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Community-Based Choreography

Photo by Anne Marie Bloodgood

In October Ballet Austin II will present Quiet Imprint, New York choreographer Thang Dao's inspiring interpretation of personal narratives from the Central Texas Vietnamese community. Few know that Central Texas boasts the seventh largest Vietnamese community in the nation. The majority of this community lived through the Vietnam War, and Quiet Imprint is the story of their struggle to maintain a sense of humanity in the face of despair.

Dao writes:

“My ballet depicts the arduous journey experienced by the Vietnamese Diaspora through the perspective of the Vietnamese people themselves. Since I am a part of the Vietnamese Diaspora, the project has personal resonance for me and I feel that I can be a catalyst for encouraging my community to explore and express their stories.

I immersed myself in Austin's Vietnamese community as an interviewer and ethnographer, establishing a dialogue and a trust relationship with men and women who lived through the Vietnam War. I interviewed the Vietnamese Elders to document their journey of exile from Vietnam to America, and threaded their experiences with Vietnamese songs to create a linear narrative for my ballet.

I also used this time to introduce ballet classes to the Vietnamese and to investigate traditional Vietnamese dances. I explored the possibilities of intersections between these two styles through workshops with Ballet Austin II and the Vietnamese dancers, and ultimately began mapping out the structure of my ballet.”

Click here to learn more about Quiet Imprint via our multi-media interactive.

For more information about Ballet Austin II's peformance of Quiet Imprint, click here.


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