Festival spotlights modern dance

Update: September, 16/2014 - 08:35
Dynamic: Dancers perform Scarabe (Dung Rolling Beetle), one of the pieces to be featured at the contemporary dance festival. — Photo courtesy the Goethe Institute

HA NOI (VNS) — The fourth international festival, Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance, will be held from September 24-28 at the Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre in Ha Noi.

During the festival's five evenings, displays of contemporary dance will be given by performers from different countries of Belgium (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Germany, France, Japan and, for the first time, a Swedish-Finnish combo. Artists from the host country, Viet Nam will also perform.

This year the festival celebrates the co-operation between countries in producing contemporary dance. Germany and Belgium collaborated with dancers from different backgrounds to create a piece in Malaysia, and the French production comes from Singapore.

Almuth Meyer-Zollitsch, director of the Goethe Institute in Viet Nam, says that if this year's festival is anything like previous years, the audience will be in for a treat. "In the world of dance, creativity has no limits," she said.

The festival opens with Scarabe (The Dung Rolling Beetle) by Finnish choreographer Virpi Pahkinen. Premiered in Helsinki in 2012, the central figure of the dance, the scarabe, navigates a "magnetic memory field" to the tune of Japanese Koto strings.

Japanese choreographer, Yo Nakamura brings to Ha Noi the prize-winning Yokohama dance, Good Bye. Using scripts from Yasujiro Ozu's classic films, Tokyo Story and An Autumn Afternoon, Nakamura explores the gap between the characters' dialogue and their inner minds.

A collaboration between German choreographer Arco Renz and five soloists from the Viet Nam National Opera Ballet gives life to the billed piece, Ha Noi Stardust. The choreography envisions a dynamic encounter between classical ballet and a youthful Vietnamese society.

The French cultural centre in Ha Noi, L'Espace, will premiere Kublai Khan Investigations Dance Group's contemporary ballet piece, Your Ghost is Not Enough. The male-female duette will gives voice to the differences in the way the genders feel about each other and how they accept the other's genderised world. Choreographer Frank Micheletti places dancers, Idio Chichava and Sara Tan in front of a mirror in order to express conflict between their inner and outer worlds.

The Wallonie-Bruxelles troupe will perform two pieces, Havran (The Raven) by choreographer Jaro Vinarsky, and La Tour Des Vents (The Breeze Rustling) by choreographer Karine Ponties and Vietnamese dancer Nguyen Van Nam.

The Vietnamese choreographer Tran Ly Ly will round up the festival with a dance about the story of a man growing up during significant changes in society. These social tensions give rise to the character's internal conflicts which obsess him. The piece delves into the problem of how the individual self relates to society.

The contemporary dance festival has spearheaded a recent and growing awareness of contemporary dance in Ha Noi, said festival director Meyer-Zollitsch.

The festival is the brainwork of the Network of European Cultural Institutes and Embassies (EUNIC) in Ha Noi. It was made possible through the co-operation of the Viet Nam National Opera and Ballet and is again co-ordinated by the Goethe Institute.

Free tickets are available at the Goethe Institute, L'Espace and the Japan Foundation from September 17. — VNS