At a press conference held in Hanoi on April 14, Thanh revealed that the special show was inspired by ‘tuong’ (traditional Vietnamese classic drama) during which dancers utilise their body language to tell the human journey seeking belief amid uncertainty things in life, and what keeps them from being lost in this journey is traditional cultural values.

Audiences at the show will be enthralled with a contemporary art space imbued with the art form of ‘tuong’, experienced through the colours red and black on the stage, background music, costumes and the dance movements of performers.

Notably, the music in the show sees a collaboration between female electronic musician Luong Hue Trinh and drummer Luong Van Quy from the Vietnam Tuong Theatre.

‘Than’ was developed from a 20-minute dance of the same name Thanh performed at the Hanoi Contemporary Dance Festival in 2019. The 50-minute show is arranged across three chapters, featuring performances from Nguyen Duy Thanh and three young talented contemporary dancers including Tran Ngoc Minh, Dao Nhat Vy and Vu Ngoc Bao.

The artists had to meet and learn from ‘tuong’ artists to get a deeper understanding about the art form, thus conveying the “spirit” of ‘tuong’ on stage through their movements.

Dancer Nguyen Duy Thanh (centre) at the press conference held in Hanoi on May 14 to introduce his ‘Than’ show (Photo: Hong Ha)

Therefore, ‘Than’ is not just simply a dance event but also an opportunity for audiences to grasp a more multidimensional approach of the encounter between tradition and modernity.

The show’s stage has been designed in a minimalist style with the aim of focusing the audience’s attention on the performers’ body movements and stirring the viewers’ imagination.

According to stage director Dang Xuan Truong, the stage is set up with a rectangular box weighing about 70 kg. The wooden-framed box is covered with paper outside to create a highlight effect.

During his performance, Nguyen Duy Thanh will interact with this box to convey his messages to the audience, something that is a challenge for him.

The ‘Than’ show will be staged at the Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre, 14 Ngo Thi Nham street, Hai Ba Trung district in Hanoi on May 15.