Veteran ballet dancer and ballet teacher Cao Chí Thành. Photo hanoimoi.com.vn
Cao Chí Thành was the first Vietnamese person to finish in the top four at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition in 2005. He has also played starring roles for Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet (VNOB) and has taught ballet at the Việt Nam Academy of Dance for the last 10 years.
Hà Nội Mới Cuối Tuần (Weekend New Hà Nội) interviews Thành about dancer training.
What do you think about dancer training? Have you had many students?
Many people think it is difficult to earn a living in dancing. So not many people want to become a dancer. It is also difficult to apply to dance colleges.
In the past, there were much more entrances to dance colleges because dance students were supported. They did not have to pay fees and received scholarships. After graduation, they were also given jobs.
I'm not sure about the future of dancing because it is rare to find a person who is qualified for dancing and has natural talent, an ideal body and a passion for dancing.
I'm worried about dancing development if there no proper support policies for dance students.
You and your younger brother are dancers. But your brother quit dancing and became a businessman. Have you ever thought about leaving your job?
When I was young I could do anything I wanted. But it was quite different when I got married and have children. Now I have to think a lot about my job.
I have to do extra jobs at different places to earn a living for my family. I love my job very much but sometimes I feel guilty because my family members have a bit of a disadvantage.
I used to want to quit my job but I could not. I think it is fate.
Could you tell us about your extra jobs?
I run dance classes at studios and private classes at homes. These classes help me meet many amateur dancers who are studious and have a passion for dance.
Some of them learn to dance to support their efforts in other areas.
You and other dancers such as Lê Ngọc Văn and Đàm Hàn Giang are the pride of Vietnamese ballet. Văn has been a permanent dancer at the English National Ballet in London since 2003 while Giang is a leading dancer at the VNOB. What about you?
Each person has different opportunities. I think that devotion to ballet is the same no matter where you are.
After leaving the stage, I want to use all my experience and my knowledge and pass them down to the young dancer generation. I want to help young dancers to shorten their time learning and make them mature in their job because a dancer's career is not long.
Teaching dancing allows me to look back at my youthful years in dancing. It is great to see my students progress each day.
Who has been influential in your career?
My first teacher was Vũ Dương Dũng who taught and inspired me at the dancing school.
After learning dancing in Hong Kong I worked at the VNOB. I received helping and support from veteran dancers such as Hà Thế Dũng, Vũ Anh Quân and other colleagues.
You have been a teacher for more than 10 years. Do you have any talented students?
There is young dancer Nguyễn Đức Hiếu. He is working at the VNOB. I taught him during my time at the school.
Ballet is more special than other art genres. If you are a young and talented dancer you will be given a leading role. You will be recognised and nothing can stop your progress.
Hiếu was studious and always put in the effort for his roles. Whenever he needs help I'm ready. VNS