A contemporary dance featuring the Vietnamese ‘nón lá’ (conical hat) and traditional Vietnamese music will hit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City stages this month.
The show, titled ‘Non,’ is created by choreographer-dancer Vu Ngoc Khai, music composer Ngo Hong Quang, and producer Van Quy Ngoc Ai.
According to organizers, besides its blend of body language, culture and music played with traditional Vietnamese instruments, ‘Non’ deals with contemporary social issues such as the isolation of people in a technological age, the struggle for individual identity and the balance between preserving tradition and global integration.
Its concept is based on the idea and meaning of “round sky, square earth” reflected in the traditional Vietnamese ‘bánh chưng’ (square green rice cake) and ‘bánh dày’ (round white rice cake), which expresses the connection between Yin and Yang in Vietnamese folklore.
Moreover, the two cakes are said to embrace the elegance and subtlety of traditional Vietnamese culture, forming a line connecting ‘Non’s’ overseas artists with their origin, and helping them find the answer to the question: “Who am I in a strange foreign land?”
Through their dance moves, the artists hope to share their Vietnamese experience of living abroad for years, bestowing them with more love to the cradle of their birth, and more pride in sharing the features of Vietnamese culture with the world.
Another highlight of ‘Non’ is that the performances are 50 percent based on the artists' improvisations.
Last summer, the first run of ‘Non’ was embraced by a 400-strong audience in Ho Chi Minh City, while in December, ‘Non’ was performed in front of 300 people, including ministers, vice-ministers, and ambassadors, at an event on European development in Luxembourg.
Music composer Quang is currently pursuing his master’s degree in music composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in the Netherlands.
He is a traditional Vietnamese instrumentalist and music composer with an ability to play multiple instruments including the two-chord fiddle, monochord, mouth harp and K’ny fiddle (a musical instrument of the ethnic minority people from the Central Highlands of Vietnam) to name a few.
Quang has participated in many aristic programs in Vietnam and other countries including the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, South Korea, and Singapore, and has won many awards both domestically and internationally.
Meanwhile, Vu Ngoc Khai is an artist of the Staatstheater Braunschweig theater in Germany, and will work at the Phoenix Dance Theater, Leeds City in the United Kingdom from August this year.
He is known as an active and talented contemporary dancer through his performances in which he plays both choreographer and performance director including ‘Story of the Shoes,’ ‘Wood,’ ‘Tik Tok,’ ‘Morning Dew,’ and ‘Silk.’
He has worked in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany and has participated in many big events in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
'Non' was performed onstage at IDECAF in Ho Chi Minh City on June 13, 2015. Photo: Tuoi Tre
This month, ‘Non’ will be performed for the first time ever in Hanoi at 8:00 pm on July 21 at L’Espace in Hoan Kiem District, before returning to Ho Chi Minh City with two performances on July 26 and 27 at 8:00 pm at IDECAF Center in District 1.