Thursday, February 2, 2012

Together Higher: Vietnam's first contemporary dance company for deaf dancers

Charles Bailey recently introduced me to the work of Le Vu Long and Luu Thu Lan, the directors and choreographers for Together Higher, Vietnam's first contemporary dance company for deaf dancers. I found a documentary of their work, produced by Ensemble Films, which highlights their artistic work as well as the community-based workshops they conduct throughout the country in conjunction with their performances.

The work is aesthetically stunning, investigative, and innovative, as well as deeply integrated in the culture of the communities it addresses. This is a life goal of mine: to create a company that is as artistically aware as it is socially relevant. Mostly, I was impressed and humbled (seems to be a recurrent theme of my recent work) by the ease with which the company could transcend the "art"/"life" gap to perform in both a traditional proscenium setting with all the technical accoutrements as well as on the concrete floor of a local community center. This willingness to work in any environment in order to continue to do the work is key. I am excited about the potential of future collaborations with Together Higher, as well as mentorship possibilities, as I still have a lot to learn.

Together Higher (2005) from ensemble films on Vimeo.

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