Danish Modern Dance in Vietnam

For modern dancers and their audience, the week of “Denmark at its Best” was an inspirational eye-opener. Danish ideas on modern dance and teaching methods were warmly welcomed by Vietnamese dancers and choreographers. Danes and Vietnamese alike enjoyed the modern dance competition at the Youth Theatre where the concept of letting the audience decide the winner was introduced.

Åben Dans
Students and teachers at the University of Cinema and Theatre, Military College of Arts and Culture, Vietnam Opera and Ballet Theatre as well as body art artists from the Youth Theatre in Hanoi met Ole Birger Hansen and Thomas Eisenhardt in workshops.
The two Danes are “late modern” dancers in the group “Åben Dans” and teach dance as well. An important lesson for Vietnamese dancers from the workshops with Åben Dans was how to create cooperation between dancers and how to let the body do the talking.
Åben Dans performed their show “Arms and legs – and something in between” in Hanoi and in Ha Long Bay. The performance is developed as a show for children and the humour of the performance was highly appreciated by both children and adults.

Modern dance competition
The highlight of the week was the Modern Dance Competition organised by the Danish-Vietnamese Cultural Development and Exchange Fund (CDEF). Seven ensembles from all over Vietnam came to the Youth Theatre in Hanoi to compete for votes from the audience.
The seven performances were highly different and used both Vietnamese elements for the costumes and scenography, but also fantasy creatures and fashion cuts with a global touch.
The audience were thrilled by the performances and the voting showed great diversity in the taste and preferences of the spectators, though the winners from Ho Chi Minh City gained a solid majority of more than 200 votes out of the total of 433 casted votes.
The competition gave the students of choreography and dance renewed encouragement to search for their own expressions. Teachers of modern dance highly appreciated the event, because it put the limelight on the modern style and gave the dance and dancers higher status.

Lectures on modern dance
Danish modern dance history was presented by Anne Middelboe Christensen. Students from the dance oriented universities and colleges watched excerpts from performances that changed their mind about what the human body can do and look like.
Vietnamese students were very enthusiastic about the teachings from Denmark and they highly appreciated the committed and lively teaching methods used by Anne Middelboe Christensen. The interest for creating more ties between Vietnam and Denmark was a clear sign of the successful introduction to what Denmark can do best.

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