Love and Romanticism to dictate star-studded ballet show in Hanoi

By Thuy Linh, Thanh Nien News

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The sponsors and organizers of “Paris Ballet par VPBank” at a press conference at L’Espace on May 25, 2016. The show will be held on June 11 at the Vietnam National Convention Center in Hanoi. Photo: Thuy Linh 
Love and Romanticism in ballet are the special threads that will weave together the star-studded “Paris Ballet par VPBank” show to be held next month in Hanoi.
The event will take place on June 11 at the Vietnam National Convention Center. It is sponsored by the French Embassy and the French Institute (L’Espace) in Hanoi, organized by VPBank, and produced by media and event management company Opal Vietnam
“Paris Ballet par VPBank,” designed especially for Vietnamese audiences, will feature excerpts from nine ballets that best represent the classical Romanticist as well as Contemporary styles of French ballet, known for its elegance and refinement rather than its virtuosity.
Though ballet originated in the Italian courts during the Renaissance, it flourished and took its classical form in France, thanks to the efforts and talents of such men as King Louis the 14th and Molière.
Romantic ballet emphasizes intense emotion and often focuses on female dancers and features pointe work, flowing and precise movements while Contemporary ballet is much more open.
The nine ballets are Roland Petit’s "Carmen," Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s "The Nutcracker," Adolphe Adam’s "Giselle," Marius Petipa’s "Don Quixote," Jerome Robbins’ "In the Night," José Martinez’s "Children of Paradise," Ivan Favier’s "No, I Don’t Regret Anything," Roland Petit’s "Proust or the Heart's Intermissions," and Angelin Preljocaj’s "The Park."
The excerpts are selected to best showcase the love themes of the nine ballets as well as the most famous pas de deux (literally "step of two"), a dance duet characteristic of classical ballet in which two dancers, typically a male and a female, perform together.
The classical part of “Paris Ballet par VPBank” will be accompanied by live music performed by the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, a rare thing since ballet shows in the world are generally just performed with recorded music, according to Frédéric Fontan, the show’s art director.
World-renowned French pianist Henri Barda will also take part, playing Chopin for "In the Night."
The ballet will be performed by some first-rate stars from world-leading theaters such as the Paris Opera Ballet, the oldest national ballet company in the world, and the San Francisco Ballet.
The star dancers include Agnès Letestu, Mathilde Froustey, and Alice Renavand, whose mother is Vietnamese.
Eva Nguyen Binh, director of L’Espace, said it was this idea of organizing a ballet show with a dancer of Vietnamese origin that first made her interested when Fontan proposed it to her over a year ago.
Eva said she thought it would be a tool to promote French culture in Vietnam, though she also loves ballet personally. So she contacted VPBank, which, for the past three years, has been establishing itself not just as a sponsor but an organizer of high-class concerts.
Tran Tuan Viet, director of VPBank’s Marketing and Communications Center, said that by bringing top-notch, “authentic” world cultures (such as Richard Clayderman in 2014, Kenny G last year and this year “Paris Ballet”) to Vietnam to inspire people, VPBank hoped to be known as a cultural, responsible brand by the public.
Viet said VPBank had to actively seek out world artists because for various reasons, Vietnam was not their priority destination. Performance art here in particular is still a much empty field, he said.
For his part, Fontan, who has been creating “Paris Ballet par VPBank” as part of “Paris Dance Galaxy,” a global tour program that he and his company Alfalibra have been organizing, said he chose Hanoi as the first Asian destination of his upcoming tour. He was very attached to Hanoi and the partners here were very enthusiastic and determined to make the show happen, Fontan said.
His next destination will be Dubai next year and he is also considering Seoul.
Only 500 tickets out of the 3,000 seats available at the Vietnam National Convention Center, 57 Pham Hung Street, Tu Liem District, will be sold to the public. The rest are reserved for organizers and sponsors.
More information can be found on the event’s website and the official fanpage.

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