Nhan Dan (People) Weekly Newspaper had a talk with Yen in which she looked back on her career as a ballerina and shared her love for the artistic dance form.
Question: With around ten years working as a dance artist, how do you feel when you are on stage?
Ballerina Tran Hoang Yen: When I perform a ballet, I feel like I am living in a beautiful fairy world. When I perform a contemporary dance, it brings me into a more realistic world, which is more familiar with the life out there. Therefore, each dance creates a different world with different waves of emotions.
When I see my colleagues dancing on stage, it gives me mixed feelings. It is not only beautiful but also touching because I do know how they have undergone practice to shine on the stage.
For example, at our recent dance ‘Saigon Café’, when I saw a scene in which four male dancers holding four female colleagues and then they posed for a fall onto the stage, I couldn’t hold my tears back because to nail the pose, we had to practice from 8am until the evening and suffered a lot of pain. My colleagues even fell from a table onto the ground.
The stage and the practice floor are spaces where we share our youth and passion together.
Can you share with us some of the hardest experiences in your career?
Four years ago during the practice for the ballet ‘Baby Doll’, I suffered knee pain and doctors warned me not to dance anymore. When I heard about this, I felt like the ground was falling out from underneath my feet.
When I graduated from the Vocational Ballet School of Ho Chi Minh City after seven years studying, I continued studying international relations as my family’s advice. However, after three years of my study, I felt that I couldn’t live without dancing, so I decided to stop my current study programme and applied for the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra. I bet my life on it, what would I do if I couldn’t dance any more? What would my future be like? I was completely confused.
Whenever I am in a deep state of desperation, I try harder to overcome it and keep moving forward.
Another experience was that I was sick and doctors told me to stay at home for one month. But I get bored quickly by staying at home and doing nothing, so I came out every day to see my colleagues practicing. The love for dance is in my blood.
What is the charm of dance which makes you fall into it so deeply?
Dancers are unable to sing or speak to tell a story to the audience, they have to use their body language to express their feelings. There are many times my body is moving unconditionally and unintentionally. Sometimes I raise my arm just for nothing but it seems like something inside me urges me to do so.
People often cry when they are sad, but I dance in that situation. I turn on music and feel it. When I am dancing, I think of nothing and forget all about the sadness and sorrow.
For many people, the stage is a place where they truly manifest their ego. There are many things which are unspoken in life, but they can be expressed interpreted through body language on the stage. It is a privilege for a dancer such as myself.
It is said that dance artists are still struggling to pursue their career and maintain their passion at work as they seem to receive less appreciation from the audience. What do you think about this?
A few years ago, there were no more than two dance plays a year even though we practiced all year round. Ballet was also not popular among the audience at that time. I am the only one to pursue a dance career among students in my dance class.
Thanks to HBSO’s efforts for renovation, we now have more projects and have established a loyal audience, and life became easier for us. Nevertheless, the true value of dance has yet to be fully appreciated or welcomed by the audience, and the artists’ living is still difficult.
However, dance is my love, my life and my happiness. I keep telling myself that no matter if I am assigned as a soloist or a background dancer of the play, I always make the most perfect preparation for my performance.
Thank you so much for your sharing!