Culture Culture

10/11/2021 - 08:14

Arduous is dance career

Despite being a short-living career, dancing requires demanding and strenuous training. Thus, dancers, in addition to talent, must also have vigor and diligence to be able to pursue their passion.

The shining moment of the dancer Nguyen Ha Tam Thuan

Rigorous training

Ever since childhood, Nguyen Ha Tam Thuan (born in 1993) has loved the art of dancing. The performances on the school’s stage instilled in the heart of the little girl the dream of becoming a dancer.

Thuan's dream was nurtured when, at the age of 15, her mother let her take a dance class at the School of Culture and Arts. After 4 years of rigorous training, Thuan was offered a position at Hue Opera and Arts Performing Theatre and became one of the theater's promising faces.

On stage, the young actress dances gracefully with dainty legs,  captivating movements, and striking facial expressions... However, behind those sublime moments on stage is a training process of "sweat and tears".

Tam Thuan confided: "To perform a piece of about 3 minutes, dancers have to practice for a month. The difficult movements have to be repeated many times, to the point that the body is bruised”.

Gifted and passionate, Tam Thuan was born to dance. When she practices, she is so passionate that she forgets the time. All of her inner strength is put into the movements, so sometimes after practicing, she could not walk straight.

Thuan said, with difficult choreography, especially the technique of male dancers holding up female dancers, they must coordinate smoothly. Just a slight deviation will result in an accident. At first, she was not used to the rhythm. Many times, she fell and hit her head on the dance floor or dislocated her arm or leg... Despite the hardship, the thought of giving up never crossed her mind. For Thuan, the joy of standing on stage is the motivation to overcome many difficulties of the profession.

Dancers have to practice every day to have a flexible body

According to Outstanding teacher Cao Chi Hai, Head of Vietnam Dance Artists Association in Thua Thien Hue, dance art uses body language, movements, and facial expressions to tell stories and convey the message of the work to the audience. Therefore, it requires the artist to have a flexible body and skilled dance techniques. To achieve this, they must work hard every day. With group dances, each dancer must coordinate rhythmically and evenly in movements and nuances with others. Solo dancing requires expert skills.

Affirming the hard work of dancing, Ms. Nguyen Thi Hien, a teacher of the Theater and Dance department, School of Culture and Arts, said that from the moment they entered the school, they had to get used to "pain" during training. Sometimes at 1-2 am, they are still "rolling" on the floor; their bodies are painfully stretched, squeezed, and bent. Many times when I witnessed the strenuous practices, I would feel so sad. I would hug my students and we would cry together. For those with natural talents, it's less burdensome. But for those students whose bodies are not yet flexible, this process is torture. Without effort, suffering, and passion, one will not be able to pursue this profession."

Lack of performance opportunities

To pursue the art of dancing, actors/actresses must achieve the following qualities: beautiful body, flexible body, expressive face suitable for the work, ability to listen to the correct music rhythm... The ideal age to learn dancing is at the age of 12. A dancer usually studies for 2 to 7 years.

The Outstanding teacher Cao Chi Hai shared: "Dancing is quite demanding to one’s health. A dancer who wants to be successful must first love his/her job, possess professional skills, have good manners, good moral character and have good working conditions. The collective element for dancers is very important.”

Love for the profession is a key factor for dancers to stay in the profession because, in addition to hard work, the artist suffers many impacts. With a short-spanned career and low salary, it is not easy for dancers to pursue their passion. They have to work hard in school but once graduated, it is very challenging to find work when the staff vacancies at Hue Opera and Arts Performing Theatre are limited.

Moreover, Hue is yet to have an environment for dancers to compete and promote their forte in a professional direction. In the performing arts programs, almost every performance includes dance, but most of them are just accompaniment dances. There are no performances specifically for dance and dance plays have yet to be performed, apart from the plays set up for the competition.

According to the Outstanding teacher Cao Chi Hai, in big cities, dancers have a lot of opportunities to perform in programs dedicated to dance. In Hue, although the dancers are beautiful and have good professional skills, they do not have many opportunities to compete in the profession to shine. There is no environment to perform, so many talented artists have to choose to settle down in the southern provinces.

Tam Thuan expressed that dance artists in Hue do not have many opportunities to freely perform. The art programs mainly focus on singing and dancing, and most of the dance performances are just accompaniment. There are very few separate dance pieces, and they are often interwoven in art shows. There is almost no independent dance plays or dance programs, so artists have limited chances to improve. This is also a disadvantage for dancers.

Story and photos: TRANG HIEN