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Choreographer Ha The Dung awarded France's prestigious dance diploma (December 01, 2003)

French Ambassador to Vietnam Antoine Pouillieute awarded France's National Diploma of Professor of Dance to Vietnamese choreographer Ha The Dung on Monday.

Ha The Dung, 34, composes ballet and modern dance. He works for the Vietnam Opera and Ballet Theatre.

"The certificate is really a professional green card," said Mr Dung. "I feel blessed with the recognition and so fair. It has paid off."

Mr Dung's signature works as a dancer and choreographer include Swan Lake. The Nut Cracker and Monsoon Dance. Vitality, his latest work, was performed at the opening ceremonies of L'Espace, Hanoi's French culture and education centre.

"People often say that there is something different about my work with its Western as well as Chinese style," he said. "And yes, they say that it is Vietnamese.

"I admire all people I have worked with. I am still discovering and I see good things in each of them."

Mr Dung graduated from the Vietnam College for Dance. His style is a blend of many artistic influences. He was first exposed to international dance technique by Regine Chopinot, a famed choreographer and the artistic director of the Atlantique Ballet Troupe. They met at the Hue Festival 2000.

"The diploma, France's most prestigious award for choreographers, is very hard to obtain as the holder must pass a series of tough tests," said Ms Chopinot.

Mr Dung heard about the diploma several years ago during a nine-month internship with Ms Chopinot's troupe. Ms Chopinot, impressed with his artistic skill, encouraged him to apply for a scholarship offered by the French government. The scholarship was a stepping stone to the diploma.

"Ms Chopinot offered me a lot of support," said Mr Dung. "She made me gradually believe in the fact that I could achieve this honour, which had been beyond my wildest dreams.

"Five months before the tests for the diploma, I felt like I was going crazy. It was terrific."

Mr Dung, Ms Chopinot and other Vietnamese artists have organised exchange programmes between the two countries.

Mr Dung is currently working on a project with Ms Ea Sola, a choreographer based in Paris. The Government named him a Meritorious Artist last year.

"I will start everything all over again," said Mr Dung. "It's like entering the final stage of my three life goals: to be a performer, choreographer and now, teacher."

Reprinted from VietNamNet


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