Huhmmmm project – Hanoi, Vietnam Day 1

I'm in Hanoi working with the Hanoi Dance Company on a project called Creative Cities, developed by the British Council.

I’m new to blogging, yes you read correctly, a newby. The reason being I just don’t have the time. So I’m not sure how long this is going to last, but here goes.

I’m in Hanoi working with the Hanoi Dance Company on a project called Creative Cities, developed by the British Council.

So the flight was long, it tried to stay awake as long as possible to drop into Vietnamese time, it worked. I arrived at 09.45, stepped out of the airport to be enveloped by a pillow of tropical heat, the temperature already at 29 degrees, that’s how I like it.

If any one has been to Hanoi before, your first realisation may have been the traffic, and that there are no apparent rules, but it works, it really does. OK so I saw two accidents within the first day, but no traffic jams, it really is like this, if you look carefully you should be able to spot me, I’m on the red motorbike.


I haven’t seen one bit of road rage, due to the chilled nature of the Vietnamese.

I had one day to adjust, but that was my time and I’m not blogging about that, but I did go to Lenin Plaza to watch the skateboarders, b boys (Mania Crew) and freestyle football, go if you are ever in Hanoi, there is a real community vibe there, it’s really inspiring.

Skip to 15/06/09, I met with the Hanoi Dance Company today, Duc, Hien and Ngoc they all trained in France in La Rochelle and Marseille, so our mode of communication is Franglais (bit of French, bit of English). We are making a site specific at the piece Go Dong Da (Mound of the Multitudes), legend says that Go Dong Da was formed by the bodies of Chinese soldiers killed after Quang Trung’s victory. When you watch the video below as you move up the staircase this is where the soldiers were buried, it’s high.

Quang Trung Nguyen Hue, (click to read about it). In short if you don’t want to read all of that, he was a farmer, who became king, due to his leadership in defeating the Chinese and freeing Vietnam, he is a national hero. It’s a really inspiring story of a normal man who achieved amazing things, because of his will and belief in himself and his people.

We had a really productive brainstorming session today, drinking ice tea, sheltering from the frog sized raindrops, that made the tarmac steam. We discussed images, meanings and objectives, it was one of those let it all out moments, the thoughts becoming words and images, the ancestors of action.

When you watch the video here…

…you will see the space in front of the statue is vast, so we are devising ways of filling the space with 20ft high pieces of silk, held up with helium balloons, we will project onto them as we glide them around the space, integrating it into the choreography. We are also taking inspiration from Requiem for All Wandering Souls and epic poem by Nguyen Du, one of the greatest Vietnamese writers.

One of the aims of Creative Cities is to allow local people to experience and get involved in the arts, within their immediate community and surroundings, by transforming public spaces into performance spaces.

I’ll post our first drawings tomorrow, stay tuned.

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