HCM CITY— Through her internationally acclaimed productions, Ea Sola has successfully introduced Vietnamese culture to audiences throughout the world; but this week she is catering to a local crowd with her latest work, Khuc Nguyen Cau (Prayer), which is being staged at the Hue Festival.
Ea Sola, who has a Vietnamese father and French mother, grew up in France after leaving Viet Nam when she was young. However, over the past 10 years she has based herself in Viet Nam, travelling the length and breadth of the country to gather inspiration from traditional Vietnamese music and dance.
Before Prayer, she produced Han Han va Con Mua (Drought and Rain) and Ngay Xua Ngay Xua (Once Upon A Time) which were both praised for the way in which they combined traditional and contemporary cultural styles.
The music in Han Han va Con Mua is based on traditional cheo opera while Once Upon A Time features tai tu, a form of 19th century folk music from the Mekong delta.
Prayer also features traditional music, with drums, gongs and other Vietnamese instruments being used throughout the production.
"Prayer is about lingering memories of war and expresses the pain of those who can not rid themselves of these memories," Sola says.
"Moments of peace are marked by the dancers’ prayers. "
Eighteen amateur Vietnamese male and female dancers make up the cast of the 65 minute performance.
Prayer is being staged in Hue until May 11 with further shows taking place in Ha Noi from May 21-23.
Ea Sola’s productions have been performed in major cities around the world including Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, New York, Chicago, and Hong Kong in addition to numerous shows in Viet Nam.
"I’ve certainly done one successful thing in my life," she says, "I’ve introduced Vietnamese culture to international art circles through my productions in many countries. "
"I left Viet Nam as a teenager when the country was at war. I love Vietnamese culture, I love everything related to the country and I feel pain when I think of its losses."
"I’ve linked all these emotions with my experiences of the people I’ve met here to create my productions, " Sola says.
"My work does not always go smoothly but I’m determined to overcome all difficulties and obstacles to reach my goal," Sola says recalling the debates in HCM City after she staged Drought and Rain in there in 1997.
"I never considered changing my style event though it was markedly different from the choreography of contemporary art staged in Viet Nam at that time"
While Sola has been awarded the Culture Medal by the Ministry of Culture and Information for her contribution to art in Viet Nam, it is the recognition from ordinary people that means the most to her.
"Audiences at home and abroad who understand and warmly receive my productions are the greatest reward for my years of work in Viet Nam."— VNS
Reprinted with permission from VietNam News.