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Overseas Study Trip For HKDC Dancer 2020
First stop: Centre Nationale de la Danse in Paris
An Art Expedition in Europe
Sponsored by the China Merchants Foundation and supported by the Hong Kong Dance Company, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go on a study trip in Europe to take dance masterclasses and watch performances. Throughout three weeks in three different cities, there was so much to take in – the art, the people and the vibes were priceless to me.
In late February 2020, I flew to Paris from Hong Kong. I visited theatres, museums and galleries in search of classical, modern and contemporary art. I was mind-blown by some of the performances there. I performed in a dance festival presented by Centre Nationale de la Danse (CND) two years ago. It's a culture hub for artists to research, develop and share their works. I was so excited to revisit CND again to attend their professional classes.
A refreshing outdoor workshop at Centre Nationale de la Danse, Paris
In the second week I continued my journey to Amsterdam and did more dance classes at The Henny Jurriens Studio, where I have strongly enhanced my contemporary dance technique. I visited the three most famous museums in Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum. The museums have different collections of arts, ranging from poetics to politics, and from mythology to ecology which made me think how art should be presented and what I, as an artist, should create. I think this would become my artistic practice core values when I create and develop my own art pieces in the future.
The third city on my itinerary was Brussels. By that time the virus outbreak was getting more serious in Europe. I spent most of my time at Tictac Art Centre – an alternative art center founded by renowned artists David Zambrano and Mat Voorter, who are passionate about art and the world. Their works are amply manifested in the art space. Tictac invites different artists to give workshops periodically. I attended Sophia Rodriguez's and Marta Coronado's workshops which enlightened me both physically and mentally: one was about creating your own solo, what you want to execute and how to find your own voice; the other explored the intensity of movement with Release Technique. I was planning to stay for another week at Tictac but on 14th March the Belgium government enforced emergency lockdown measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. All art sectors had to be closed until further notice. I had no choice but to leave Europe and put an end to my expedition on art.
Marta Coronado’s Release Technique workshop at Tictac Art Centre, Brussels
It was a pity that my trip had to be cut short. Still, I have already connected with so many amazing people and shared my ideas and technique with them. I hope that in near future we could collaborate or have a conversation on art or any recent findings. I am grateful for this journey and I sincerely hope the world would heal quickly so that all artists could get through this tough time with the company of art. I also look forward to executing all my artistic practices into a dance or performance soon.
- Ong Tze Shen (Dancer, Hong Kong Dance Company)