Robin Becker, associate professor of dance, will take her original choreography, Into Sunlight – based on the award-winning book by David Maraniss – on a tour of Vietnam to commemorate the 20th anniversary of renewed diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States. Becker’s dance company will perform in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), sharing the stage with the Together Higher Dance Company of Hanoi. The tour is scheduled for September 22-30, 2015.
Professor Becker, also artistic director of Robin Becker Dance of NYC, has said that she hopes this project “will facilitate a healing for both sides, enhance mutual understanding, and build a deeper relationship between the people of Vietnam and America.”
Sharing in this adventure is a number of Hofstra alumni who are also Robin Becker Dance company members. Among them are Eddie Brito, Lisa Clementi, Chazz Fenner-McBride, Eileen Klugh, Nancy Louigene, Oisin Monaghan, Katherine Mayo, Nicole Sclafani, Julie Seal and Ricky Wenthen. Many of these dancers were part of the original Into Sunlight cast of when it premiered at Hofstra in 2011.
The creation of Into Sunlight was inspired by Maraniss’ book They Marched Into Sunlight, a nonfiction account of two days in October 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War and antiwar protests. Becker responded “immediately to the timelessness and universality of the themes and events he documented.” She then embarked upon choreographing Into Sunlight, through which she hoped “the universal language of the body would reflect the sense of healing and peace that David’s words evoked in my heart.”
The dance and Professor Becker’s and Mr. Maraniss’ collaboration inspired a three-day interdisciplinary conference at Hofstra in 2011, Into Sunlight: The Impact of War and Violence on the Social Body, From the Vietnam Era to the Present. Since its premiere at Hofstra’s John Cranford Adams Playhouse, Professor Becker has brought Into Sunlight to a number of different stages, including Georgetown University; the 92nd Street Y; Stony Brook University’s Festival of the Moving Body; Florence Gould Hall in NYC; West Point Military Academy; and Holy Trinity Diocesan High School, where it was the focal point of an extensive residency. It was also performed during a conference at the University of Wisconsin, a location that figures prominently in Mr. Mariniss’ book.
Robin Becker Dance’s partner on the tour, the Together Higher Dance Company, will perform Group of Individuals from their project Vietnam in the 70s, about the historic time of unrest during the late years of the protracted war between North and South Vietnam. It expresses through dance, the joy of reunion, and the postwar torment that made people loath to part with their home country, the confusion, separation, reunion, and farewell. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the unification of North and South Vietnam.
For more information on the tour, including opportunities to sponsor the performances and the dancers and to join the Robin Becker Dance company in Vietnam, visit robinbeckerdance.org. Hofstra alumna Abby Brenker ’11 has also filmed a documentary about Into Sunlight.