Thursday, 21/04/2011 11:25

Local girls give burlesque a whirl

by Vu Lan Dung

Have a seat: Students learn chair dance moves under the instruction of dancer Pham Huyen Trang. — VNS Photo Lan Dung

Have a seat: Students learn chair dance moves under the instruction of dancer Pham Huyen Trang. — VNS Photo Lan Dung

HA NOI — Hanoian girls are flocking to learn chair dancing – an art form made famous by Ali (Christina Aguilera) and Tess (Cher) in the movie Burlesque.

Pham Huyen Trang, co-founder of ISIS World Dance Company on Ba Trieu Street, claims her studio was the first to hold chair dancing classes in Viet Nam in addition to old favourites such as belly dancing, salsa, flamenco and dance sport.

Chair dancing is based on cabaret and jazz. Dancers use a variety of props such as a chair, a pole, a mirror, a fan and occasionally with nothing to twirl or sit on. A chair is often used however and it doubles up as a partner.

Trang holds classes for beginners and those at an intermediate or advanced level. Trang said she does her own choreography and lesson plans.

"I realised there was a growing tendency for young ladies to want to show off their bodies. That is why I decided to open public classes after teaching some private groups. Students learn the most fundamental and simplest movements if they are beginners to build up their confidence. At intermediate level, students should listen and understand the music in order to nurture their creativity," she said.

Le Dieu Linh, a member of the Ha Noi Cai Luong (reformed opera) Theatre, took up chair dancing earlier this month after hearing about the new classes from her belly dancing teacher.

"I think chair dancing is very feminine and quite sexy. Although chair dancing is completely different from cai luong, it helps me better express my emotions," Dieu Linh said after attending her first lesson.

To chair dance, it's important students' bodies are relaxed so they can move to the tempo of the music. They are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes, "which make them feel confident", Trang said. "Chair dancers have to use their waist, hips and chest – the three most beautiful parts of the body."

Most students spend about two and a half hours a week learning chair dancing, for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy its entertainment value, some go to classes to meet people, while others think of it as exercise.

After nearly two months of learning chair dancing, Nguyen Thuy Linh, a student at Foreign Trade University, said she'd become fairly proficient. She's an ardent fan.

"Chair dancing makes me more active and sexy. I used to perform chair dancing at parties and on holidays, and my friends think it's great. Some of them plan to take up chair dancing themselves so they can keep up with me."

Nguyen Bich Hanh, a businesswoman, is at an intermediate level. She's an ardent fan of the musicals Chicago and Burlesque. "It is not difficult to create a performance with chair dance if you know some basic moves. Since I took up the dance I have never thought about quitting. When you are deeply in love with something, you never feel tired." — VNS

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