A multimedia dance/theater project, "A flower" & "Chronicles of a soundless dream" were presented on Sep 15-16 at Ho Chi Minh City's Le Thanh Theater.
The event, organized by the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, and Arabesque Dance Company, featured energetic and thought-provoking performances by contemporary overseas Vietnamese and Japanese dancers.
On one stage, Off-Nibroll's Mikuni Yanaihara & Keisuke Takahashi from Japan and Vietnamese-American Tiffany Chung explored the concept of human struggle, endurance, life, death and everything in between.
The trio were first brought together by Theatre Works Singapore for its 2007 edition of the Flying Circus Project. They immediately felt a profound artistic connection with each another and began to exchange ideas on potential collaborative projects.
The first result of this long-term process was an exhibition and performance entitled Fukawaga Shokudo, supported by Art Matters New York and Fukagawa Tokyo Modan Kan Gallery early this year.
This multi-media dance/theatre project is their second collaboration in which off-Nibroll's and Tiffany Chung's performances were presented to udiences in Vietnam for the first time.
"A flower" deals with the disaster in Japan on March 11 when many lives were lost to a massive earthquake and tsunami.
"Chronicles of a soundless dream" tells the story of a young man from Tokyo, who, after the death of his grandparents, comes across some intriguing tales about his father's hometown, a tiny hamlet in the Chugoku region of Honshu Island.
Through his grandmother's old letters, the young man becomes fascinated with her stories and begins to explore his own country's history.
Visual director Keisuke Takahashi of the Nibroll Company and choreographer Mikuni Yanaihara formed off-Nibroll, which mostly deals with the relationship between body and image, in 2005 to remove the barrier between audience and performers.
They fulfilled this idea by using small gallery spaces to maintain a close distance with the audience, and, furthermore, to form their creations with the audience in attendance.
Takahashi, as a solo artist, has created many visual installations and his work has been presented worldwide.
He received the MAM Contemporary Award from Mori Art Museum in 2004 as well as the Committee Recommendation Award from Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006.
He also created many TV and print ads for companies such as Adidas and FIFA, and produces many music videos as well.
Since high school, when she began to dance, Yanaihara has won numerous awards for her work, including the NHK Award at a national high school dance competition.
One of Vietnam's most prominent contemporary artists, Tiffany Chung is noted for her map drawings, sculptures, photographs, videos, and theatrical performance work that use a pop aesthetic to conjure hyperreal, candy-hued visions which reference both contemporary mass culture and the lingering resonances of historical trauma, according to a press release by organizer last week.
In 2012, her work will be presented at the Asia Pacific Triennale 7 (Queensland, Australia); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA; and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, USA.
Intrigued and inspired by the complexity of Japan's modern history, Chung's new dance/theater performance attempts to examine the modern society against its historical backdrops and cultural memories, well beyond the context of Japan.