Modern concepts

Each element of the seventh holding of ‘Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance’ carries certain messages that showcase modern life.

By Story: Jessica Nguyen on October 16,2017 10:58 AM

Modern concepts

Photos courtesy of the festival organizer.

If art critics or stage directors or artists themselves think that ‘dance is the most accessible form of art’, that ‘this is a form of mass; high and easy to understand’, because ‘dance originated from human movement’ and ‘from the beginning, people know how to dance’, it seems that the birth of contemporary dance broke all the rules, definitions and concepts.

DANCE AND EXHIBITIONS TAKING PLACE IN OCTOBER INCLUDE THE ‘URBAN DISTORTIONS’ DANCE, PERFORMED ON 14 OCTOBER AT THE HCMC OPERA HOUSE, 7 LAM SON SQUARE, D.1, HCMC; ‘THE SMILE OF MUTATION’ EXHIBITION ON DISPLAY UNTIL 4 NOVEMBER AT L’ESPACE, 24 TRANG TIEN ST., HOAN KIEM DIST., HANOI; AND THE ‘SCULPTING THE BURROWS’ EXHIBITION, ON DISPLAY UNTIL 9 OCTOBER AT THE GOETHE-INSTITUT, 56-60 NGUYEN THAI HOC ST., BA DINH DIST., HANOI.  

‘Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance’, which is held annually, is the clearest evidence of this break. Starting in 2011, this first international festival of contemporary dance in Vietnam was an initiative of the European Union Network of Cultural Institutes and embassies in Hanoi, in cooperation with the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet, the Youth Theatre Vietnam, and the HCMC Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera.

The dance festival has gotten stronger and taken bolder steps. This seventh ‘Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance’ is taking place in both Hanoi and HCMC in September and October, coordinated by the Goethe-Institut with cooperation between Belgian-French and Vietnamese-German dance troupes as well as dancers from Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Canada. At this year’s dance festival, each of the dances carry certain messages that showcase modern life, such as healthcare, immigration, and science.

Dance dialogue

‘Black and Scholes’ is a dance directed and performed by Canadian-Vietnamese artist Kim-Sanh Chau and collaborators Maud Llorente and Erin Hill. It’s a combination of physiological movement and modern technology showcasing the movement, connection and disintegration of molecules within the human brain. On stage, the three artists describe the disintegration, attachment and disappearance under the effect of manual lights controlled by lighting designer Richard Houle. The name Black & Scholes refers to a mathematics and finance equation, for which its authors received a Nobel Prize in 1997. The essence of the piece is to confront structure and chaos within a body’s frame. It’s interesting to find that choreographer, dancer and curator Kim-Sanh Chau was trained as a dancer but also holds a master’s degree in finance. Her choreographic research revolves around the concept of structures, exploring the delicate corporeity that lies in their interstices.

In the dance entitled ‘Depression’, a new disease relating to modern life is in focus: mental health in Vietnam. With limited numbers of mental health professionals and access to up-to-date education, many individuals with mental health issues in Vietnam are not able to access proper care. Through the performance, the artists bring the idea of interplay between reality and imagination, exploring the inner world of the modern masses. Important information and guidance about this serious issue can be made available. The dance saw contributions from psychologist Anita North and occupational therapist Kuma Thach as movement consultants.

Modern concepts

Modern concepts

The ‘Urban Distortions’ dance is another reflection of modern society: mass migration blurring boundaries between nations and even boundaries between race and colour. ‘We are trying out a deciphering of the city, a system of urban reading and writing, with humour and a certain strangeness brought about as a result of decontextualisation,’ said the dance’s choreographer Emmanuelle Vincent. According to her, this is actually a dance project performed across the world. On the same foundation of the dance’s actions and props, in each country, the dance is performed in different ways. This unprecedented version, the first in Vietnam, is the result of collaboration between the French-Belgian dance company t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e and the Vietnamese rap star SUBOI, who will be on stage in HCMC.

In the dance, the artist does not wear ordinary dancers’ clothes but rather casual clothes that are seen on the street. The female dancers wear loose shirts with floppy pants and walking shoes, while the two main female dancers, in casual red jumpsuits, dance on a transparent oxygenated bubble. The dance showcases fragile and invisible borders people are unable to escape. And when the oxygen runs out, the ball falls down, which is the time that people die. Interweaving dance, music and visual arts, ‘Urban Distortions’ gives a poetic vision of the territory, questioning its physical and mental borders. What is a living space and how is it shared? How do we welcome foreigners and cultural differences?

The dance was created by the Hong Kong-based dance troupe t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e and performed by Emmanuelle Vincent, Ivy Tsui, Pierre Larauza, Charles Ngombengombe, Olga Ndaya Larauza and a guest dancer in HCMC.

Exhibition initiatives

Apart from seven dances, three exhibitions on dance and body will also enrich the festival this year. They show, among other things, that dynamic movements in a space can also become special new visual forms for the dance, either in stills or moving pictures.

‘Crossed Views’ presents the point of view of French and Vietnamese photographers on dance practiced both in Lyon and Hanoi.

Modern concepts

‘Sculpting the Burrows’ is an exhibition reflecting upon the dance piece Der Bau by dancer and choreographer Isabelle Schad and visual artist Laurent Goldring. The exhibition shows the way the visual work and the choreography combines to experiment in this concept of space and image. Six canvasses make the connection with four pieces, Untitled 1, 2, 3 and 4, where the fabric is used as a costume, the last artificial layer of skin and first enclosing space, and show how the body generates its own design.

The ‘Smile of Mutation’ exhibition offers a poetic vision of the Vietnamese territory undergoing transformation through the vision of three artists of French, Belgian and Vietnamese origin. They explore urban metamorphosis in a multidisciplinary way through painting, dance and installation. The three artists explore the theme of change in urban space from different perspectives: visual, dance and installation art. The scenery of Vietnam’s cities is illustrated in Truong Minh Thy Nguyen’s mural. The sun-jacket covered women on motorbikes become the muses for Emmanuelle Vincent’s dance piece. And objects dangle between fantasy and tradition in the installation artwork of Pierre Larauza.

All Comments (0)

Other news

Island dining

11AM, 06 October

The food found on Phu Quoc island is just as beautiful as the amazing scenery.

  • VnEconomy - Nhịp sống kinh tế Việt Nam và thế giới

Vietnam EconomicTimes © 2014. All right reserved

An electronic media of Vietnam Economic Times - Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam.

Other publications of the contents this website as well as their reproductions must be approved in writing by Vietnam Economic Times.

Editor-in-Chief: Professor Dao Nguyen Cat

Licence No 04/GP-PTTH&TTDT on April 23,2014

Head Office: 98 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay District, Hanoi

Tel: (84-24) 375 2050 / Fax: (84-24) 3755 2058

Email: info.theguide@tbkt.vn ; editortheguide@gmail.com