Ming-Hung Weng was selected from the 2019 Asia Dance Audition to join Stadttheater Bremerhaven.
- Dance Planner: Hello, it's been a year since you were selected from Asia Dance Audition (ADA). How have you been?
WEN MING HONG: Hello, I've been with the Stadttheater Bremerhaven since September of 19/20 and now I'm on summer vacation. My vacation ends in mid-August. I’m currently back in my hometown, Taiwan.
- How did you know and apply for our audition?
I heard about different dance auditions from my school teacher and friends, but Asia Dance Audition peaked my interest since it was held at a nearby country, Korea. I decided to participate because there are no big audition events like this in Taiwan. That’s why Taiwanese dancers don’t have opportunities like this.
- Have you ever participated in other dance auditions?
I once participated in an audition for a company in Taiwan.
I think the biggest difference is that at ADA, you only need to participate once to try out for several dance companies.
At ADA, the artistic directors themselves participate directly.
So, I was able to really learn about what each company is pursuing, and I was also able to clearly see what I lacked.
(At most auditions, the artistic director is absent. The audition process is usually done by an agent or manager of the company.)
- During the audition, which round was the most difficult/memorable for you?
Ah! The first round was the hardest for me.
To be honest, I’m not good at ballet.
I was so nervous that day, I did even worse than usual.
I still remember that I completely messed up during the barre section 😂
Most memorable moment….
I think it was the 2nd round. We had to show a solo piece, and there were no restrictions for style or choreography.
So, I prepared a contemporary piece since I’m most confident in that style.
But when I looked at the other dancers at the audition, almost all of them prepared classical or modern ballet pieces.
I was a little embarrassed, but I told myself, “I’ve already come so far, I should just do my best and finish it without regrets!” and went on stage.
I think it’s okay if the piece you prepare is a little different from others. In fact, it could be an advantage. Everyone else’s piece was similar, but since I was the only one doing contemporary, I think it really stood out.
Whatever the circumstances around you, if you just do your best, keep calm and show your skills, good results will follow!
- How was the last round? What do you think of the group audition format?
Group auditions are really! reallly!!! important. It’s important to the company, and really important to the dancers too.
It’s a great opportunity to experience the style of the company in person and see if I can fit in with it.
I’ve never been to Europe before, so even though I knew that European dance companies all have different styles,
I rarely had any chance to experience them.
Through this audition, I got to learn the company’s style in person,
and I was also able to understand the artistic director’s aesthetics and vision first-handedly.
In that sense, I think group auditions are a crucial round in ADA.
Without the group auditions, even if you did receive an offer from the company, you wouldn’t even know if you suit the company’s style. It would be difficult to accept the offer.
But thanks to the group audition, I really had the chance to learn about Stadttheater Bremerhaven.
That’s why after the audition, it left a very good impression on me, and I was so happy when I heard that I got a contract.
- You successfully passed the audition for Stadttheater Bremerhaven and started your career in Germany. Was there any cultural difference between Taiwan and Europe?
I think that in Europe, the culture of watching performances is considered as a common hobby or leisure activity. It is a subject that many people are interested in.
This culture is a great diving force for performers to continue their creative activities.
Working as a full-time dancer or leading a dance company in my hometown, Taiwan, is really hard.
The audience is not as large as Europe, and most of the audience are family members and friends, or people who work in the arts and dance field.
That’s why the Taiwanese dance industry is still trying to promote the dance culture to the general public, so that more people can learn to enjoy and appreciate performances.
- I think this issue is similar in Korea too. Well… let’s talk about something more fun, shall we?
Are you satisfied with your life at Stadttheater Bremerhaven? What do you think?
I like it here! There’s only one thing I need to focus on here - dance!
- I heard there’s a story about the artistic director that you wanted to share!
Yes, that’s right! Our artistic director, Sergei Vanaev, is the nicest person I know. 👍
When I first came to Germany from Taiwan, I was so busy and tired, because I needed to settle my accomodation, visa, and other documents and issues.
After our rehearsals, he would always drive me around so that I could process my paperwork. He also always encouraged me to ask more questions or talk to him if I need any help.
I was so touched that he always took care of me and made sure I was doing well. 🥺
- Are there any other interesting stories about company life that you would like to share?
Yeah… I think this happened a little after I joined the company.
One of my colleagues took a sick leave and I had to do his part suddenly.
I got the notice just a few minutes before we went on stage. 😂
It was my first performance with Stadttheater Bremerhaven, and I remember feeling very nervous and excited.
- Right before the summer break, you participated in the premiere of FEUERWERKSMUSIK. How was it?
This season’s new repertoire, FEUERWERKSMUSIK, is a piece done with water.
It was my first time dancing on a stage with water, so it was really hard to find a balance for my strength.
If you use too much force, you slip; but if you’re too relaxed, the movements are not fluent.
I remember really focusing on how to control my energy.
Also, the weather in Germany was cold when we first practised. I almost caught a cold when we were rehearsing… haha…
But during the next rehearsal, they changed it to warm water, and that's alright. Overall, it was an interesting experience.
- Lastly, what would you like to say to the participants of ADA?
Don’t be nervous!! Don’t. Be. Nervous.
If you’re nervous, you can’t show your true skill set.
Just remember that you can’t suddenly improve overnight.
Don’t be greedy on the day of the audition and tell yourself something like, “I have to do so much better than usual today! I’m gonna jump higher and split my legs more!”
Don’t overdo it. Just stay calm and do your moves how you usually practice them.
Think about your strengths and how to better show them.
That was the most important thing to me when I was dancing in front of the artistic directors at ADA.
- That’s such great advice! I think it’s time to wrap up.
Thank you so much for the interview.
I think you might be in Germany by the time we publish this.
I hope you enjoy a lot of your hometown food before heading back to Germany! We will be rooting for you always.
Thank you ☺️!
Lastly, let's finish up this interview with Stadttheater Bremerhaven's new creation for this season, FEUERWERKSMUSIK.
FEUERWERKSMUSIK (Trailer) Premiere on 29th February 2020 Stadttheater Bremerhaven
Sergei Vanaev - Choreography and Stage.
Wen-Hua Chang - Assistant.
Musik: Händel and Pursell
Dancers: Alicia Navas Otero, Ting-Yu Tsai, Lidia Melnikova, Rena Somehara, Anna Manetti, Volodymyr Fomenko, Ilario Frigione, Stefano Neri, Tanaka Lionel Roki, Ming-Hung Weng