Award-winning dancer and now choreographer Linh Nga has to balance her passion for performance and teaching with her new role as a mother. She talks to Luong Thu Huong about her latest production.
Linh Nga was one in two Vietnamese dancers professionally trained in Beijing Dance Academy at very young age and gained many dancing awards in China. Recently, on the occasion that lotus has been chosen as the national flower, she has held the liveshow "Sen" (Lotus), in which she is both the main dancer and choreographer. The liveshow is expected to be organised regularly until the end of this year as a cultural product to serve for both domestic and foreign visitors.
Inner Sanctum: The recent liveshow Lotus in January was held only after four months you gave birth to your first child. What motivated you to return to the stage so early?
Honestly, I did not intend to officially return to the stage for such an exacting show. However, it is such a very important show of the Bong Sen Theatre where I'm working, which have won high award in the national dancing festival as well as acknowledged by Guinness Record Book. I had planned and choreographed many of its acts before giving birth, so I have managed to participate in, instead of enjoying the preferential birth leave.
Furthermore, I have been taken great care at home, so at times I ponder whether life just goes on like that, and that's all I can do while many others are moving and creating. Fortunately, by pressing myself to return to the stage everyday with a ‘steel' discipline, my body has regained the flexibility to confidently appear in the show this time.
Inner Sanctum: The liveshow Lotus in January is different from the liveshow Lotus you performed in 2012. Do you think that you have been performed for this show as well as the previous one?
My latest Lotus show was planed more meticulously, with the participation of many artists growing up from Lotus Theatre like Vuong Linh, Tran Ly Ly, which is my motivation to get practised for the show despite all the difficulties of a young mother. There are many nights that my whole family have to stay awake for my new-born baby. But my work and passion for dancing have helped me to stay stronger.
Inner Sanctum: Is it not because you are afraid to be forgotten?
To be more exact, I'm afraid that I would get bored with my career if I stay at home too long. At my theatre, many young artists are worried that I would quit and stop teaching them. It is their naive speech that has prevented me from stopping, and fortunately, I have been managed to return. I know for sure that sooner or later, people will question if I either return to the stage too early or stop dancing. But what we desire is more important, isn't it?
Inner Sanctum: What was the biggest pressure coming back to the stage?
My biggest pressure is my health. I had to start from scratch for this show. After leaving the stage, all my limbs became stiff, and I even began to feel frightened when performing in front an audience. Only one month after giving birth, I had to resume practising to regain my flexibility.
Inner Sanctum: How was the music for the dance selected?
The music for the show is played by Nhat Trung, who has just returned from America, where he has been a familiar name to audiences in the show Paris By Night. The music was chosen for each dance act. It is both traditional and modern – and appealing to the audience.
Inner Sanctum: Are you satisfied with the success of the show this time?
It is true to say that we artists are ‘greedy' people, because we seem to never find satisfaction in what we have achieved, but always desire higher success. This is especially true of dancers who always strive to present better performances to the audience.
Inner Sanctum: It is said that you have longer plan for this show?
The recent two-night show just aims for introduction. The show is planned to perform in 24 more nights this year in Ha Noi, Hoi An, Nha Trang... and might be performed abroad in Russia and England.
If my previous shows, Vu (in 2011) and Sen (in 2011) aimed to invite my friends, Sen show this time is performed to sell tickets to support the artists financially. We don't want to produce a show of billions of dong and then put it away. Why can they spend hundreds of dollars to England to watch a Broadway play, or to Singapore to watch famous singers perform, while there is nothing to watch in Viet Nam? Ho Chi Minh City has become a popular tourism destination to many foreigners, why don't we expect that liveshow Sen will be performed repeatedly in the theatre as a means to introduce and broadcast Viet Nam's culture? That's not only my goal as well as of other members of the Bong Sen Theatre.
Inner Sanctum: What is your future direction?
It's time to orient the audience's attention towards my main career - dancing - rather than my personal life. I'm 28 years old now, and there's not much time left for my career. I used to expect to confirm myself and earn a living after studying abroad, but now I want to train and teach my successors. I will gradually focus on choreographing and teaching. — VNS