The Editorial Team
2020, the year the world stood still.
An infectious sickness struck all of a sudden; the speed at which the pandemic spread around the world was only matched by that of information flow on social media.
Experts believe that social distancing helps control infection rates. In specific contexts, ‘social distancing’ is not only a pandemic preventive measure, but by extension also connotes security, stability, and protection. Where and when not to gather is not the point. Whether it is outdoors or indoors, in stadiums, theatres, schools or restaurants, does not matter; social gatherings are not desirable before 6pm, even less so after 6pm. In any case, they are to be shunned.
Although different countries have different pandemic measures of different levels of severity, they are generally oriented towards ‘social distancing’. Dance is not immune to the wave of lockdowns. Why dance, when there is no income, families are separated; anyone can be a carrier of the virus and bodies possibly vessels of risks? When contact is to be avoided at all costs, ‘to dance’ sounds inappropriate.
However, it is precisely because the pandemic and lockdowns are universal that the barrier of physical distance has reinforced human empathy and encouraged more dialogue. The inaction imposed upon us has given us room to slow down, review and reorganise. Likewise, the four articles in Hong Kong Dance Overview 2020 are the Hong Kong dance practitioners’ reflections on development of dance in/for video, archiving, pedagogy, and their identity. In ‘MOVEMENT/IMAGE: Re-situating Dance and the Moving Image in Hong Kong, 2020’, Elysa Wendi explores the integration of dance and digital technology and analyses how in some cases technology has intervened in experiments and experienced different processes and outcomes, shaping a new paradigm for the future of moving images through and in conjunction with dance creation. In ‘An Unexpected Acceleration: How a Virus Inverted the Relationship Between Dance Production and Archives’, Eugenia S. Kim reviews the state of society and the dance field in 2020, noting the emerging trend of online dance representations, and tries to clarify the definition of dance archives. She points out how existing archives in Hong Kong affect dance creation, illustrating with several case studies of how some dance creations presented online in Hong Kong in 2020 interacted with archival material. In ‘Creative Dance Education: In Search of “Flexibility” in “Limitation”, Natalie Cheung appropriates as her analytical framework the art education concept and research carried out in local schools at the beginning of the millennium, to revisit the exploration and study framework of drama and dance education, so as to discuss the possibilities of local development of dance education. The editorial feature, ‘For You, I Change — 2020 as a Transformative Year for Hong Kong’s Dance’ collects 2020 reviews of seventeen individual/institutional practitioners, offering a general portrait of the industry studded with individual details that give the narrative a three-dimensional quality.
All four publications of Hong Kong Dance Overview are now completed. At the time of publication of this iteration, there is yet no news of an upcoming one, so one may as well consider this as a break or even termination. In Hong Kong, there are very few who write in-depth dance reviews or research papers, which proved to be our biggest difficulty since the beginning of the project. We are lucky to have contributors who despite our meagre budget have devoted a lot of time and effort, and here again we express our gratitude to all of them. We also thank the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for the support. We hope that these four publications will open a window for in-depth dance writing, showing us that there is still infinite room for such endeavours in Hong Kong.