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[中][ENG]以武術訓練開發肢體表現 談舞蹈與武術研究的體會與觀察

更新日期:7月 30

舞蹈手札 June 10, 2020 | 文 Text:陳瑋鑫 William Chan; 翻譯 Translation: Tiffany Wong


[中]以武術訓練開發肢體表現 談舞蹈與武術研究的體會與觀察

中國武術源遠流長,從門派、技術,到兵器、套路皆種類繁多,其中不少動作元素亦有滲進至不同的表演藝術內,不過有關這方面轉化的系統性分析卻並不多見,特別是在中國(傳統)舞蹈研究這一個範疇。香港舞蹈團現正進行中的「中國舞蹈與中國武術之交互研究與成果呈現」計劃,就嘗試通過研習南方武術作為方法,從舞者的舞蹈身體與經驗切入,思考及分析武術套路,再進行創作研究。

有關武與舞的身體研究

在武術與舞蹈交互研究這方面,其中一個經典例子,是今年四月底剛剛過世,發展出以亞洲武術和瑜伽為基礎,引導演員進行身心合一鍛鍊方法的Phillip Zarrilli教授。早年在美國研究表演及修習太極拳的他,於七十年代尾親身到印度南部待了七年,先學習舞蹈Kathakali,然後追本溯源,改而從頭學起源自南方的傳統印度武藝Kalaripayattu,最後再將當中的感悟綜合瑜珈知識,整理並發展出一套有效的表演訓練步驟、原則與方法。

誠然,由於香港一直缺乏針對表演研究的專門學系與研究傳統,業界內擁有相關學術研究經驗的人也不多,故暫時難以寄望可以在短時間內做出如Phillip Zarrilli教授的成績。但多困難的事情,也必須要有一個開始,香港舞蹈團這個三年研究計劃就率先在這方面作出嘗試。一眾出身自舞蹈訓練的專業舞者,自2018年開始,投入一個體現式研究(Embodied Research)過程,在學習南方武術不同套路之時,就著每人的身體經驗與感知,不斷作出反思與詰問,並以文字持續記錄,朝著探索與舞蹈表演及編創的轉化可能這個方向去進行。

在傳統學術研究模式之下,我們往往會先提出一個研究問題,然後透過審視過往相關研究的紀錄與發現,再找出自己的研究焦點,深入剖析辯證,提出自己的見解與發現作為結語。然而,在實踐式研究(Practice-as-Research)底下之體現式研究方式,就更強調過程中的自我審視、體會及觀察,其終極呈現未必是最重要,反而在研究過程中的發現才是最珍貴。

研究員及舞者 王志昇;照片由香港舞蹈團提供

首兩階段的初步探索

今次計劃內身兼研究員的舞者們,只有少部分過去曾淺學武術,大部分人更是首次接觸中國南方武術。故此他們都異口同聲表示,在短時間內要學習多種拳種,最初的確比較辛苦。大家別以爲作為職業舞者或專修舞蹈的學生,想必對動作記憶相當在行,即使學習全新套路也應該問題不大,但原來在實際習武的過程中,並不如想像中般順利。因為武術動作之間的轉換習慣、用力的節奏跟方法,著實跟平日跳舞很不一樣。

根據各參與舞者在首兩階段的研究紀錄,以蔡李佛為例,打套路時表演者往往需要留意肌肉的用力點、動作路線及最後爆發的力量,講求爆發力及出其不意,務求達到在毫無先兆下直接出擊,打倒對手,因為一旦有預備動作,就容易被敵人發現識破,施加還擊;相反,中國舞舞動時習慣欲前先後、欲左先右、欲上先下、欲開先合,乃以一種分解式協調去貫穿動作,不特別追求快速,而且也會多作拉長身體的伸展,更會加入好些修飾與表演性的動作,強調長線條,以及圓滿的舞姿轉換。因此當舞者在習武時就必須拋開固有的身體習慣,學習一種新的轉變,將舞蹈化的動作剔除,拋開多餘的動作去配合技擊保護自己,擊退對手的需求。

此外,打套路時如果要達到足夠的速度與勁度,就必須運用整個身體去協調發力,移換重心及身體高低。從發力點與重心變化的方式也要重新適應,開發與舞蹈不一樣的肌肉組合。不過有了這些實實在在的身體體驗,對動作與關節肌肉較為敏感的舞者們,就可以根據他/她們的舞蹈經驗去進行分析,多角度思考練武與跳舞之間的異同,為第三階段的創作呈現打好基礎。

習武作為研究基礎

縱使部分舞者/研究員在首兩階段的習武過程中都遇上過不同挫折,好像難以記得住套路動作,打起來動作又不夠暢順,力量似乎不足等等,但大部分參與的舞者/研究員最後都有堅持下來,即使是中途加入的,同樣透過定期的一起複習、練習,身體亦漸見變化。來到計劃最後的這一個階段,大都已經打得有板有眼,個別研究員更曾參加武術比賽,進一步與其他習武者了解交流。

與過去為了排演舞蹈演出而去進行的肢體訓練/動作研究不同,是次項目一眾舞者皆付出更多的精神、時間,暫時放低跳舞/編舞的思維,先去靠近武術、理解武術,再嘗試從習得之南方武術中抽取不同元素,以舞蹈的方式再現。研究過程各人還要不斷反覆思考,撰寫筆記,彷彿回到他/她們久違了的讀書時代。

至於計劃最後會得出怎樣的成果及結論,目前仍然難以預計,事關大家還在積極地相互探索與討論中,畢竟這是舞蹈團首次進行這樣的表演研究,眾人亦只能摸著石頭過河般,一步步邊試邊前行。不過聽過當中幾位朋友就著刻下的創作階段目標所作的分享,都有相當清楚的研究方向,令人更期待他們的成果呈現。


深化實踐及創作階段工作坊片段- 八卦掌;照片由香港舞蹈團提供

活用武藝元素編創舞蹈

今年九月的「演出」,觀眾未必會看到眾舞者在台上表演套路,但就肯定有機會看到他/她們從武術套路中抽取動作元素,然後進行的舞蹈創作實驗。好像以白鶴為基礎,實驗力量對抗變化的雙人舞節;又或者以武術中的肢體元素,放進中國舞/西方當代舞技巧當中,嘗試碰撞出不一樣的重覆舞動;還有透過十個身體動作,挖掘重心、情緒、空間之間的關係等等。

除了透過分析外在招式的動作實驗,如何尋找內在的一種狀態亦是這一階段的另一探索路向。習武時的專注力提升及精神狀態變化,能否挪用至舞蹈演出當中,又或者是否能夠啟發出不一樣的肢體運動模式,甚至從而建立出一套具有自己特色的舞蹈風格呢?也是很值得去發展及留意。

從傳統武術訓練中吸收養分,作為身體訓練,以至動作編創的一種方式,台灣藝團在這一方面做得算是比較成功,好像雲門舞集與優人神鼓等,皆以太極訓練作為團員的訓練基礎之一,從而慢慢建立出其別樹一幟的表演風格。如此發展當然並非一蹴而就,且看一直嘗試發展當代中國舞蹈的香港舞蹈團的編創與表演人員,是否可以透過今次的計劃,從極具本土特色的嶺南武藝中獲得啟發,帶來新的肢體動作衝擊。

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中國舞蹈與中國武術之交互研究與成果呈現計劃—成果匯報及演出

日期:27/09/2020 (星期日)

地點:西九文化區藝術公園自由空間

有關活動及演出詳情,敬請密切留意「中國舞蹈與中國武術之交互研究與成果呈現計劃」Facebook 專頁(搜尋 「hkdance.research)及westkowloon.hk之公布。

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文:陳瑋鑫

資深藝評人、媒體及劇場製作人,近年主要從事表演藝術研究及教育。

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[ENG] Developing physical expressions through martial arts

Findings and observations from a new research study on dance and martial arts

Chinese martial arts have a long history, with countless schools, techniques, weapons and routines. Many movements and elements from Chinese martial arts have seeped into different kinds of performing arts, but seldom do we see any systematic analysis on this kind of transformation, especially not within Chinese (traditional) dance studies. The ongoing Research study on Chinese martial arts and Chinese dance by the Hong Kong Dance Company attempts to analyse and reflect on martial arts routines from the perspective of dancers’ bodies and experience through the methodology of practising Southern Chinese martial arts. This is followed up by dancers carrying out creative research.

About physicality studies on martial arts and dance

A classic example of cross studies between martial arts and dance is the work of Professor Phillip Zarrilli, who passed away in late April this year, and who developed an actors’ training method that unites the mind and the body drawing on the fundamentals of yoga and Asian martial arts. In his early years, Professor Zarrilli studied performance and practised Tai Chi in America. In the late 1970s, he spent seven years in Southern India, first learning the Kathakali dance genre, and then, tracing it back to its origins, studying Kalaripayattu, a traditional martial art also originating from Southern India. Finally, he combined insights from his seven years in India with his knowledge of yoga to develop a set of effective performance training procedures, principles and methods.

Frankly speaking, since Hong Kong lacks a professional school and research culture specifically dedicated to performance studies, and few people in the industry are experienced in relevant academic research, it would be mere wishful thinking to assume we could achieve results comparable to Professor Zarrilli’s within a short time. Yet, however difficult the task may be, we need to start somewhere and the Hong Kong Dance Company is making a first attempt by embarking on this 3-year research project. Starting from 2018, a group of professionally trained dancers have participated in an Embodied Research -- as they learn the routines of Southern Chinese martial arts, they continuously reflect upon and question their physical experiences and perceptions. On top of that, they keep track of their progress in writing and explore the possibilities of transforming what they have learnt into dance and choreography.

In traditional academic research methodologies, we usually establish a research question first, then find our research focus by investigating relevant archives and discoveries from studies in the past. After in-depth analysis and dialectical process, we express our understanding and findings as conclusions. However, in the methodology of Embodied Research under Practice-as-Research, the emphasis is more on self-scrutiny, experience and observation. The final presentation might not be the most important stage -- rather the greatest value lies in the process itself.


Workshop fragments of the Research ; Photo provided by Hong Kong Dance Company

Initial explorations in the first two stages

Among the dancer-cum-research-associates in this project, only a minority had briefly practised martial arts. For most, it was the first time they had come across Southern Chinese martial arts. Hence they all found it exhausting at the beginning to practise several different schools of martial arts within a short time. Do not be misled into believing that professional dancers or dance majors must be experts at memorizing movements and should not have much difficulty learning new routines. Their martial arts training was not as smooth as might be imagined, as movements of the martial arts involve ways of transition, rhythm and exerting power that differ quite significantly from normal dance practices.

According to participating dancers’ research records in the first two stages, taking Choy Lee Fat as an example, during routine practice, performers have to be aware of the point of force exertion from their muscles, the path of their movements and the final burst of power. The practice stresses the explosive and unexpected nature of this burst of power, which enables the practitioner to strike directly and knock down the opponent without warning. If there is any preparatory movement, the opponent may easily see through your tactics and hit back. Chinese Dance movements, on the contrary, very often involve a lot of preparatory movement, such as retreating before going forward, going right before going left, going down first if desiring to go up, closing first if planning to open. These movements are linked with isolation as coordination, without any specific pursuit of speed. Also, the frequent elongation of the body and the addition of ornamental, performative moves emphasize long lines and perfect movement transitions. Therefore, when dancers practise martial arts, it is necessary for them to get rid of their inherent physical habits, to learn to eliminate stylized and extraneous movements in order to satisfy the martial arts goals of defending oneself as well as beating back one’s opponents.

Besides, to achieve sufficient speed and power during routine practice, it is necessary to coordinate the whole body to exert force, shift the centre of gravity and the body level. Dancers have to adapt to these new ways of exerting force and shifting weight, thus developing muscle combinations different from those used in dance. However, after having these concrete physical experiences, dancers, with their sensitivity towards movement, joints and muscles, can draw on their dance experience to analyse and compare the practice of dance with martial arts from multiple angles, building the foundations for the creative work in the third stage of the project.

Martial arts practice as the foundation of research

Although some dancers/research associates faced various difficulties in picking up martial arts in the first two stages, such as finding it awkward to memorize movements, lacking fluency and strength in action sequences and so on, the majority have persisted. The bodies of those who joined in the middle of the project also displayed gradual transformations after regular revision and practice. As the project has entered its final stage, most of them have achieved an above average performance level in martial arts. One or two research associates have even participated in martial arts competitions, having further exchange with other martial arts practitioners.

As opposed to the body training and movement studies they are used to when preparing for one specific dance piece, the dancers have had to put extra time and effort into this project, to set aside their normal dancer/choreographer mentality, gain better understanding of the martial arts and thus try to extract different elements from their practice of Southern Chinese martial arts and present them in the form of dance. During the research process, they have also had to continuously reflect and make notes, as if they were back to being students.

It is still very hard to anticipate at this stage what the end results and conclusions of the project will be. Dancers are still actively exploring and discussing. As this is the company’s first attempt at conducting this kind of performance research study, they are all feeling their way, advancing step by step. Nonetheless, after hearing a few of the participants talk about their goals at the creation stage, I feel that they have a clear research direction and am looking forward to seeing their final presentations.

Between Dance and Martial Arts; Photo provided by Hong Kong Dance Company

Applying martial arts elements flexibly in choreography

In their “performance” this September, the audience will not see dancers performing martial arts routines on stage; rather, they will see experimental dance pieces incorporating elements drawn from martial arts. These include a duet based on the White Crane style which experiments with the change of power in a confrontation; the creation of repetitive moves combining physical elements from martial arts with Chinese dance or contemporary dance techniques; and the exploration of the relationship between weight, emotion and space through 10 movements.

Apart from experiments analysing external physical techniques, another research direction at this stage is exploring how to achieve a certain internal mental state. Could the heightened concentration and the changes in mental state experienced while practising martial arts also be achieved in dance performances, inspire novel and different patterns of movement, or even eventually lead to developing a unique dance style? These are topics worth investigating.

Taiwanese companies have had notable success in integrating martial arts into their physical training, as well as their methodology for creating choreography. Companies such as Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and U-Theatre Taiwan have adopted Tai Chi as part of their dancers’ basic training, and have gradually built their unique performance styles. This development did not happen overnight. We have yet to see what inspiration the dancers and choreographers of the Hong Kong Dance Company, who are continuously dedicated to the development of contemporary Chinese dance, may take from the local Lingnan martial arts in their efforts to create new types of movement.

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Research Study on Chinese Martial Arts and Chinese Dance — Results presentation and Performance

Date: 27.9.2020 (Sun)

Venue: Freespace, Art Park, West Kowloon Cultural District

For event and performance details, please stay tuned to “Research study on Chinese martial arts and Chinese dance” Facebook page and announcements on westkowloon.hk

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(English Translation by Tiffany Wong)

Text: William Chan

William Chan is a performing arts critic, theatre director and media producer, currently focusing on performing arts research and education.

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全文轉載自 Reprinted from:https://www.dancejournalhk.com/single-post/HKDC-Dance-Research-2?fbclid=IwAR2iSiRjbMMadBLTdXEOAPo5FrI7qCOQlSIU7dgbZ9JQqyNgsy4AJVDtwVw

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