The Editorial Team
The Editorial Team regards the ‘Hong Kong Dance Overview Project’ as one to, predominantly with focused essays, explore and study the different aspects of Hong Kong’s dance. Departing from problematics and objectives, thorough analyses are conducted from diversified perspectives, namely philosophical, sociological, and cultural studies, among others. Compared to other parts of Asia, Taiwan and Malaysia for example, where there are academic institutes to focus on dance research, one must confront the scant research and discussion on Hong Kong’s dance, and even performing arts. Many practitioners would agree that, in the face of increasing dance productions, there is not a proper subsidy system to support scrupulous studies that respond to the dance in this city. We cannot simply rely on the effort of scholars and critics. Hence the positioning of the Overview as ‘a research-based publication with the potential to be recognised as an academic one’, with a view to instigating the respect for depth among the funding bodies, the practitioners, and the public. Published bi-lingually, the Overview enhances accessibility of Hong Kong’s dance information to worldwide performing art researchers who work in English. As more and more essays are accumulated over years, we hope that the Overview will be regarded with seriousness, and regularly subsidized, by those who are concerned with Hong Kong’s dance. Dance research, after all, should not be expendable to the performing arts.
The Overview studies incidents and phenomenon of the year which are telling of the various aspects of the dance scene. The value of dance as the critical component of Hong Kong’s performing arts, its impact on the society, structural problems and of the subsidy system, and development potential are evaluated from the perspectives of formal characteristics, curation, marketing, and art criticism. Certain administrative reasons render the publication of the Overview 2017 only in the 3rd quarter of 2020. However, speed is not a qualifier of depth. The distance of time is a perspective. Since the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, and its 10 strategic partners, presented ‘Hong Kong Dance Festival 2010’, Hong Kong has seen some small-scale festivals but they have not successfully triggered the dance sector’s interest to dig deep into the notion of ‘festival’. To regard ‘dance festival’ as an operation practice conducted all over the world, one can categorise the actual events into, 1. Annual carnivals of the ‘cultural city’, aiming to attract residents in local and nearby areas and to generate income directly from box office and indirectly from tourism, catering, and shopping; 2. Business operations of the dance sector to bolster the circulation of cultural capital, with overseas programme buyers as the focused audience group; 3. Conscious deployment of ‘festival’ as the means to encourage probe into specific topics or the art form. It goes without saying that the above categorisation is hardly exhaustive. How has ‘City Contemporary Dance Festival’ in 2017 (and ‘Hong Kong Dance Exchange’ and ‘Tai Kwun Dance Season’ that immediately followed in 2018) give shape to the imagination of dance festivals of the future? Two essays on CCDF discuss the glocalisation of dance festivals, and their collaboration with art criticism. In ‘After the Festival--Insights for Hong Kong’s Dance Sector from the 1st City Contemporary Dance Festival (CCDF)’, Eveline Wong studies the positioning and value of dance festivals from a glocalisation perspective. Bernice Chan reviews the role and limitation of performing arts criticism at festivals in ‘The Considerations of Organisers of Art Criticism Events: On the “City Contemporary Dance Festival Chatbox Forum 2017”’.
To perform dance in unconventional performance space poses challenges to the choreographers’ and dancers’ minds and bodies. In recent years, there have been increasing collaborations between dance and the visual arts, expanding the room for dance-making. The coalescence of the performing and visual arts is becoming a tangible aspiration. Is there a way for their similarities and differences to dialogue so that each can benefit from the other and contribute to Hong Kong’s art development? Lee Hoi-yin Joanna gives an account of the encounter and dynamics of dance and visual arts, and its impacts on the dance-makers’ ideas and performance, in ‘What is the “x” When We Talk about "Visual Arts x Dance”?’. Collaboration can be driven out of the need for resources. In a neo-liberal economy such as Hong Kong, for performing art groups to be self-sufficient enterprises is arduous, to put it lightly. Corporate investors’ idea of ‘return-on-investment’ on the performing arts is a colossal barricade. Are these reasons for the performing arts to rely heavily on public funding? Damian Cheng argues how Hong Kong performing art groups will (not) pursue cultural industries strategies in ‘The Hong Kong Ballet’s Way to Cultural Industries?’.
Arguably there are a lot more happening in Hong Kong’s dance than what can be discussed in four essays. Albeit the limitation of availability of writers of dance, when compared to those of other art forms, we are aware of the long way to go before we reach the standard of academic writing, both in terms length and depth. Within the parameters of resources available to the Overview, we strive for the best magnitude and depth possible.
Financially supported by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and published by Felixism Creation, Hong Kong Dance Overview 2017 is conceived and edited by Lee Hoi-yin Joanna, Wong Chung-yu Eveline, and Chan Wai-ki Felix. We are grateful to the writers, interviewees and other parties who have supported its publication. The Overview 2017 is available for viewing and download on this website. Hong Kong Dance Overview 2018 will be available by the 1st quarter of 2021. The scope of this website goes beyond public funding requirement and is dedicated to the research of dance in Hong Kong. On the foundation of the Overview, it hosts information of other projects curated by the same team, undertakings of the Resident Researchers, reference depository, among others. ‘Hong Kong Dance Research’ aims to nurture dialectical discourse through diversified mode of participation. Your comments and support are going to mean a lot to us.