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Hanoi's 10 Must-See Events and Festivals in Summer 2014
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Hanoi's 10 Must-See Events and Festivals in Summer 2014

Picture of C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia
Updated: 9 February 2017
With its winding alleyways, colonial architecture and rich streetlife, Hanoi is a treasure trove of Vietnamese art and culture. Unlike the serene Mekong delta in the south, Vietnam’s northern capital buzzes with energy, and there are art exhibitions, traditional festivals and music events taking place in the city’s numerous museums and cultural centres. We’ve picked out ten of the best events in Hanoi this summer.

Art | ‘The Unravelers: Adventures with Mathematics’

1-31 July

The Unravelers: Adventures with Mathematics is an initiative of Jean-François Dars, Annick Lesne and Anne Papillault, and takes place at the French Cultural Institute in Hanoi, L’Espace. The show is a collection of photographs and articles by great scientists taken and written during their stay at IHES (Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques). The scientists reflect on their lives, their work and their scientific disciplines. Among them is Vietnamese Professore Ngo Bao Chau.

Institut Français de Hanoï – L’Espace, 24 Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Việt Nam , +84 4 39 36 21 64

L'Espace - Frontieres
Courtesy of Frontieres

Theatre | Theatre Frontières

28 June

Les Rémouleurs are a theatrical company known for their inventiveness and their theatrical tools, such as marionettes and Chinese shadow puppets. In this show, they join forces with a traditional Thai puppet theatre company, Ban Silpa Khang and Empty Space Chiang Mai. The traditional story represented in Frontières recounts the odyssey of a bird looking for a new nest and is accompanied by a musical poem composed by percussionist Francesco Pastacaldi and multi-instrumentalist Ajan Ko. The show makes use of magic lanterns, fantastic displays of light and visual effects.

Institut Français de Hanoï – L’Espace, 24 Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Việt Nam +84 4 39 36 21 64

Music | Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra MOZART

9-10 July and 27-28 August

The new cycle of collaboration between L’Espace and the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO) sees two concerts (9-10 July) directed by Kim Xuan Hieu, with choir soloist Ta Tien Dat. The two-day programme will include Ouverture d’Idoménée KV366, Concerto for Choir N° 3 in E flat major KV447, Symphony N°38 in D sharp major “Prague” KV504.

The second cycle (27-28 August) will see the collaboration of director Honna Tetsuji and oboe soloist Nguyen Hoang Tung. This programme will see the performance of Symphony N° 32 in G major KV318, Concerto for Oboe in C major KV314, Symphony N° 35 in D major “Haffner” KV385.

Institut Français de Hanoï – L’Espace, 24 Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm Hà Nội, Việt Nam +84 4 39 36 21 64

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Dance | Dance Floor Killer – The 4th National Recreational Dance Championship

5-6 July

The 4th national recreational dance championship Floor Killer is an annual tournament featuring the six most developed hip hop genres in the world: breaking, hip hop, locking, popping, waacking and house. The contest aims at professional dancers from Vietnam and abroad, in teams competing in knock-out competitions. Champions from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, Vietnam, USA, Korea and Japan will participate. The event will include performances by two outstanding German hip-hop dancers, Uwe Donaubauer and Louis Becker.

Savico Megamall, 7 Nguyen Van Linh, Long Bien, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84 4 37342251

Through the windows of life
Courtesy of Humans of Hanoi
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Art | Through the Windows of Life’

14 June – 15 July

Through the Windows of Life is the first of a series of photography exhibitions from the Humans of Hà Nội project and takes place at Chula. Comprising more than 1000 images that tell the stories of people in Hanoi, the exhibition depicts the mosaics of life in the city, including people of all backgrounds and ages. The project aims at breaking down social barriers, especially in the urban youth, in order to create a sense of acceptance, understanding and sympathy of different people. The exhibition also encourages visitors to bring in their own stories, in an interactive participation with the project.

Chula , 43 Nhat Chieu Street (near West Lake), Hanoi, Vietnam

Music | National Ca Tru Festival Hanoi

August (Dates TBC)

Ca Tru or ceremonial singing was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safeguarding in October 2009. Hanoi is this year in charge of organising a Ca Tru festival that sees the participation of more than 15 Ca Tru clubs from around the country. The festival’s intention is to preserve and promote this traditional art form and to encourage young ca tru artists to continue preserving this cultural heritage. Ca tru, an ancient type of music featuring female vocalists, is a complex form of poetry founded in the north of Vietnam in approximately the 15th century, using lyrics written in traditional Vietnamese poetic forms. Since the first festival in Ha Tinh in 2005, the country has organised 4 more editions. This year’s event will mark the assessment of the efforts of preservation and will mark the transformation of ca tru from an endangered art form to a part of UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Keep an eye on websites such as Hanoi Grapevine to find out where the event will take place

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Art | Simon Redington Summer Exhibition

11 May – October

Simon Redington has developed a unique artistic practice over the past 25 years, informed by the rich cultural influences of the various countries in which he is based: the UK, Vietnam and France. His latest body of work shown in his Summer Exhibition is a fusion of 21st century Americana, martial arts forms and media impressions of war. The artist has created a vocabulary of symbols that express the current state of contemporary society through different but conjoined cultural perspectives.

21 North Club, 49 Lang Yen Phu, Ho Tay, Hanoi, Vietnam

Art | Space Launch Nha San Collective

30 August exhibition until 29 September

Nha San Collective was born from the concept of the older Nha San Studio and is a collective of young Hanoi artists who put emphasis on experimentation in contemporary art. Their art space opened once before, in the now defunct Zone 9. This summer their new space will launch with a group exhibition, The Clouds Will Tell, including the works of young artists from the collective and other collaborators. The Collective organises a variety of events, such as workshops, open studios, artist talks, screenings, exhibitions and more.

Nha San Collective
Installation view of “Destruo”, grand opening of Nha San Collective’s art space in Zone 9, 2013 (now closed) | Courtesy Nha San Collective
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Art | ‘Breeding Season’ by Thai Nhat Minh

13 June – 13 July

Manzi Art Space and ACCAviet co-organised a solo exhibition entitled Breeding Season of experimental works by sculptor Thai Nhat Minh. The series of works is inspired by the breeding season, when all creatures grow more alert, enlivened, elated and enraptured and all crave unification and procreation to escape solitude. The artist portrays the connection between sculpture and abstract notions of landscape, time, and mentality. Continuing on his exploration of the connections between sculpture and space, the artist seeks to further develop this connection through his latest exhibition, by installing his works in specific locations throughout the art space, leaving nothing to causality.

Manzi Art Space, 14 Phan Huy Ich, Hanoi, Vietnam

Installation view of “Breeding Season” by Thai Nhat Minh | Courtesy Manzi Art Space
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Culture | Vietnam International Circus Festival

August (Dates TBC)

Vietnam Circus Federation organises an International Circus Festival that takes place in the summer. The festival includes participating circuses from around the world, such as Cuba, China, Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Laos and Cambodia. The various circus troupes which feature jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists, animal acts, clowns and more, go up against each other in a competition judged by a panel of eminent international circus artists.

Vietnam Circus Federation, 67 – 69 Bis, Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung district, Hanoi, Vietnam, +84 4 39412064