Dance Extrordinaire

Dance Extrordinaire


What a pity! What a pity echo my fellow balletomanes! What a great pity that a performance of contemporary dance as wonderful and innovative as that seen on Saturday night is only seen once. It deserved a week’s season at least and the local and expat culture vultures should have been clamoring for tickets. I was so enamored and impressed that I’d have been there on at least 3 more nights to soak up the magic and energy.

And my decided opinion is that the National Ballet can throw away the tutus and the old romantic ballets because, my oh my can the top females in the corp de ballet really dance!!! They sure can!!!

Since I’ve been an aficionado of the company it’s been the men who have stood out and the male principals can move it with any dancers in any major companies in the world. On Saturday night all the males were as stunning as can be and held me in thrall and for the first time, the females proudly equaled their male colleagues.

The first piece on the program, “Amnesia”, was on its second outing since early summer (I missed it then) and in my mind I equate it with enormous energy and innovative choreography on and around an eye catching geometrical canvas (say Mondrian meets Dan Flavin). The lighting plot was dramatic, the female costumes a wow factor and the modern music score intense.

The choreography was top notch and I liked the interplay of contemporary with a few minor hints of en pointe sticky taped appealingly around the edges. The men could have done without the cave man type outfits and would have been stunning in taut, grey and black pin stripe trousers and brief jackets… but in whatever they were decked out in they danced divinely.

I was so won over that I was on the edge of my seat wondering what creative moves, lifts, gymnastic swirls and erotic steps would come next. It was so good to see the dancers use the air and the ground so convincingly.

A bravo performance. The plot was completely won over by the bravura of the dancers.


To some exceptionally haunting music (I’m listening a fine CD of Bach’s cello suites as I write this and when I sit back and close my eyes I see swaying bamboo and bamboo leaves drifting down to coat a lyrical grove) contemporary dance in Vietnam reached a new pinnacle.

Thanks to the creative genius of young Swedish choreographer Pontus Liberg the magic of dance made you gasp in wonder.

“Bamboo Rain” is one of those creations that will probably become a part of the repertoire of a host of many contemporary dance companies and I have no doubt that organizers of international dance festivals will attempt to have this Vietnamese ensemble dance it on their programs.

The owners of cameras that were out in force to capture the essence of “Amnesia” were overcome by the wonderment of this piece and must have been as overwhelmed as I was with the beauty of the dance and music and softly raining bamboo leaves that few wanted to interrupt the sacrosanctity.

To say more is unnecessary except that if you missed it this time make sure that you have the best seats next time… and many, many thanks Pontus and your wonderful dancers. You have probably influenced the way the company dances for a long time to come.

Pure magic and a top ten Hanoian event for 2009!

Not a reviewer, not a critic, “Kiếm Văn Tìm” is an interested, impartial and informed observer and connoisseur of the Hanoi art scene who offers highly opinionated remarks and is part of the long and venerable tradition of anonymous correspondents. Please add your thoughts in the comment field below.


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