Dam Van Huynh
Originally from Southern Vietnam, Dam Van Huynh is a UK-based dancer/choreographer. As a child refugee, his family and he fled Vietnam after the war and settled in the USA where Dam was raised. He founded his own company in 2008, Van Huynh Company. From the very beginning, his work was distinctive and reflected his deep interest in redefining the body and its movement capability.
In 2014 the British Council supported Dam’s research period in his home country Vietnam, allowing him to rediscover his culture through contemporary dance.
Following this experience, he has built new links with the Community Centre for Refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (VLC) based in Hackney – East London supporting the development of Centre 151 and becoming Artistic Director of the organisation in 2016.
He is also the Associate Director of Dance Bridges Festival – biennial dance festival taking place in Kolkata, India.
His latest work ĐẸP received the Asian Arts Awards for Best Directing 2018 and is part of Dam’s “Nude Series” in which he explores the many facets on the theme of the nude self: the physical form and the fragile self, stripped of inhibitions. This exploration marks a pivotal point in Dam’s artistic development as he embraces his cultural heritage in an attempt to get closer to an honest form of creativity and self discovery.
Dam graduated from The Boston Conservatory and has worked as a performer with various companies and choreographers including The Nevada Ballet, Merce Cunningham, Portugal’s Companhia de Dança Contemporânea – CeDeCe, Richard Alston and Phoenix Dance Theatre. He was appointed Artist-in-Residence at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts – HKAPA in 2010/12 allowing him to further develop his own methodology based on the division of the torso. His involvement with Dance United led him to be Associate Artist with the company in 2012/14.
He made his operatic directorial debut at Ultima Festival – Oslo in 2015 with Of Leonardo da Vinci in collaboration with Elaine Mitchener, David Toop and Barry Lewis. Over the years, he has collaborated with many composers, musicians and directors. He directed Industrialising Intimacy by Elaine Mitchener and was also invited to collaborate with Mitchener on a series of performances at the Wellcome Collection as part of This Is A Voice exhibition in 2016.
He recently collaborated with Tansy Davies during her Aldeburgh residency and with Dai Fujikura on Mưa (Rain), R&D for a movement opera inspired by Vietnamese water puppetry.
Dam regularly performs in gallery spaces and created a performance at The Hepworth Wakefield for an intervention curated by David Toop and Rie Nakajima around Allan Krapow’s YARD. He also worked with Nitin Sawhney, Es Devlin and onedotzero for a film production supported by the British Film Institute.
Dam’s recent creations are ĐẸP and Đẹp (Solo) which was awarded First Prize at Zawirowania International Choreography Competition. His choreographic works have been performed internationally and include commissions by CEPRODAC – National Dance Company of Mexico, HKAPA – Hong Kong, Unlock Dancing Plaza – Hong Kong, the British Museum, Adugna Dance Company/Gemini Foundation – Ethiopia, Fóramen M. Ballet – Mexico, Dance United, INTOTO Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, LC3 – The Place, Trinity Laban. He has also choreographed for Nuno Silva’s A darker Shade of Fado.
He regularly creates works for other companies and delivers workshops on his methodology around the world.