Linh Rateau is always glad to welcome new dancers, beginners or professionals, and artists from all genres to her school, the Dancenter in HCM City. She works as an artistic director in shows with the HCM City Ballet Symphony Orchestra, with the Charming Vietnam Show 2014, and with the upcoming Song – Life is a Game.
Culture Vulture talks to Linh about the hearts and minds behind the dance shows.
What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
When inspiration comes, imagination can go wild but the challenge is to find the right size and shape to turn your concepts into a real show. Another challenge is how to make the audience feel and therefore appreciate what is presented to them on stage.
What do you think about young Vietnamese dancers? What can we do to bring them to the international stage?
I'm very impressed by the rapid and positive development of young Vietnamese dancers for the last 10 years. They are hard workers and now understand more about the discipline you need to follow to be professional dancers.
I hope that Vietnamese dancers stick to portraying their own identity in dance and not copy what they see on YouTube if they want to get on the international stage.
It is not possible to not be influenced by international trends, but what makes me most proud is to see Vietnamese dancers bringing elements of their own culture into their work.
What project are you working on now?
Our next show is Song - Life is a Game at Hoa Binh Theater on October 4. Song will be a fantastic showcase of young talent of HCM City, from urban dancers to beat boxers, b-boys, graffiti artists and circus performers, to established Vietnamese pop and rock & roll singers.
The show is built on John Huy Tran's real-life story and we have every hope that it will make young people feel strong enough to believe that nothing is impossible.
As someone who runs a professional dance studio for young people and as an artistic director for many dance and entertainment shows in Viet Nam, can you tell us how your experience will help shape Song?
Every day from early morning to late evening, I watch dancers, amateurs and professional alike, dancing in our studio.
I see a lot of sweat, physical and mental efforts, and sometimes tears. But beyond that, I feel the joy, passion, excitement, and especially the persistent determination, among these dancers.
I see around me young people who don't have dreams, and I think to myself it is such a shame when young people don't dream.
I hear others complain about their life, yet do not make any effort to change things. That makes me feel sad for them. I believe that success doesn't come by chance but with hard work and ambition.
Everything happens so fast these days. You can become famous or rich in a short time but that is not success. It takes a long-term commitment, patience and sacrifice to gain success.
The ambitious intention of this show is to inspire the young audience, urging them to dream, to believe in their dreams, and to find the strength to make it happen.
What do you expect to come out of this dance show?
I think most artists are dreamers who dare to give even their wildest dreams their best shot. I'm happy to gather pioneers in their genre like Mr T, The Saigon Projects, Vietmax and Ha Le.
Debuting aspects of urban culture in a dance show on stage in Viet Nam, they were strong enough to start a movement on their own, and now are brave enough to share their passion with hundreds, thousands and millions of people around them.
I have my best hope that this dream team of young talent will fill the stage with a flow of urban creativity and personality that will excite the audience so much that they will believe that nothing is impossible. — VNS