Happenings - 11/29/17

A New Type of Performance Art Comes to Saigon

Written by Hive Life

Founder of Urban Dance Group John Huy Tran and Sabra Johnson, season 3 winner of America’s So You Think You Can Dance, team up to bring a dance performance unlike any other in Vietnam, redefining how an audience experiences a show.

The founder of Urban Dance Group (UDG) John Huy Tran and Sabra Johnson, season 3 winner of America’s So You Think You Can Dance, have teamed up to create Between Us, a contemporary dance performance featuring Vietnam’s most talented young performers guaranteed to leave you in awe. The unconventional show will not take place on a stage, but rather at a local art gallery, allowing the audience to connect with the dancers in a more meaningful way and introducing a different, intimate presentation of dance to Vietnam. Dancers will perform on the floor surrounded by the audience, connecting the two in a way most performances do not, which is what Between Us is all about.

John and Sabra met in 2016, much to John’s surprise. He remembers, “10 years ago, I was watching a TV show (So You Think You Can Dance), and I saw this energetic dancer [Sabra]. I thought to myself, ‘I have to meet this girl. I don’t know how, I just knew we needed to meet.” Sabra travelled all over the world dancing, and was planning a trip to Vietnam. “And, one day, as I was reading my emails, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” says John. “The very girl that I saw dancing on TV had been wanting to meet ever since, emailed me.”

The two hit it off immediately when John introduced her to Urban Dance Group. “Meeting John and UDG changed my life. I decided to move to Vietnam and immerse myself in dancing here. I got the opportunity to create my first dance show, and that’s how Between Us came to life,” Sabra adds.

John and Sabra’s show strips humans down to our purest form, drawing attention to the distinctive layers that create us. As Sabra explains, “layers of dreams and desires, secrets and fears, weaknesses and strength.” The hour-and-twenty-minute performance explores the importance of revealing our honest, real selves and how that truth affects everyday relationships. “Each person has a unique journey, and it is that unique voice that we want to express. That is the voice between us [humans].”


John started Urban Dance Group John in 2009 with the vision of “helping educate young dancers in hopes of advancing their future with dance and to create a space for dancers to learn creativity from other young Vietnamese dancers and, last but not least, working together to set a new standard for dance and performance art in Vietnam.”

Of all of Urban Dance Group’s performances, John is especially proud of Between Us and the unique experience it creates for the dancers and the audience. The ability to perform on the same level as the audience, rather than being elevated on a stage, forces the dancers to think about more than just the movement of their bodies. “Facing the audience directly can make us [dancers] more nervous,” he explains. “That challenges us to be more confident to have a successful show. It also inspires improvisation and creativeness. Each time we perform the show, it will be different.” The audience’s ability to see the dancers so closely creates an element of acting, where the dancers must recognize their facial expressions as well as each move, creating a deeper connection.

A dance performance that doesn’t take place on a stage is still a novice idea, especially when the show is a full-length production. “We chose the space (The Factory) because we want to challenge ourselves and we want to give the audience a new way to see dance because it’s not a common method,” Sabra continues, “When you watch the show, you’ll feel that you’re there. The dancers speak to you individually and it feels very intimate.”

Tickets to Between Us are still available, so don’t miss your opportunity to experience one of Vietnam’s most unique performances of the year.

Get the details on Facebook
Date: 1.12.2017 & 2.12.2017
Time: 6:30pm & 8:30pm
Address: The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC
Price: 1.000.000 vnd
RSVP: Reservations@dancentervn.com
Tickets are also available for purchase at DanCenter, 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, Vietnam

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