Meritorious artist Ngo Thuy To Nhu: I save all my love for ballet

Saturday, 2017-09-23 10:30:02
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Ballerina Ngo Thuy To Nhu in the ballet of Don Quixote (Photo: Arabesque)
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NDO – Study ballet at the age of four, Meritorious Artist Ngo Thuy To Nhu has had up to 40 years experience keeping balance on her toes with ballet slippers. Established as one of the best ballerinas in Vietnam and dubbed as the ‘Pride of Ho Chi Minh city ballet’, Nhu was honoured with ‘Meritorious Artist’ title in 2014.

After graduating from the Kiev Dance School in Ukraine, she returned Vietnam and worked at August Ballet Troupe, Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera (HBSO) and Arabesque Dance Group. She is currently working as a ballet teacher at the Vocational Ballet School of Ho Chi Minh City. Many of her students have become professional ballet dancers and won prizes at prestigious dance and ballet contests at home and abroad.

After years of taking a step back for teaching, Nhu will return to the state at the programme ‘The Ballerina’, which is scheduled at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House for two evenings of September 23 and 24.

On the occasion, Nhu granted Nhan Dan Weekly an interview in which she looked back on her four-decade career and the hardships commonly faced by ballerinas.

Question: Director Nguyen Ngoc Anh said that ‘The Ballerina’ is staged to honour Meritorious Artist To Nhu. How do you feel about this?

Meritorious artist Ngo Thuy To Nhu: I have to admit that I have never ever thought that someday there will be a programme dedicated to me. As for me, it is not an important matter. What is more important is that I have an opportunity to dance on the stage, particularly with my younger colleagues. I am happy to play any character in a ballet.

I want to extend my thanks to the programme’s organiser for awarding me an opportunity to realise my dream of taking the stage again.

After years of not performing on stage, do you feel any pressure before this show?

Understandably yes. In dancing, you have to practice every day to maintain your body form as and hone your techniques, but my practice has not been maintained regularly in recent years. My health is not as good as it was when I was younger.

Before entering the first days of practice for ‘The Ballerina’ ten months ago, I had just undergone a surgery. Although it is not serious, it affected my health in certain ways. However, when I am on the stage with young and energetic artists, my eagerness was reawakened and I desired to return to my youth. I do not hesitate any more. I think it is not necessary to take into account too many things. I want to dance, it is important. When I do it with all of my heart, I believe that I will overcome every obstacle.

Ballerinas have to work very hard for dozens of years before shining on the stage just for a short time in every programme. Do you think that it is worth the cost?

Yes, it is. A poet has said that “It is better to shine in just a minute rather than being a shimmer your entire life.” By doing what you like, what you love, what you desire is a meaningful way to treat your life.

What is the most charming feature of dancing that attracts you the most?

Dancing is not only the movements of your body, but also the art of body language. While people use words as a way of expression, dancers use the body. When you watch a dancer dancing, you can understand her characteristics. For me, dancing is my source of life.

No one dance is the same and each dance differs from performance to performance. Anytime I take on the stage, I feel a new experience to explore my self one more time. There are many dances that I have played many times, but they are still fresh to me. That is why dance is so interesting to me.

You have learnt about dance since the age of four. What have you gained and lost as a ballerina after nearly four decades?

I think it is an exaggeration to talk about the losses. I am happy while dancing. There are many things that I find difficult to share with others, but I feel such a relief when I am dancing. By dancing, I forget obstacles and loneliness in life. I save all my love for dance.

Although it has not brought me about richness yet and sometime I am exhausted on the stage which is seldom understood by the audience, I can live my life well with this profession.

Have you ever thought of quitting this job?

Yes, I have once. I wanted to turn to work as a graphic designer. At that time, I thought that there was few dance programmes, and a fewer audience that could understand ballet. My salary didn’t allow me to afford my life. However, I have received huge support from my parents to nurture my passion for dance.

Thank you so much for your sharing.