Vietnam


Hue, Vietnam

Hue, Vietnam

Using dance as a tool for cultural diplomacy, Battery Dance visited Hue and Hanoi, Vietnam in October 2015 for the US Embassy's Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Normalized Relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.


Dates

  • September 30 - October 21, 2015

    Sponsors

  • U.S. Embassy

  • U.S. Consulate General in HCMC

    Project Activities

  • 4 Dancing to Connect groups, 100 participants

  • Workshop at School for the Blind School for the Deaf, Quang Tri Province

  • Performance at Royal Theatre, The Citadel (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

  • VIP Performance (DtC and BDC Rep)

  • Public Performance, Dtc and BDC

    Partners

  • Hue College of Culture and Arts

  • HCMC-based dance company, Arabesque

    Venues

  • Hue City Central Theatre

  • Royal Theatre, The Citadel

  • Battery Dance’s team of seven used dance as a tool for cultural diplomacy in the US Embassy’s Commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Normalized Relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, returning to the country 10 years after its first national program in 2005 (which had commemorated the 10th Anniversary.) The program included an intensive youth engagement aspect coupled with various one-off outreach activities as well as high visibility performances, all of which garnered extensive local and national media attention.

    The program was divided geographically into segments in Hue and Hanoi. The Company’s first engagement in the central city of Hue was managed by the staff from the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC with strong support from a local contact of Battery Dance’s. Hue is a large city of historic importance that doesn’t normally benefit from international performers on the scale of Battery Dance’s program. Essential assistance in the form of the loan of a linoleum dance floor and all-around help was provided by the HCMC-based dance company, Arabesque, founded by Nguyen Tan Loc, who sent his acting director who stayed on site throughout the performance programs. Local governmental agencies facilitated the use of the performance venues and technical crew; and collaboration was Hue College of Culture and Arts.

    The second segment took place in the Capital City, Hanoi, where the Company had taught and performed in 2005. The PD Section of the US Embassy in Hanoi organized this segment. Both legs of the tour featured a similar array of programs anchored by Battery Dance’s Dancing to Connect workshops, which served over 100 youth in Hue and 70 in Hanoi, with two major performances in each City. In addition, there were 3-hour dance master classes offered at 3 institutions of higher learning in Hanoi; a workshop for visually and hearing impaired students in Quang Tri Province; a lighting workshop for 20 technical theater students at the University of Film and Stage; a visit to a State-run orphanage including a Battery Dance performance in Hanoi; and an interaction with Dao on Khanh, Vietnam’s leading avant-garde performance artist. The Embassy hosted a press conference with the musical recording artist Kenny G and Battery Dance; and the DCM hosted a reception for the Company and invited representatives of Hanoi’s dance community, conservatories and schools.

    Media coverage in Hanoi was extraordinary: VTV 4 broadcast a 9.5 minute feature on the Company that included interviews with Ambassador Ted Osius, Battery Dance leadership and staff and local students participating in the Dancing to Connect workshops. I hope we don’t have to wait until the 30th Anniversary of Normalized Relations to return.

    Vietnam, 2015

    Hue, Vietnam
    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Dates

  • September 30 - October 21, 2015

    Sponsors

  • U.S. Embassy

    Project Activities

  • 4 DTC Groups with 20 hours of workshops time

  • Press Conference - American Center

  • Performance at Birla Orphanage

  • Performance at Hanoi Opera House

  • Dance Master Class

  • Lighting Workshop

  • BDC, Dance College and 4DtC Groups

  • Dance College Theater, Performance by Battery Dance and 4 DtC Groups

    Venues

  • Hanoi University of Stage and Screen

  • Vietnam College of Arts & Culture

  • Birla Orphanage (Performance)

  • Hanoi Opera House (Performance)

  • Vietnam, 2015

    Hue, Vietnam
    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here as a part of an 8-day program in Vietnam serving as a cultural representation in recognition of the 10th Anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.


    Dates

  • May 18 - 22, 2005

    Sponsors

    Project Activities

    • 1 Opera House Performance
    • 2 Solo Project Performances
    • 1 Gala Performance
    • 1 Lecture/interaction: “International Collaborations in the Arts”, HCMC College of Culture and Art
    • 5 Master Classes

    Partnerships

    Venues

  • Hospitality

    Hospitality is at a premium in Vietnam. Bring gifts to reciprocate at least in some measure. Arrive at least 15 minutes or so before an event such as a master class or talk because there will often be a formality, a meet-and-greet with the directors of the school or institution, involving drinks and snacks. This can be a challenge for dancers who want to warm up and prepare to teach a class, but politeness requires it.

    Master Class in Modern Dance 1

    The directors and one or two of the dancers of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Company have had some exposure to the U.S. through a program sponsored by Dance Theatre Workshop. Several of the dancers have trained in Russia and France. The overall attitude was very welcoming and respectful. We learned an important lesson at this first program: that going for a master class in Vietnam is a big event, and that the formalities are important – be prepared to meet with the directors beforehand, share biographical information, establish mutual good will, present gifts (we had BDC Company t-shirts and brochures with us, luckily!). We were stunned not only by the fruits, elaborate flowers, gifts, etc., but also by the 25 foot cloth banner that was installed in the dance studio welcoming Battery Dance Company to the HBSO, with American and Vietnamese logos. We found similar treatment throughout HCMC, and somewhat less so in Hanoi. The heat was intense in the studio. Two BDC dancers gave a 45 minute technique warm-up, modern style, and then progressed to combinations, all of which were well executed by the participants. They were then asked to perform, so they each presented their solos which were accorded huge ovations by the Vietnamese dancers. We were then treated to three dance items from the HCMC Opera Ballet, including a traditional item in which a solo dancer carried a miniature golden temple on a platter while dancing, and two ensemble pieces. I was asked to approve the two items for inclusion in our program at the Opera House, a courtesy that touched me.

    Master Class in Ballet

    We visited HCMC Dance School, met with the directors and instructors and students in a preliminary get-together (again with much fruit, cookies and water) and the sharing of biographical information around the table by the entire faculty of the school and some senior students. The ballet master class was taught to approximately 50 students, observed by another 25 - 30 students and all of the faculty. The students acquitted themselves to varied effect. We spotted some problems in the training (students forcing 180-degree turnout that they were unable to support, leaning back, etc.) but because this was a one-time class, and with all of the faculty carefully observing, we kept criticism to a minimum and dispensed it light-handedly.

    Master Class in Hip Hop

    The same students who attended the master ballet class also participated in this short hip hop class. Teens are teens anywhere in the world, so the students who had looked stylized and elegant in the ballet class immediately morphed into urban toughs with the requisite attitude and posturing in order to approach the material the teacher gave them. All gathered around at the end for the obligatory group photos.

    Solo Project Performance

    We all adjourned to the school’s auditorium for a presentation of Solo performances by 3 members of Battery Dance and 3 dance items by the school dancers. Then the BDC dancers (and Jonathan) learned the Bamboo Pole Dance, traditional Vietnamese folk dance, causing much hilarity among the participants (we had to hop down a line of dancers who were slamming bamboo poles together – staying in rhythm and placing our feet properly, or else risk having our ankles slammed!)

    Master Class in Modern Dance 2

    The second modern master class was taught at the HCMC Theatrical Company attended by 25 dancers, professionals and amateurs, ages 19 – 25. These skilled dancers represented a pretty high level of modern technique. This group was led by a choreographer whose talent and artistry was immediately apparent through the short ensemble piece that his dancers showed for us after the master class. He has visited New York’s Dance Theatre Workshop and is very open to collaboration and interaction. Many of his dancers were familiar to us as they were also members of the HBSO and had taken part in the first modern master class the previous day. His group is an independent company and suffers the indignities and challenges of neither having official recognition nor funding. They perform for corporate events and the like in order to bring in whatever revenues they can, but it appears to be a mostly self-supported effort at this point (despite its extremely high level.)

    Matinee Performance at the HCMC Opera House

    The program included 4 works by Battery Dance Company straddling two works by the HSOB Company. We were gratified by a full house and generous applause. Comments during and after the performance indicated that the audience was sophisticated and varied in its taste. Holding hands with our colleagues from the local HSOB in the final curtain call felt great!

    Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia 2005

    Perth, Australia
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Hanoi, Vietnam

    Battery Dance Company worked and performed here as a part of an 8-day program in Vietnam serving as a cultural representation in recognition of the 10th Anniversary of normalized relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.


    Dates

  • May 22- 24, 2005

    Sponsors

    • US Embassy Hanoi
    • Citigroup Vietnam
    • Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel
    • Singapore Airlines

    Project Activities

    • 1 Opera House Performance
    • 1 Gala Performance, 300 audience members
    • 3 Master classes

    Partnerships

    Venues

  • See Ho Chi Minh City, Vietman 2005 for Lessons Learned.

    Ballet Master Class

    A ballet master class was taught by the Battery Dance Company at the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet with approximately 20 students participating. The teacher was very impressed with their technical proficiency and Jonathan was complimented by the VNOB administrators and teachers afterwards on the warm attitude and generosity of BDC’s teaching artists. The implication seemed to have been that some previous visiting artists had shown a more formal, less giving approach.

    Modern Master Class

    A modern master class/workshop on contemporary dance was conducted with Together Higher, a hearing-impaired group led by Le Vu Long & Luu Thi Thu Lan, both of whom have been to New York under the auspices of DTW. The participants were wonderful – they approached every challenge with good spirit and effort, and succeeded admirably. The BDC teaching artist dealt with the new experience of working with disabled dancers quite well and forged a good rapport with the participants.

    Hanoi Opera House Performance

    Before the Hanoi Opera House Performance, welcome speeches were given by John Boardman, Chargé d’Affairs, U.S. Embassy; and Nguyen Van Tinh, Vice Director in the International Relations Department of the Vietnam Ministry of Culture and Information. The welcome was followed by a full program of 4 works by BDC and 2 works by the VNOB. The Opera House was relatively full and the response was excellent. Lou Lantner, Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, commented afterwards that the applause was more prolonged and hearty than any program he had attended at the Opera House since arriving in Vietnam. Ambassadors of Spain, Mexico, the EU and various other diplomats attended the performance; however, the audience was predominantly Vietnamese.

    Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia 2005

    Perth, Australia
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
    Hanoi, Vietnam