As a dancer living in Japan, Michiyo Pham Nga has performed all over the world. Blowing in to Ha Noi on a fresh breeze she talks to Luong Thu Huong
about her experiences.
Inner Sanctum: Not coming from a dancing family (as your father works in the army and your mother is a traditional operetta singer), how were you introduced into this form of art?
I was taught dancing from a young age. At first, I had no interest or passion for dance at all. I just dutifully obeyed my mother by attending dancing class. Gradually, dancing became instilled into my blood without my notice. I realised that it had become my breath of life.
Inner Sanctum: What advantages did studying abroad in Japan at such young age bring to you compared with studying at home?
Studying abroad in Japan, where dancing receives higher respect than any other form of art and the people are resilient and energetic, I grew stronger and found a great deal of success.
There I also received more attention, in addition to eating and drinking more, so I became healthier. Furthermore, I was offered more opportunities to perform and earn a higher salary. For these reasons, I was able to reach the peak of my dancing creativity.
Inner Sanctum: Living far from home without relatives around while training intensely, did you ever feel exhausted and want to give up and return to your family?
At times when I was feeling tired, lonely and full of self-pity, I did want to leave school and return home. But because I was too young at that time, I didn't know what to do besides continuing to study. Finally the day came that my grief turned into a desire for something. It was then that started expressing my feelings in dance and in my work.
Inner Sanctum: In an interview, you said that you were only interested in strange and crazy things. How do you express this in your dance performances?
That was what other dancers and audiences have said about me. Now whatever I do, I always try to achieve three criteria "crazy, unique and beautiful".
Maybe craziness is my personality and way of life.
Inner Sanctum: What are your emotions expressed through dances?
I always want to integrate real content or a true story into dances. Even though the dances might only last for three or five minutes and the content transference is too short, I always try to express through my body language and feel my soul dissolved into the dances
Inner Sanctum: What is your greatest achievement in dancing up to now?
I have won more than 10 international awards and at present. I continue to go on tours within Viet Nam and work as a choreographer for professional song and dance companies.
Success is not solely based on awards. To me, my biggest success is achieving tam (a good heart and mind, a pure soul and sincerity). I have lived, studied, performed, and experienced many things and derive my happiness from the development of my tam. Despite my young age, my manner of behaviour has become more mature, composed and tolerant. Everything I do originates from my tam. I believe that as long as our tam is good, everything will be alright.
Inner Sanctum: What qualities must dancers who pursue contemporary dance have?
I think the necessary qualities are not too rigid; people have to try hard in every field they choose. That's enough. Of course, those who are utterly dedicated to their work will harvest more successes one day.
In my point of view, becoming a professional dancer requires an innate ability, professional training, patience, passion and some craziness!
Inner Sanctum: Having performed in Japan where dancing attracts a large audiences, did you feel shocked upon returning to perform in Viet Nam and seeing that audience as quite indifferent to this form of art?
I was very surprised during the first days after returning home because no-one watched the dances apart from my relatives and other dancers. Dancers in Viet Nam usually accompany singers, while in many other countries abroad, there are big dancing shows which are advertised even more than singing shows and their tickets are more expensive.
Inner Sanctum: Are you influenced by any other dancers in your genre?
My style originates from within myself. I am naturally crazy and not influenced by anybody else.
Inner Sanctum: Contem-porary dancing is still very new to Vietnamese audiences. What is your plan to increase your access to them?
I sill accept lots of invitations from Viet Nam, and look forward to holding my own show some day so that audiences can understand more about contemporary dance. I have a lot of plans but they are still my secret. Sooner or later they will be revealed! — VNS