The Editorial Team
Dance criticism in Hong Kong has come a long way to find itself still constrained by publication opportunities and categories, and the dogmatism of what criticism is or can be. Limited inroads have been made to the subjects, depth, and continuity of criticism writing. Hence, Hong Kong Dance Overview concerns itself with research foci, theoretical frameworks, data collection and compilation that go beyond individual dance work, with the objective of providing for the to-be-developed areas in Hong Kong’s academic research in dance, and to elicit subsequent endeavours.
‘Dancemaking’ in Hong Kong, especially when it connotes ‘pioneering’ or ‘experimentation’, is conveniently understood as ‘contemporary dance’ practiced and appreciated by the minority. It is out of reach of those not professionally trained in dance. Even today, many speak of the art of dance in Romanticism terms as the artist’s pristine personal expression. The arts should stay away from society and theories to avoid being blemished. We argue that the value judgment of the arts is specific to time and space. ‘Contemporary dance’ of the 21st Century is defined not by its form but by how it has been created synchronically and collaboratively with today’s audience. The objective environment is more than just the material conditions of creation. Rather, it is the context of the creative concept, the prototype of an idea, the mode of presentation, and the raison d’etre of the arts.
Taking the above into consideration, the editorial focus of this edition is on the aspects of the dance ecology that influence Hong Kong’s dancemaking, namely, venue strategies, collaborative mindset, overseas market, documentation and archiving. Felix Chan takes reference of the ‘people’s theatre’ operation model advocated by scholar Katalin Trencsényi to analyse the strategic planning of ‘Tai Kwun’, opened in May 2018. In ‘Tai Kwun Dance Season – The Possibilities of People’s Theatre’, he interviews the venue operation team and artists having performed there, with the intention of unearthing the potential of a breakthrough in venue operation in Hong Kong. Since Yang Yuntao was appointed the Artistic Director in 2013, Hong Kong Dance Company has been actively creating interdisciplinary works, among which the production of Waiting Heart with Utopia Cantonese Opera Workshop in 2018 has created much noise. In ‘The Interdisciplinary Collaboration between Dance and Cantonese Opera: A Case Study of Hong Kong Dance Company’s Waiting Heart’, Wong Chung-yu Eveline interviews six key players of Waiting Heart and discusses the value of this dance production
to The Company. In 2018, Lee Hoi-yin Joanna participated in the art markets ‘internationale tanzmesse nrw’ and ‘CINARS’ as an independent producer. By reflecting on her field experience, she identifies the gap between the outcome and original intentions when publicly-funded institutions systematically implement suggestions from the industry. In ‘Performing Arts: The “Good” of Going International’, she analyses the social and economic context of ‘going international’ as a kind of ‘good’. In ‘The Value of Historical Materials and Criticism on the Archival Process: “Research Project — Oral History of Hong Kong Dance Development”’,
Dong Xianliang delves into this case study to discuss the characteristics of oral history and its value to dance research, and further highlights areas for critical reading by both readers (of the Project) and future researchers.
Hong Kong Dance Overview 2018 is the second publication of the series. We are grateful to the invaluable comments from the accessors, scholars, and practitioners upon the publication of the previous one. In order for more diversified perspectives and more refined division of responsibilities, we are excited to have Miu Law joining the team as the Executive Editor (Chinese version). With the support of the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and the dance sector, we will strive to bring to light the multifarious dance writing in Hong Kong.