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Applause for choreographer Le Vu Long (July 25, 2003)

Reporter Nguyen Thuy Binh talks with dancer and choreographer Le Vu Long.

choreographer Le Vu Long
Applause for the modern dance show, Eye of the Storm, seemed endless at Ha Noi Opera House last weekend. It was Longís second modern dance show, as well as his career, which has also included successes in cinema.

Why did you use hearing-impaired dancers in Eye of the Storm?

I was really impressed by hearing challenged dancers performing in a modern dance when I was on a field trip abroad. They expressed themselves very well, not just because of their impairment.

I decided I needed to create a modern dance like that when I came back. I did not work with them out of charity. Creativity demands us to find things that are new, but not strange.

It is so difficult to say why I did Eye of the Storm the way I did. In this work, there were many reasons. Something urged me to do it this way.

Eye of the Storm is the right name for the show. It depicts life after a vicious storm.

What do you think when audiences are not interested in the art of dance?

There are many reasons. In this sense, dance has the same problems as other arts. But I think as society develops, people will enjoy the art more.

One reason is that people donít have enough arts education from their school days. Vietnamese people donít have basic knowledge about different kinds of art like dance, classical music or painting. Therefore they donít know enough to choose which kind of art they like.

Is it difficult to become a choreographer?

I studied choreography in France for two years, in 1999 and 2000. But I think these studies did not bring everything to me. Choreography is an inborn ability which one can not approach easily. Many people told me theyíve tried their best but cannot learn to become choreographer.

Art creation is not a specific thing you can study. The knowledge I gained from my studies was helpful, but the individual is the root of everything.

I donít understand why people call me a young choreographer. In art, age doesnít mean anything. For example, youth is necessary for classical ballet but it isnít right for modern dance. Itís quite different.

Whatís your feeling about young choreographers ?

They love their work but they have few chances to learn from talented choreographers around the world. Therefore they think ideas are new which were actually exploited centuries ago elsewhere. They have not created something new.

Thatís why Viet Namís dance is not recognised in the world. It is not a favourable situation for Vietnamese artists because foreign choreographers come to Viet Nam to teach, not to co-operate with Vietnamese dancers and choreographers.

Whatís the most difficult thing in dance? And whatís your next project?

The most difficult thing is also the easiest because the dancer can work with his body. It is both favourable and difficult for the dancer. Nobody knows what his body will be like tomorrow. Thatís very difficult. The dancer performs with his body, not like other artists who work with paper or cloth. He cannot force his body to work.

The body is affected directly by many outside factors like state of mind, health, weather and sound.

Iím afraid of imitation and reiteration in the art. I was given occupational secrets by famous artists. But they also told me, "I taught you everything in my work. Donít do it like me."

I was really puzzled for a long time about this. I used to work without thinking, or think but not produce any work.

Finally, I found Iím an individual who has changing moods Ė sadness, happiness, love and hate. And itís very important that I have my life. Why donít I express emotions with my body ?

I do not want to create any obstacles for myself which are difficult to overcome. Let me work simply and sincerely.

My wife and I will perform a duo-dance Dialogue in the International Modern Dance Festival in Maine, US, from July 26 to August 18.

It is under the project of arts investment for Mekong region countries. After that, I will come to New York to choreograph a dance which will be performed next March. But I have not decided whether to work with American or Vietnamese dancers. ó VNS

Reprinted with permission from Vietnam News Agency


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