Connections Through Culture (CTC) is an arts grants programme run by the British Council in the UK and East Asia. It was established in August 2019 in Southeast Asia to provide grants to residents of the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam from the following groups: Artists, Cultural and arts professionals, Representatives of art collectives, creative hubs, networks or organisations, and Researchers. For the 2020-2021 part of the programme, the British Council supports online collaboration projects between Southeast Asia and the UK. Available grants in 2020 in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It was created to further international face-to-face discussions needed to develop projects beyond initial expressions of interest. www.britishcouncil.vn
Sound Barrier (Working Title)
This collaboration between dance artists Dam Van Huynh (Van Huynh Company) and Ngo Thanh Phuong (MORUA) will allow us to answer the question “In the context of a pandemic, how can expression be shared when new barriers are being erected?”
We will experiment with the concept of physical sound art as a medium, especially the ways that sound blurs boundaries but also challenges hierarchies.
Sound, in this proposal experiments and operates simultaneously as something materially produced within social and technological relations and something interpreted and imagined. The project will dissect and question the voice, not simply as words uttered but instead as sounds shaped, heard, evaluated, and then collided together to form sense and (non)sense furthering an insistence on freedom of form and more importantly freedom of the self.
We will ask the performers to immerse themselves in the concept and embody it through the use of found objects, collected sound recordings.
Ngo Thanh Phuong – Choreographer
Ngo Thanh Phuong is a Vietnam based choreographer, performer and recognised leader in her field. Her work is steeped in a constant search for experimentation and pushing the boundaries of movement expression.
After graduating in 2008 from the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen – Germany, Phuong returned to Vietnam to collaborate with Ea Sola Dance Company. She then joined the acclaimed Arabesque Dance Company as one of their leading choreographers and started to collaborate with many artists across disciplines. She founded Open Stage Project, designed to help performing artists experiment with new ideas and connect with audiences. Her experimental work Erasable was supported by the Danish Cultural Development and Exchange Fund (2012).
In 2015, she cooperated with A O Show creators and participated in the choreography of The Mist. Over the years, Phuong has built strong connections and a shared vision with Lune Production’s artistic team. She now plays a central role as choreographer for Teh Dar, the latest cultural new circus spectacle of Lune Production.
Phuong received the Best Choreography Award in 2012 at the International Modern Dance competition in Korea. She is the recipient of various choreographic residencies such as Cleveland Foundation in Ohio, USA (2014); Asian Cultural Council fellowship in New York including a residency at American Dance Festival in North Carolina and a residency in collaboration with a composer at The Pocantico Center, USA (2016).
Since 2017, she focused her research on the relationship between native culture and contemporary culture, a bridge between traditional mind and contemporary life. She worked with the natives from Tay Nguyen highlands for Thoai and from Champa for Palao. In 2020 she founded MORUA Arts residency project based in Hoi An and her most recent work is X-Project.
Dam Van Huynh – Choreographer
Originally from Southern Vietnam, Dam Van Huynh is a UK/Hong Kong 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 dance company in 2008, Van Huynh Company. Dam was appointed Artistic Director of Centre 151 in 2016 – a vibrant hub for culture, arts and community based in East London. He is the Associate Director of Dance Bridges Festival – biennial dance festival taking place in Kolkata, India. His work is an implicit and ongoing attempt to synthesise the most dynamic and revolutionary facets of the dual aspects of his Vietnamese heritage and Western influences harmoniously informing a personal and creative expression.
Dam graduated from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and has worked as a performer with various companies including The Nevada Ballet, Merce Cunningham, Portugal’s Companhia de Dança Contemporânea, Richard Alston, Phoenix Dance Theatre.
As an award-winning choreographer, his works are performed internationally and include commissions from National Dance Company of Mexico (CEPRODAC), Unlock Dancing Plaza (Hong Kong), British Museum, Fóramen M. Ballet (Mexico). His latest creations include Đẹp, Under This Weight, Gesundheit! and Groovething.
Dam has collaborated with a wide range of composers including Elaine Mitchener, Martyna Poznanska, David Toop, Jamie Hamilton, Hannah Kendall, Tansy Davies, Rie Nakajima, Dai Fujikura, George Lewis, Jason Yarde, Laure M. Heindl, Matana Roberts. He directed his first opera in 2015 Of Leonardo da Vinci and has since then collaborated with Mitchener on commissions by MaerzMusik and Donaueschinger Musiktage. He worked as Movement Director for Tom Morris and Lee Hall at The National Theatre. Future engagements include: Van Huynh Company new creation Re:birth, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, creative residency with Festival Oriente Occidente.
MORUA ARTS PROJECT (MAP) is an independent, non-profit project founded by choreographer Ngo Thanh Phuong in January 2020. The first explosion of this art project is MUARUA – an artist-in-residence program focusing on performing/performance art in Hoi An, Vietnam. MORUA means “somewhere”, a symbol for the space-in-between, the space of experiments and process. MORUA is eager to create a focused space and time for arts practitioners to develop new works. MORUA is a moveable playground for choreographers and performing artists to develop their interdisciplinary works as well as to share their own movement methods.
Facebook Page: MORUA
Van Huynh Company
The company was formed in 2008 as a creative base to support Dam Van Huynh’s work and collaborations. Located in Hackney – East London, it is also the creative driving force of Centre 151, promoting arts/culture and community integration at every level.
The company aims to be a multifaceted hub where talent is nurtured and allow every artist involved to develop further. The wide range and variety of works produced by the company advocates for an inclusive dance community pushing the boundaries of contemporary dance.
An extremely versatile choreographer, Dam is interested in individual personalities and works across cultures with artists from diverse backgrounds.
Facebook Page: Van Huynh Company