Written by Nguyen Hoan – member of the Proactive Audience Network PAN – Hanoi Grapevine
Photos: Kinergie Studio
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Coming to “Chật (Closed Space) 2:1:2” contemporary dance (performed by Kinergie Studio students on the evening of May 26 as part of the Performing Arts Spring Festival P.A.S 2019, the first thing that impressed me was the name of this performance, version 2:1:2.
Why 2:1:2? That was answered when I learned that this performance had 5 actors (5=2+1+2). The show has a dual dance by Minh Hai and Thanh Huong dancing together, followed by an impromptu performance of Tu Le and finally another dual dance by Thao Le and Hoang Ha.
The opening act was arranged to the stage’s diagonal axis. The dancers, Minh Hai and Thanh Huong, interacted through every look, every breath, every gesture. Each of their movement is smooth, rhythmic, symmetrical yet independent, when connected when separated on the melodious music background that they seemed to become one. Their performance received applause from the entire auditorium.
The stage lights went off for a moment to prepare for the second part of the show. Then in the dim light, curtains were let loose from the ceiling. And immediately, the light turned on. Tu Le appeared in a dress that just radiating freedom and liberty. The space on the stage was divided into two. There was a large space outside the area surrounded by the curtains, but the performers only moved where the light illuminated. The movements of their head, chest, shoulders, arms, hips, knees, legs are graceful yet energetic. From the liberation in movements from the open space and into the curtained area, the dancers continued to show their ability to adapt and to search, interacting with the narrow space with small movements. The sound used in the second part was also very rich, combined with the voice-over stimulating the dancers’ senses. Light shines through the fabric of the curtains, creating a strong visual effect. The performers seemed to have an environment to express their emotions. The dance moves were slow, then fast, strong and then gentle, again and again interact with the space around them, leading the audience from one story to another. When the sound stopped, the second part of the show ended to the audience’s applause.
The lights dimmed, and the curtains were removed to make room for the third act. Thao Le and Hoang Ha appear under the lights at the two corners of the stage. What I could immediately recognize was the contrast in the performer’s costumes – Thao Le in white and Hoang Ha in black. What would they perform? What caught the audience’s attention at the very beginning of the act is the background music – the strong, sharp, mesmerizing sound of electric guitar. On stage, the two dancers are performing impromptu, reaching out and above, in a small light space. It seemed like the contrast, the individual personality of each performer in the improvisation process will be the general idea, but was that so? In the small space of light, the performers gradually got closer, starting to interact, breaking the independence and contrast, gradually adapt and connect to one another. This intensified, then the two began to perform the same movements, interacting, communicating with body language. Connected, then disconnected. Their movements then lessen, slowed down and came to an end when the sound stopped.
The show concluded with endless applause from the audience and leave me with regret – why did the show end so soon, maybe it was because I was caught up in the flow of the performance without realizing it.
Photos from the performance:
Translated by Hanoi Grapevine