historic power struggles, and that has made me unconsciously integrate it into my creative work.”
A quote from Coco Chanel – “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” As a creator, if you are lack of critical thinking and courage to stand out, your work must be empty and boring. I really appreciate how Victor interprets power play and respect to different roles. Hope to see his performance in HK in the near future!