Bloomington Dancers rehearsal @ Ballet Department, IU Jacobs School of Music
Sunday, March 8, 2020 - 4 PM (Postponed due to Covid-19)
Musco Center for the Arts
Classic poetry, social conflicts, childhood memories, and food have inspired four multi-generational Vietnamese American composers. They all meet at Obsessed Pho More, a VASCAM production where you find phở, trance music, contemporary ballet and more.
Included are two special songs by P.Q. Phan about phở and nem nướng—the distinctive mouthwatering and sexy dishes of Vietnamese cuisine—and three others set to poetry Vietnamese people have long adored: a song by Khôi Đặng set to Thanh Tâm Tuyền’s poem, Chris Vũ’s song set to poetry by Hồ Xuân Hương, and Việt Cường’s well-liked Thu Điếu based on Nguyễn Khuyến’s poetry. Flying over two thousand miles from Baltimore to perform is Dr Carl DuPont, a vocalist equally engaged in performing, teaching, and research, whom The South Florida Classical Review has celebrated for his “dramatic, dark tones.” There is also participation from the community beloved soprano, Bích Vân. Loved for their roles in the opera The Tale of Lady Thị Kính by P.Q. Phan in the VASCAM 2018 production, both soloists are back premiering four songs in the program. Accompanying them on stage are Ngàn Khơi Chorus, and the Dior Quartet from Indiana. The latter, within 8 months of formation, have won the Bronze Medal in the Senior Division at the 46th Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. They also won the First Prize in the Strings/Piano Division at the 9th Plowman Chamber Music Competition as well as the Odyssey @ Bedford Walk Award.
Beginning its fifth year since establishment, VASCAM is fortunate to collaborate with Carla Körbes and Sarah Wroth. Described by the New York Times as “one of the most marvelous ballerinas of our day” Ms Körbes’ dancing “has an unmannered purity that epitomizes ballet as an art.” And, Sarah Wroth is a former Boston Ballet dancer and a passionate and committed educator. Both artists acknowledge that the new music featured in VASCAM production is totally different than that used in classical ballet. Yet, they welcome wholeheartedly the challenging and exiting opportunity bringing to it their combined dozens of years of experience, passion and love for the art.
Their contemporary ballet choreography will tell both familiar and little-known stories of Vietnam. One fatal night in Đà Nẵng during the war, amid desperate screams and blaring machine gun shots, a weak frightening cry echoed in the distance. There is a children’s musical game with trumpet-like instruments made from banana and coconut leaves; a dramatic court opera experience with the parents in rural Vietnam; the emersion of a Vietnamese American into a new society; and Vietnamese trance music. Young members of The Bloomington Dancers will perform to rich music that mixes energetic, playful, poetic, and alluring elements.
Obsessed Pho More is a journey into the Vietnamese and Vietnamese American heart and mind.
* We sold more than 500 tickets before postponement due to Covid-19. We were able to retain some rehearsal footage and share some with you here for a glimpse. Participants in the following video clips include two choreographers: Carla Körbes and Sarah Wroth, and six dancers: Mason Leigh Bassett, Alexis Rae Eicher, Sam Benjaman Epstein, John Harrison Grohmann, Kyra A Muttilainen, Caroline Victoria Tonks.