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Monday, June 24, 2024

HBSO to revive contemporary dance show Cafe Saigon

By Bradley Winterton

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HCMC – HBSO has announced a revival of its contemporary dance item Cafe Saigon for a single performance on March 26 in the Saigon Opera House.

Cafe Saigon was created in 2018 when Netherlands choreographer Joost Vrouenaerts came to Saigon to investigate the possibility of making a dance show with HSBO dancers.

This eventually became Cafe Saigon, co-choreographed by Maite Guerin.

The show features 10 dancers organized as five pairs. One of the dancers also acts as a narrator.

The music is eclectic and includes Joan Baez, Louis “Sachmo” Armstrong, and two composers of accordion music.

This revival is especially good news as it signals once again the return of HBSO after the Covid-19 pandemic. First came the New Year concert on March 5. Now dance has been included in the resurgence.

Vrouenraets and Guerin used to run the Gotra ďance company in Maastricht, Netherlands together, but now Vrouenraets works independently as a freelance choreographer.

Vrouenraets returned to Saigon to create a new version of Igor Stravinsky’s 1915 ballet The Rite of Spring.

The Rite of Spring shocked its first audiences. They expected a lyrical romanticism that they associated with spring, but instead were confronted with a violent ritual ending in a human sacrifice.

In a sense Cafe Saigon mirrors this scenario. Rather than coffeeshop patrons politely sipping coffee, they see forceful dance routines in which the dancers wave chairs over their heads and fall off tables, to be caught by their colleagues.

Vrouenraets studied at Amsterdam’s School of Arts and Lausanne’s Rudra Bejart school. He subsequently joined the highly thought-of Bejart Dance Company.

In addition he has studied Tibetan Buddhism in Switzerland and worked at two Netherlands universities on the connection between Shakespeare’s Hamlet, human anatomy and madness.

This production of Cafe Saigon features HBSO dancers Tran Hoang Yen, Nguyen Thu Trang, Do Hoang Khang, Sung A. Long and others.

Cafe Saigon demonstrates how varied contemporary dance can be. There’s no way to predict what’s going to happen next.

Tickets range from VND400,0000 to VND750,000. The show begins at 8 p.m.

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