The joys of joining the circus

February 27, 2022 - 09:23

Circus actress Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi, 28, of Phương Nam Art Theatre has been honoured as one of 14 outstanding young citizens of HCM city, representing the cultural field.


Circus actress Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi.

Circus actress Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi of the Phương Nam Art Theatre has been honoured as one of 14 outstanding young citizens of HCM City, representing the cultural field.

Vi, 28, won the first prize in the National Circus Talent Contest 2021 in Hà Nội with the performance of “The Colour of Lotus", which was awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Thanh Nga speaks with her.

Inner sanctum: How do you feel being chosen as an outstanding citizen of HCM City in the artistic field?

I'm very happy and surprised because the cultural and artistic field is very large and has many types but I was chosen.

Inner sanctum: How did you join the circus?

My path to the circus was one of fate. My family lived in the same hamlet with circus artist Duy Hà.

At that time, the HCM City circus troupe (later becoming Phương Nam Art Theatre) recruited a training class for the troupe. Hà asked my father if he wanted his daughter to attend  the course. My father nodded, so I, an eight-year-old girl who had never known what a circus was, followed adults into the circus troupe, starting my daily practice. That course lasted about two years.

Inner sanctum: I know that to perform a few minutes on stage, you have to train very hard. Can you tell me about your training?

The process of practising in the circus is more difficult than in other fields, especially the flexibility of the body. Usually, learners follow the subject of flexibility from an early age but I practised from eight years old, which was a bit late. 

The first technique I practised was bending backwards. It was very painful. Several times I nearly gave up. I was also busy at the same time with my studies at school, and it was difficult to arrange a time for circus lessons. But my parents strongly encouraged me to continue.

Later on, when I was able to do a few performances I fell in love with it.

Right now my spine is a bit deformed. Sometimes it's painful, but I have a schedule to perform so I must try. Even though I'm smiling on stage, I'm actually in pain and want to cry.


Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi performs at a recent event. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi

Inner sanctum: Can you tell me about one of your most memorable moments while performing?

I once was performing with an older artist I hit my head on the ground and lost consciousness. Also, it is easy to be shocked when I perform flexibility because when I bend my body, it can compress the nerves.

However, every time I perform in front of a large audience, the performances that I try so hard to practise are cheered and applauded by everyone, and my fatigue disappears.


Circus actress Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi (centre) has been honoured as one of 14 outstanding young citizens of HCM City. — Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Hồng Trúc Vi

Inner sanctum: What are the requirements to perform in the circus?

It is hard work and perseverance. Of course, if you have a talent for a certain area, you will learn faster and better. But if you are good but not persistent, you will not succeed.

Inner sanctum: Currently, few people learn circus arts and continue the career. What do you think about that?

I think it's not just the circus. Traditional performing arts are now also being pursued by fewer people. These subjects require perseverance and hard work, and young people now want to learn something faster and more modern, so these theatrical art genres are increasingly being lost.

In my opinion, to make those subjects more popular, they should be introduced in schools widely so that young people know about these subjects more deeply and broadly.

Inner sanctum: During the recent COVID outbreak in HCM City, you also participated in the fight against the pandemic launched by the Youth Cultural House, can you talk a little bit about the work?

Normally, I have a lot of activities in a day. The pandemic stopped all of them. I was very sad at home and outside, there was a lack of support staff. So, I joined the team of young artists who volunteered to prevent and control the pandemic launched by the Youth Cultural House. I assisted in coordinating vaccinations, buying goods to help people, distributing medicines and necessities in quarantine areas, and giving gifts to children at field hospitals.

Inner sanctum: What are your future plans?

With nearly 20 years of working in the profession, my happiness is to perform in the Vietnamese circus for domestic and foreign audiences, contributing to bringing circus arts closer to the public.

I aim to practise new and more advanced moves to bring better quality performances to the audience. I also hope to participate in the international circus festival this year. VNS