Tran Ly Ly introduces herself by handing out her CV and showing us a short video profile of her work, including One Day, and Eagle – Bitter Drop, which was created on what Ly Ly calls an “ethnic people” in only ten days, in the outdoors.
She shares that she was recently appointed vice principal of the dance school in Ho Chi Minh and shares the challenges she has encountered in managing the school, dealing with the cultural government agencies, sustaining interest in dance in Vietnam and creating work. Most of her introduction focused on the difficulty in creating one’s own work in her country, how contemporary dance is not accepted by the government and how it’s difficult to cultivate an interest in contemporary dance.
“And so collaboration is difficult,” she shares, “Like a workshop every time.”
The other participants ask her a bit about Eagle – Bitter Drop, which was challenging because of the short length of time she was given to create it, and her dancers weren’t trained dancers. However, they took to dancing hip hop well, and the pulse of hip hop was similar to their ethnic dance. “Every dance has connection,” Ly Ly realized. “This is because dance comes from life.”
Margie comments that very few people in Australia have the chance to choreograph on a large group of people, and in a short period of time, and Eagle is such an amazing effort. Ly Ly thanks Margie but shares that it wasn’t easy. One Day was criticized because she had used a piece of music and radio broadcast that she remembers from her childhood. She had no idea that there was a cultural association with Vietnamese people dying in some incident long ago, but Ly Ly wasn’t aware of this. She needed to defend the work for the government to allow them to perform it and it resulted in people discussing her piece a lot. This work made her famous, so now if anyone in Vietnam want to do something new, they ask Ly Ly.
Simon asks, Are the audience dancers or performers also? Ly Ly responds that most are artists – architects, actors, theater people, poets, musicians, but not so much dancers and not really people outside the industry. This is because people outside of art don’t know about the show, much less want to watch. But luckily, they are able to have full audiences at the performances.
Before coming to Australia for this dance lab, Ly Ly spent some time in China, to see their teaching techniques and hopes to apply this in her country. It is apparent from this short introduction that Ly Ly’s goal in her dance career is to raise the status and improve the conditions of dance in Vietnam.