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New Edition Of Standpoint Theories Will Hit Saigon This Month

Multi-disciplinary production company Standpoint Theories returns to Saigon with three performances of Legends of Vietnam: Remix, an evolution of last year's Legends of Vietnam. The new and improved production will delight returning fans as well as turn new audiences on to this one-of-a-kind homage to Vietnamese history and culture.

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When, in 2014, the creative collective Standpoint Theories set out to create an multi-disciplinary art project that would foster appreciation for Vietnamese traditions and work toward improving local and international artistic collaborations, they meant it. Last year's Legends of Vietnam was a hit, combining a live music and dance performance with 3D animations of six traditional Vietnamese myths and turning heads in Saigon's artistic community.

This year, choreographer, dancer and creative director Emily Navarra is back at the helm of a new, revived and expanded production, Legends of Vietnam: Remix. The original project began with Navarra’s interest in discovering Vietnamese history and culture. A resident of Vietnam for four years, the American transplant realized how little foreigners know about Vietnamese culture and how much has been destroyed in favor of economic and consumer interests.

Hence the Legends of Vietnam show. “This truly is a magical country with a rich history,” reads Navarra's artist statement. “Sadly, in the years that I've lived here, historical buildings have been knocked down to build skyscrapers, and statues of Vietnam's heroes have been removed, only to be hidden in museums that rarely have consistent attendance.”

For the project, Navarra and the rest of the Standpoint Theories collective worked together to fashion a live performance of electronica – composed and performed by the Saigon-based duo Space Panther – fused with traditional Vietnamese music and modern dance, all set against the backdrop of illustrations by Hoàng Trung, also known as HGNTRUNG which were then animated in 3D.

To see this as a simple modernization of ancient tales would be limiting. Legends of Vietnam: Remix is an ongoing project that strives to freely allow interpretations and creative input from various Vietnamese and international artists, including musicians Space Panther, Gareth Katz and Eric Meftha; animator and scenographer Julien Noyer; visual artist Daniel Day Long, illustrator Hoang Trung and costume designer Linda Mai Phung. This year's performance also adds the involvement of young Vietnamese dancers to the mix.

At present, Standpoint Theories remains in a class of its own: no other production in the city has such a broad artistic breadth as those staged by the creative collective. Standpoint Theories has also been accepted into the Amsterdam Fringe Festival and is now published in the Contemporary Dance World Almanac 2015.

Ben Thanh Theater will host Legends of Vietnam: Remix from October 15-17. For more information about the performances and tickets, click here.

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