A Vietnamese legend was revived in a recent ballet Cay No Than (Magical Cross-Bow) by South Korean choreographer Chun Yoo-oh.
According to the legend, Princess My Chau was killed by her father, King An Duong Vuong, because she revealed the secret of his magical cross-bow to her husband, Trong Thuy , the son of Trieu Da, a Chin general who had tried to invade several times.to one legend, the king killed his daughter for her betrayal. The rest is history.
The ballet was shown in HCM City. It surprised spectators because Princess My Chau was not killed.
Culture Vulture interviews dance professor Chun, who has been living in HCM City for 12 years, about the ballet and dance in general.
Why did you change the ending of the legend in the ballet?
According to the legend, the princess was killed because of her betrayal. I really feel sympathy for Princess My Chau. In the ballet, a goddess takes the princess' spirit to an island nobody knew far away from Au Lac (Viet Nam) and comforts her.
With my love for the princess, I wanted to lighten the pain that she has to suffer.
I hope this new look at Princess My Chau will make people understand and feel sympathy for her. I think love is the only way to forgive and heal the pain.
Could you reveal why you chose the legend about My Chau to choreograph the ballet Cay No Than ?
I wanted to choreograph a work about Viet Nam. At the beginning, I intended to portray beauty of salt workers in coastal villages. When I discussed My Chau with my Korean colleague, he suggested I develop the story.
I'm delighted to have choreographed such a well-known Vietnamese legend. I wrote the script and directed the stage to bridge 2,000 years of time.
The legend My Chau is interesting because it resembles a similar story in Korea. In addition, I feel there is a connection between the Vietnamese legend and me, a Korean.
Through the story of Princess My Chau, I felt my heart become more open and enlightened.
You are working in a new ballet entitled Nhan Duyen Ngan Nam (Connection for a Millenium). Could you tell us about it ?
It will be a contemporary ballet about Prince Ly Long Tuong in the Ly dynasty in the 12th century. To avoid further bloodshed by the Tran dynasty, Ly Long Tuong left the country and stopped in Korea.
He received a warm welcomed by Kojong, the King of Korea's Koryo dynasty. He was a bright and heroic figure of the Koryo nation.
It is a real story in history. Recently, Prince Ly Long Tuong's descendant, the 31st generation descendant of King Ly Thai To, and a 26th generation descendant of Prince Ly Long Tuong returned to Viet Nam for the first time and burnt incense in the Ly dynasty temple in Bac Ninh Province to commemorate his ancestor.
It will be a dramatic story and features the relationship between Viet Nam and Korea in history. It will be a contemporary ballet with performances of a Vietnamese popular drama actor and dancers from the HCM Ballet Symphony and Orchestra.
You are studying Vietnamese traditional arts. Could you tell us the similarity between Viet Nam and Korea?
My study about Vietnamese traditional arts is not enough for me to make a comment. But I can say that when people watch my work, they can see what I feel about Viet Nam. I love Viet Nam as my second homeland.
I think it is fateful. I come to Viet Nam and it is a good chance for my art creation and studying Vietnamese culture.
Have you ever interested in dance activity here?
I love dancing. I have been living in HCM City for 12 years. I do business here but I always think about dancing.
Recently, I have been going to watch dance shows more frequently at the HCM Opera House. The contemporary ballets are romantic. I have been impressed by simple and plain dancing style of Vietnamese dancers. Their style is natural and makes a good impression.
In 2013, I knew that the Korean Ensemble Sinawi band were going to make an Asia tour, but not include Viet Nam. I tried to invite them to perform at the HCM City Conservatory with a view to popularising Korean culture in Viet Nam. — VNS