Viet Nam News
Choreographer Tuyết Minh will debut her second show Úm Ba La in September. It is a contemporary show combining dance with circus acts. All performers of Úm Ba La are award-winning circus artists from Việt Nam Circus Federation and talented performers from dance competitions.
Born to a traditional art family, Minh was destined to become a dancer. She won second prize at the Việt Nam National Talent Dance Competition in 2001 and the top prize at Young Choreographer Competition in 2007.
She speaks about dance in Việt Nam and her show Úm Ba La.
Many of your fans have followed you since 2000 and say they were sad to see you leave the stage and become a choreographer. What would you say?
I don’t regret stopping dancing because my work still relates to dance. I receive many invitations from show organisers to choreograph dances. I always love to work for Vietnamese audiences. I have become attached to dance over the past 20 years.
I regret that time flies so fast and I didn’t try my best when I was younger. Anyway, my effort was recognised by the profession. At that time many people were shocked when I brought historic Vietnamese characters to the ballet stage, but my ballets were a milestone in Vietnamese dance.
It is really difficult to tell history through movement. But it is my passion. I think all the people want to leave their footprint on the world and I’m not an exception. I want to tell daily stories through the language of dance. I want to exploit the beauty of Vietnamese culture and soul with a view to popularising Vietnamese culture.
When I had the idea to set up Chiến Thắng Mùa Hoa Đào (Victory in Peach Blossom Season) dance I went to the central province of Bình Định to meet historians and listen to their old stories. Reading and researching was not enough for me. It is neccessary to go on field trips to experience and understand more about the culture and history of each area.
It is a fact that many ballerinas have to convince themselves to perform contemporary dance such as hip hop to earn a living. Because of this many end up quitting the profession. Have you ever felt like you wanted to give dance up?
No, I have not. Dance never bores me. It helps and energises me. I can’t give dance up because it is my breath and my life. Audiences just see artists on the stage, rather than the hard work and their sacrifices behind the curtain. I have experienced the ups and downs of a dancer that makes me respect young talented dancers and want to support them.
I see that all dancers who have a passion for dance and are enthusiastic have a stable income and comfortable life. I think some others cannot earn money because they have not made good use of their talents.
I believe that dance will be paid strong attention in Việt Nam in the future. I’m trying my best to give more and more opportunities to young talents.
What exactly can you do to encourage young dancers?
I’m ready to do everything to put on new dance shows. I can be one link in the chain, such as an investor, art director, choreographer, designer, technician and even administrative worker to produce a ballet. Last year, my show S-Tour, was successful. It was held for young dancers who won on a television reality show entitled So You Think You Can Dance.
I did the show to introduce and popularise talented Vietnamese dancers to a large audience. The show included contemporary dances which attracted young viewers. Through the show audiences had a chance to see get to know more about the hard work of dancing.
I’m also doing my second show entitled Úm Ba La which will combine dance and circus performances.
I plan to open a dance centre where I will co-operate with foreign counterparts to license the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD)’s certificate. ISTD is one of the world’s leading dance examination boards.
Could you tell us more about your second show?
I remember fairy tales I was told by my grandmother. There always was something magical in the stories, which children like me dream about. When we grow up the wonderland no longer exists. It is true that we have to make great efforts turning our dreams into reality.
I made Úm Ba La to remind audiences of their childhood. I’m certain all people had a wish when they were young. The show will be simple, featuring a vision of a child. It is about illusions, and the discovery of deep human feelings through dreams.
Was it difficult to combine dance and circus performances?
Frankly, I’m inspired by talented circus artists and dance students. They are really talented and I think that I have to do something for them. We have been rehearsing for two months. I’m asking the artists to perform with a new style. They must have physical strength to overcome difficulties and dance in a long show.
To produce a show doesn’t depend on just money. I’m lucky to receive support from my team which includes established artists. I hope the show will encourage audiences to appreciate dance. VNS