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BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam

An enthralling new dance program comes to the airwaves.

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam

In the ongoing world of streaming entertainment, Theatre Dance Vietnam will present DANCING THROUGH... on Friday, October 30th at 8 pm. The virtual dance production will explore the last century of theatrical dance and the reach of the art form beyond the Broadway stage. The evening's entertainment is described as "Broadway meets Vietnam during a global pandemic." Featuring a cast of dancers from Broadway shows and tours, the show is helmed by Elizabeth Troxler with a team of nine choreographers providing dances for the performers filmed at The Tank by Tim Fuchs Productions.

So why, one might ask, is the editor of Broadway World Cabaret writing about a dance project featuring a cast of Broadway dancers?

Because I love dancers and I love dance, and even though this is a theater and dance themed program, I am always on the lookout for online entertainment for our readers, as well as a chance to help performers gain an audience. So, dear cabaret and concert fans, please join me in supporting these talented terpsichoreans and Theatre Dance Vietnam by tuning in on October 30th at 8 pm ET to see DANCING THROUGH...

After reading about the program, I was wildly interested, intensely curious about what a virtual collaboration between artists in Vietnam and artists in New York looks like, so I reached out to Theatre Dance Vietnam founders Linh An and Johnson Brock to get some insight into their company and the creative process being used to bring their upcoming show to the light.

This interview was conducted digitally and is reproduced in its entirety.

Linh An and Johnson, welcome to Broadway World and thanks for chatting with us today. Theatre Dance Vietnam was founded and created by you two in 2019 - how has the journey been with your new company, so far?

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam Johnson: It has been very international! We met in the halls of Broadway Dance Center, because I asked Linh to hold a curtain during a dance video project, then we connected on a love of bubble tea. Eight months later we were in Vietnam's capital teaching dance workshops together, doing interviews for Harper's Bazaar, and broadcasting our work on Vietnmese TV!

You met in New York and took your work to Vietnam, and your mission statement is "to promote Theatre dance in Vietnam and the world at large" - that quote is right off your website. As someone who lives in New York where theatrical dancing is a part of the cultural makeup, I'm very interested to know what theater dance is like in Vietnam and if it needs a lot of promotion.

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam Linh: Currently in VIetnam, the community for theatre dance is not yet largely popularized due to the lack of broadway musical exposure. However, some musicals are in the production process and we are working to branch out to these Theatre companies; for example: I am choreographing for Les Miserables for Vietnam National Opera & Ballet and another non-profit Musical production By Fragment theatre.

Besides that, only TDV is offering theatre dance courses (in collaboration with dance studios) in Hanoi; our students join simply for the joy of this dance style. There is not yet a demand for professional musical theatre dancers, so promotion for classes is always needed, but I believe It is more important to create more work opportunities which relate to theatre dance in order for people (especially the professional dance community) to see its practicality.

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam

What are some of the ways in which your company achieves its goal?

Johnson: We do a weekly zoom meeting to track our progress on projects and share ideas about the future. We both operate as "get it done" perfectionists. This helps us move forward with a high standard. We have disagreements often, yet respect each other enough to work through it. Cross cultural collaboration can be delicate. We started with a clear mission statement and a set of values: Teamwork, Quality, and Creativity. These values help anchor us when things get complicated.

You have a really exciting sounding online event happening on Friday. Can you tell me, in high-concept language, what DANCING THROUGH... is?

Linh: Let's pass it off to our Director Elizabeth Troxler for this question.

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam Troxler: Dancing Through... explores theatre dance over the last century. The show starts in Vietnam, where Linh An is teaching Broadway style dance to Vietnmese dancers. The Vietnamese dancers in our show are then taken on a journey to The Tank in NYC to watch the evolution of Broadway dance.

Online, the program is described as "a virtual collaboration between Vietnam and New York" - how was the virtual collaboration arranged and executed?

Johnson: Earlier in January, we had the idea for a NY premiere in Summer 2020 and we recruited Elizabeth Troxler to lead the project as Director. Then the shutdown came along...and stayed. So we adapted. I moved to London and Linh moved back to Hanoi, but we had already assembled a great team of choreographers with Director Troxler in NYC. Troxler was the driving force of DANCING THOUGH... , she is a director/choreographer who knows how to lead with patience and grace. Directing during the shutdown required immense flexibility, rules were always changing and people comfort levels were highly varied.

What can dance lovers look forward to seeing when they tune in to Dancing Through... ?

Linh: So many phenomenal dancers! These are the people we take class from at BDC and they are dancing and choreographing in a TDV show! Dreams are coming true with this production.

Troxler: Yes, a myriad of dynamic dancers sharing their joy of movement and exploring storytelling through dance.

During the show business shutdown, singers have been performing online, as well some actors - but mostly singers. With shows like Dancing Through... leading the way, do you think that more dancers and dance companies will be inspired to produce their own online content?

Johnson: I hope ALL ARTIST are creating right now. The world needs art. I think artists (and humans in general) can often embrace the role of victim in situations like lockdown, but it hinders one's artistic force! I encourage artists to create and push boundaries. Calling on ill equipped leaders and institutions to rescue the arts might feel good, but I do not see much hope in these forms of moaning. I hope artist can rescue the arts in thier homes, with their friends, in their local communities. Put on a puppet play for yourself, read a poem to your mom, sing to your plants, do a sexy dance in your room!

Where can viewers tune in to see the show, and for how long?

Runtime is under an hour, Premiere is Friday 8pm EST and the link will be live for 48hrs

Linh and Johnson, thank you so much for taking time out to share your fascinating project with us. I am very excited to tune in on the 30th.

Dancing Through... is made possible through the talents of artists listed below:

Directed by Elizabeth Troxler; associate director, Logan Pitts. Choreographed by Richard Stafford, James Kinney, Ryan VanDenBoom, Michael Mindlin, Kristyn Pope, Danielle Diniz, Andrea Brodine, Jill Kenney, and James Alonzo White. Filmed under COVID safety guidelines by Tim Fuchs Productions at The Tank, with lighting design by American Ballet Theatre's Brad Fields and Stephen Weeks.

Dancers include Morgan Marcell (Hamilton), Jessica Lee Goldyn (Hello Dolly), Aaron J. Albano (Newsies), Eliza Ohman (Hamilton), Dennis Stowe (Shrek the Musical), Caleb Marshall (Moulin Rouge), Jennnifer Gruener (West Side Story), Khori Petinaud (Moulin Rouge), Coral Dolphin (MJ the Musical), Kendrick Samuel (The Illusionists) Evan Kasprzak (Cats), Josh Drake (Aladdin), and Jovan Dansberry (King Kong).

Visit the Theatre Dance Vietnam website HERE

BWW Interview: Linh An And Johnson Brock of DANCING THROUGH... by Theatre Dance Vietnam

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