|Street scene: A street art contest held on Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in HCM City attracts thousands of residents and tourists. — VNS Photo An Phương|
HCM CITY — Thousands of pedestrians recently crowded Nguyễn Huệ Pedestrian Street in HCM City to enjoy a multi-disciplinary Street Art Contest featuring hip-hop dance, a street symphony orchestra, rock bands, a magic show and other performances.
Among 260 videos submitted to the organisation board in the last 12 months, 16 individuals and groups were chosen to perform and compete for prizes worth a total of VNĐ300 million (US$13,293).
Nguyễn Tấn Thành, a five-year-old who performed in the magic show, wowed the crowd by swallowing balloons and making a rabbit appear out of fire.
“My friends and I were having dinner nearby when we saw many people watching the show,” said Ngọc Công, 31, of HCM City. “It was difficult to have a good view, but we managed. They were all so talented!”
“It’s magical how street artists can bring everyone together,” he added. “I love the idea of performing in an open space. The arts should be for everyone to enjoy.”
Thu Huyền, 28, who also caught the show, had brought her son to watch the hip-hop dances, but was “thrilled to see the other performances, especially an artist playing instruments with his eyes. I seriously had no idea how he did it. Bravo!”
The contest, which encouraged street artists to promote their skills to the public, was open to anyone with the passion to perform.
Nguyễn Ngọc, a 27-year-old violinist from the Nguyễn Hòa Minh ensemble, told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper that though she initially studied to be a preschool teacher, she later decided to pursue a career in music.
Ngọc said that she had felt nervous and embarrassed when she first began performing on the street or at restaurants, but she eventually got used to the crowds.
“I have fun doing what I love,” she said.
Linh Trương, 26, who lives in Boston in the US, said “everything seemed so bizarre”.
“We have dancing performances here and there in parks or outside shopping malls at home, but we don’t usually have as many activities as this,” she said.
Unlike other contests, the Street Art event was held in an outdoor setting so that everyone could visit for free and support the performers.
Hà My, 40, said she had not planned to watch the show, but decided to take a look.
“Though I still have a lot of work to do tonight, you know, Tết is coming, so I enjoyed all the performances. I got a shot of energy, so I think I can survive the night!”
After the Monday night finale, an awards ceremony was held on Tuesday morning at Tuổi Trẻ newspaper’s office.
Since the first prize could not be determined, the panel of judges decided to hand out three second prizes, which went to Nét Việt Band’s Đón Xuân repertoire, The Crazy Kids Club’s Ngày Xuân Long Phụng Sum Vầy song, and Dương Hòa Team’s rock and hip-hop performance.
Two third prizes were given to Sài Gòn Flavour’s breakdance performance and Trần Thị Nhật Hạ - Quảng Bình’s Duyên Phận song.
The winners of the consolation prizes were Nguyễn Hữu Đức, Kim Tuấn, Nguyễn Văn Thường, Nguyễn Hòa Minh and Cỏ Ba Lá Band.
The top three audience vote-getters were Trần Minh Phương, who sang “Nhớ Biển Nha Trang”, Thanh Hậu – Kim Mơ, who sang Tình Nghèo Có Nhau, and Nguyễn Văn Lý, who miraculously turned coconut water into other beverages.
The event was held by Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper, Sen Vàng Entertainment and the HCM City Centre of Arts Performance and Cinematography. — VNS