用这个词来描述伦敦可谓不谬。伦敦可谓是“世界主义”最名副其实的集中而十足的体现。这里汇聚着大量的“世界公民”，他们虽然各自有着自己的文化背景和成长经历，如今却都融在一个空间中生存。舞者的情况亦不例外，大量的各国舞者聚在伦敦，因为这里的开放观念和环境十分易于他们的个性表达。因而，这样的状态就形成了伦敦“世界主义”视角下的国际地位。想想这些舞者们，不是也与本届“跨艺”的Leaving Home, Being Elsewhere（离家，在别处）的主题相一致嘛。
Jiang Dong’s London Reflections 06: Do the British dance?
A friend of mine, an insider in the European scene once told me, there are two key forces in the development of contemporary dance in Europe. One is Vienna, in Austria. The other is London. This testimony, combined with the fact that information in English is easy to access, furthered our impression of London as a kind of headquarters for the development of contemporary dance. With the arrival of this year’s ArtsCross in London, I imagined that the powerful “London Factor” would provide unprecedented impetus to the project. But after a period of time, I discovered that this was not exactly the case.
Firstly, let’s look at the participants. The host of this year’s ArtsCross was London, and one would have expected the response from Britain to be enthusiastic. However, the number of British participants among the three participating groups (academics, choreographers and dancers) was in fact very small.
Let’s take a look at the choreographers. The three regions participating in this year’s ArtsCross, Beijing, Taipei and London, each invited three dancers to join their delegation. Beijing brought Guo Lei, Zeng Huanxing and Zhao Liang; Taipei had Ho
And what about the academics? From the London side, with the exception of UK natives Martin and Rebecca, Stefanie and Alex were German, Ola was Swedish, Naomi was Japanese and Ted was American. The organiser Chris was in fact Canadian. Even among the UK assistants, it was hard to find one who was British. And then there was Sanjoy, one of the dance writers, whose origin I am unsure of.
London was better represented by Brits in the dancing category. When previous sessions of the ArtsCross project have been held in Beijing and Taipei, the
Seeing this, one finds it hard not to ask, do the British dance?
As an art form which represents human emotions, one would expect that dance would have its fair share of enthusiasts in England. Notwithstanding the fact that British society can be considered as relatively conservative when compared with the European continent, the spark of artistic impression is something that cannot be suppressed anywhere in the world. Indeed, the UK has a story about a boy who studies dance called Billy Elliott, which has been made into a musical and been very well received. It seems evident that dance remains a focus of mainstream culture. When I was in the US, I met many British dancers who were dancing in the US.
But this goes beyond the question of whether the British dance or not. What I am interested in is the fact that there are so many foreigners who dance in the UK! This phenomenon demonstrates the idea of Cosmopolitanism which the British scholars raised during our lively academic discussions.
When the concept of Cosmopolitanism was first raised in the discussions, the interpreter used the Chinese term “Metropolis”. As a consequence, most of the Chinese scholars understood the question from a different perspective, and the train of discussion soon turned towards a discussion of urbanisation. It was clear that there was a discrepancy of meaning between these words, since the opposing term for “cosmopolitanism” is “nationalism” or “statism”, and the opposing term for “urbanisation” is “ruralisation”.
In this end, the term was finally translated into the Chinese equivalent of “Cosmopolitanism”, and our train of thought was reconnected to the original meaning. The focus point for “cosmopolitanism” is the “Global Citizen.”
This was a highly appropriate term for London. London can be considered as a highly focussed manifestation of “Cosmopolitanism.” It brings together huge numbers of “Global Citizens” who, while possessing their own cultural backgrounds, are coming together in this one space. This is also the case for dancers. Dancers from across the world come together in London, largely because of the sense of openness and the ease with which they can express their own identities. As a result, London has developed a global reputation for having a cosmopolitan perspective. When I thought about these dancers, it occurred to me that there were strong parallels with the theme of this year’s ArtsCross: Leaving home, being elsewhere.
While the number of British dancers participating in the project was small, this had not prevented London from becoming an important international centre for the development of dance, and this is directly connected to London’s status as a Cosmopolitan city. Of course, this is very common in Europe. It is just that in London, the situation is a little more pronounced. In a cosmopolitan environment such as this, the merging and fusion of different ideas becomes even more pronounced. People become more able to appreciate and respect other people’s cultures, and in communicating, people use language which everyone can understand. In this way, London has used its strong sense of cosmopolitanism to create a blueprint for peaceful human coexistence and development.