Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States, is also one of the most culturally-rich cities in the nation. Vietnamese Americans have long contributed their cultural treasures to this melting pot. Some may say that the Vietnamese American community has traditionally shared its rich heritage in a "quiet" manner. This generalization belies the fact that the spirit of the Vietnamese American community has been built upon the backbone of a history that has been inevitably been forged by the Vietnam War, an event that changed many lives forever -- American and Vietnamese. Vietnamese Americans in Houston will benefit from learning about this event, as interpreted through dance.

VCSA proudly presents Quiet Imprint: a visiting New York choreographer’s interpretation of personal narratives from the Vietnamese community in Houston and Austin, Texas. Specifically, the work addresses those dispersed from their homeland and describe these emotions of the Vietnamese refugees through visual performing art.

As a direct result of a Princess Grace Foundation Special Project Award, Thang Dao, Khanh Ly, and Ballet Austin II have come together to develop Quiet Imprint: Dao’s interpretation of personal narratives from the Vietnamese community reflecting their war experience. Specifically, the work addresses those dispersed from their homeland (the Diaspora”) during and following the Vietnam War. The ballet depicts the arduous journey experienced by the countless displaced Vietnamese men and women who lived through the Vietnam War, particularly those who ended up in America. A key component of the project was Dao’s open dialogue with the Vietnamese elders, documenting their journey of exile, and then connecting them with the dancers of Ballet Austin II to allow for folk dance movements and stories to be directly shared. Dao worked directly with Women in America for Vietnam’s Education (WAVE) to more directly access the Vietnamese community. We hope to share Quiet Imprint with Vietnamese populated cities such as Houston, Orange County, San Jose, and Dallas with a work of art that bridges Eastern experiences through a Western aesthetic.

Dao’s production was inspired by, and grounded in Ly’s soulful and transcendent performances of beloved composer Trinh Cong Son’s music. Ms. Ly has long captured the hearts of her audience by conveying the mournful, yet poetic lyrics expressed in Son’s music. The late Mr. Son, who was an iconic figure known as the “Bob Dylan of Vietnam,” wrote many songs for Ly–his close friend and musical muse. For the exceptional production of Quiet Imprint, Ly will make a special appearance to perform live with Ballet Austin II. Ly will sing ten memorable songs that have cemented in the Vietnamese ethos. “We are honored to engage in this cultural experience that is directly reflective of such a rich part of the community we serve,” says Michelle Martin, Associate Artistic Director of Ballet Austin. The 2009 Special Project Award given to Dao by the Princess Grace Foundation funded the Quiet Imprint project. The Princess Grace Foundation’s mission is to support emerging artists in theater, dance and film through the awarding of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships. This honorary grant is only available to past Princess Grace Award winners and Honoraria recipients for uniquely significant projects that advance their artistic development. In this, Dao’s fourth collaboration with Ballet Austin, the choreographer was in residence at Ballet Austin for 8 weeks, conducting movement workshops as well as interviewing Vietnamese expatriates who fled their homeland to make a new life in and around Austin. Quiet Imprint is a choreographic narrative about the Vietnamese people.

VCSA would like to achieve the following objectives through this special program:
- To celebrate the richness of our culture by supporting a unique work that infuses the heritage of Vietnam and our Diaspora community
- To showcase the possibility of new artistic mediums and formats for American Vietnamese
- To celebrate the work of Thang Dao as an accomplished Vietnamese American choreographer in the American mainstream performing arts world.