Retelling a love story step by dainty step

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French dance director Bertrand D'at revives the legendary love story of My Chau and Trong Thuy through a ballet performance titled Moi tinh thanh co (Love story in the ancient capital) staged in Hanoi on November 24-25.

The story has been presented many times in different genres, including cai luong (modern folk opera in the Southern Vietnam), tuong (classical theater form based on Chinese opera), and cheo (a form of satirical musical theater, often encompassing dance, traditionally performed by Vietnamese peasants in the north).

This is the third time the story will be featured as a ballet. According to People's Artist Pham Anh Phuong, the previous two instances, staged 30 years and five years ago, were not really ballets but miscellaneous forms of local dances.

Moi tinh thanh co will be the first genuine ballet about My Chau and Trong Thuy told from the perspective of a foreigner, he said.

The 90-minute, nine-act play, organized jointly by the Vietnam Opera Ballet Theater and L'Espace (French culture center) in Hanoi, will have 50 local artists performing.

Unlike the original story which is a tragedy, the play will neither focus on war, and has dream-like happy ending carrying a message of peace.

The legend

Beaten several times by his arch foe, King Trieu Da devises a new plan and negotiates a peace treaty with King An Duong Vuong.

He proposes a marriage between An Duong Vuong's daughter, Princess My Chau and his son Trong Thuy.

Trieu Da finds out through his daughter-in-law that An Duong Vuong has a magic crossbow that makes him almost invincible. Trong Thuy steals the crossbow and brings it for his father.

Trieu Da attacks Vuong again, and prevails this time. Vuong grabs My Chau, his only daughter, and flees the scene of the battle, but is told by a giant turtle that she was responsible for his defeat.

Enraged, he slays her. Trong Thuy, searching for his beloved wife, arrives a few minutes later at the scene. He draws his sword and kills himself in order to be with his wife forever.

Tickets of the ballet costing VND500,000; VND350,000; VND250,000 and VND150,000 are available at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien Street. (VNA)

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