本届“跨艺”在完成各项预定日程后,于2013年8月11日晚在伦敦THE PLACE剧场前厅举办了告别晚宴,虽然对于我们好吃的中国人来说,那顿由特定家庭制作、颇让组织者骄傲的意大利家庭餐难吃得几乎难以下咽,但各路人马还是兴致勃勃,群情昂扬。当然,离别前夕再道一声珍重时的那份依依惜别之情,让大家彼此难分难舍。 与英方策划人、组织者CHRIS道别,得知他将于9月访华,我当即邀请他能来舞研所做一个讲座,请他介绍一下英国当代舞的发展概貌。对此,CHRIS虽一口应允,但同时表示,这个题目对他来说有挑战性。不会吧?我闻之有些诧异,难道对一位长期在目睹伦敦当代舞局势演变的圈内人来说,连这个都无法说清吗?无独有偶。前一天看演出时,我遇到了在伦敦舞蹈界十分知名、特从爱丁堡艺术节返回伦敦来看“跨艺”晚会的旅英美籍舞蹈记者DONALD先生。这位老友告诉我,爱丁堡艺术节委托他向前去采访的各国记者做一个关于英国当代舞发展的报告。初听这个动议,他也怔住了:谁能做这样一个报告呢?他不禁暗自扪心自问。这两位对同样一个问题的同样反应,有些出乎我的意料。难道,要认清英国的当代舞面貌真有那么难吗?

我这次伦敦之行自然是时间有限而目的明确,因此也无暇对这样一个问题去做亲身的考察和分析,自然也就更没有发言权。不过,我看到在“跨艺”晚会中坐得满满的观众席,不由得对伦敦观众的当代舞情结还是很乐观的,因为据CHRIS之前的介绍,这个晚会是对社会售票的,而且所有演出票很早就卖光了。

但是,接着就来了对于我这个判断及其盲目乐观的当头一棒:一位同样赶来看“跨艺”晚会的来自英国皇家芭蕾舞团的退役舞者告诉我,眼下正在位于考文特花园的皇家歌剧院里举行的俄罗斯国家模范芭蕾舞团(BOLSHOI)的演出,一连三周,场场爆满,而他们表演的剧目竟然还是传统芭蕾舞剧《天鹅湖》和《睡美人》!而且票价之昂贵,仍为伦敦演艺市场之首,平均票价在100多磅一张……这一点还真有点让人始料未及。由此看来,让我刚刚颇为乐观的伦敦当代舞氛围在古典芭蕾面前仍然还是这么不堪一击。

当然,当代舞和芭蕾舞所面对的观众群,完全不是一回事。伦敦的芭蕾市场之火爆,有目共睹,但这也并没有妨碍英国当代舞发展的步伐,正是萝卜青菜各有所爱,各自的粉丝们甚至会走向对立也是常事。记得来自苏格兰的澳大利亚籍当代舞编导JANIX就曾为了为当代舞辩护,甚至不惜与其酷爱芭蕾舞的公公撕破了脸面。各自的阵营是如此分明、如此水火不相容,倒是给我们带来了很耐琢磨的观察和思考。当然,这等局面对中英合作项目“跨艺”倒也没有构成任何威胁,因为在伦敦这样一个自由的氛围里,喜欢萝卜或是青菜完全是个人的事。因此,“跨艺”能够吸引来这么一群热爱当代舞的观众,自然也不在话下。考察伦敦,它既非当代舞发展的天堂,但也吸引了大量国际当代舞人士在这里打拼、在这里奋斗。在他们的努力下建立起来的伦敦当代舞局面,能量也小觑不得。

抬头看伦敦的天,是那样的透亮,蓝的天和白的云组合得是那般澄澈。在这个小觑不得的当代舞春风拂面的环境里,又一届“跨艺”成为过去。曲终人散时,我们在获得满满丰收的那一刻,也都在共同憧憬着下一届“跨艺”的早日成型,毕竟,对于参与各方而言,这样的活动所带来的生命活力和所呈现的生命意义,都是无法用语言可以形容的。于是,我们听到了于本届“跨艺”首次加入的英国舞者们迫切的呼声,他们渴望“跨艺”的大门在不远的将来再次为他们打开。

是的,我坚信“跨艺”的合作之门一定会在各方的努力下再次启开的,因为我们彼此都需要这样的跨界交流,而世界则会因为更多的这类跨界交流变得更加有趣、更加有味道。

谢谢你,伦敦!让我们共同感受到了一次不同凡响的跨界之旅。再见吧,伦敦!让我们期待着彼此的再次相聚。

Translation…

Jiang Dong’s London ArtsCross Reflections 10: The Final Chapter — Bidding Farewell to London. Continued “ArtsCross”

On the evening of 11th August 2013, after all the items on the ArtsCross agenda had been completed, a farewell dinner was held in the front hall of London’s The Place theatre. Although for us Chinese food-lovers, the home-cooked family style Italian meal, of which the organisers were rather proud, was almost too unpleasant to swallow, everyone was in the best of spirits, and there was a nice group vibe. Of course, the sense of impending separation which we felt on the eve of our departure made everyone feel quite sad to be leaving. While bidding farewell to Chris Bannerman, the organiser from the UK side, I learnt that he would be visiting China in September. I immediately asked him whether he would be able to come to the Dance Research Institute to give a talk, and present an overview of the development of British contemporary dance. Although Chris agreed, he also said he thought the topic would be a bit of a challenge for him. Surely not? When I heard this I felt somewhat surprised. Surely an insider like Chris, who had observed the evolution of the London contemporary dance scene over a long period, would be able to say something on this topic? But this wasn’t a one-off. On the previous day, while watching a performance, I bumped into Donald Hutera, an American dance reporter visiting the UK, well-known in the London dance world, who had come down especially to London from the Edinburgh Festival to see. This old friend told me that the Edinburgh Festival organisers had asked him to give a report on the development of British contemporary dance to visiting international reporters. On first hearing this suggestion, he was also shocked, and couldn’t help asking himself inwardly who would be able to present such a report? The fact that both people had had the same reaction to this question was unexpected for me. Was it really so difficult to develop a comprehensive understanding of the state of British contemporary dance?

Of course, my time was limited on this trip to London, and I had clearly-defined objectives. As a result, I didn’t have the time to carry out my own observations and analysis on this question, and am therefore unable to answer the question with any authority. Nevertheless, seeing the full seats at the ArtsCross evening performance, I couldn’t help but feel optimistic about the attitude of London audiences towards contemporary dance. Chris had previously explained to me that tickets to the evening performance were made available to the public, and they all sold out very quickly.

But this feeling, and the blind optimism which it contained, soon suffered a sharp blow: a retired dancer from the UK’s Royal Ballet, also present at the ArtsCross evening performance told me that the Bolshoi Ballet’s performances, on at the same time at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, would continue for three solid weeks, with all tickets sold out for every performance. On top of this, the performances were of the traditional ballets, “Swan Lake” and “Sleeping Beauty”! What’s more, the ticket prices were very high, the most expensive performance tickets in London, at an average of over £100 a ticket… I was really quite surprised about this. So it seems that, counter to my earlier optimistic assessment, contemporary dance in London falls well behind classical ballet in terms of popularity.

Of course, the audiences who watch contemporary dance are totally different from those who go to see ballet. The popularity of ballet in London is clear for all to see, but this has not hindered the pace of development of British contemporary dance. Different people have different tastes, and it is natural that the fans of each should even come into conflict. This brought to mind the case of the Scottish-Australian choreographer Janix who once got into a fight with her ballet-loving father-in-law, and ended up scratching his face in an effort to defend contemporary dance. The degree of factionalism between enthusiasts of the two art forms, pronounced to the degree that they are unable to interact with each other, is somewhat hard to fathom. Of course, this situation did not pose any threat to the Sino-British collaboration ArtsCross. In a free and open environment like London, your own preferences are completely your own business. So the fact that ArtsCross was able to attract a group of spectators so passionate about contemporary dance is not difficult to understand. London is not a utopia for contemporary dance, but it does attract large numbers of international contemporary dancers who work and seek to progress here, and the contemporary dance scene which they have created in London through their hard work is impressive.

Looking upwards, I could see the bright, clear London sky, filled with white clouds. In this environment, where contemporary dance is flourishing, another ArtsCross session had come to an end. After the music had died down and the crowds had dispersed, we celebrated our success. At the same time, we were all looking forward to the next ArtsCross. After all, the vitality and sense of meaning which ArtsCross had brought to every participant was indescribable. We also heard enthusiastic noises from the British dancers, participating for the first time in this year’s ArtsCross. They were also eager to get back on the ArtsCross stage sooner rather than later.

Yes, I firmly believe that the ArtsCross door of cooperation will open once more, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, because we all need this kind of cross-cultural exchange, which makes the world more interesting and more colourful.

Thank you, London! You allowed us to experience a fresh cross-cultural journey. See you again soon, London! Let’s look forward to the next time we’ll meet.

江东伦敦跨艺旅思10:终篇—告别伦敦 继续“跨艺”

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