Before Binh Duy Ta begins his series of Mindful Movements workshops with Blacktown Arts, learn more about the artist and what to expect from his workshops.
Binh Duy Ta has a wealth of experience working in theatre and performing arts. He began his career in Vietnam before migrating to Sydney in 1988. He has written, directed and performed in award winning theatre across Australia and toured internationally.
What drew you to working in performance?
I don’t remember what drew me to working in theatre and performance. I just remember that I learnt music first. I had a band when I was about 16 years old. We played Western pop songs: from The Beatles, Bee Gees and the Eagles. After that, I auditioned for the first and only Pantomime Course in Hanoi, Vietnam.
I studied for three and half years, then worked as performer, director and writer for The National Theatre Company for Young People in Hanoi before I came to Australia in 1988 to attend Interplay 88’ – The International Young Playwrights Festival at Sydney Seymour Centre.
How long have you been working in Kung Fu and Qigong (pronounced Chi-gong)?
I started learning kung fu at theatre school in Vietnam, but I didn’t take it seriously. I’ve spent more time with kung fu since 1996.
I studied Qigong under master Chen Yong Fa and sifu John K Saw since the year 2000.
I learnt Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu and Qigong for about ten years, and in the last three years I have been learning Wing Chun Kung Fu at Dereck Fung Wing Chun with sifu Mike Tran.
What drew you to combine Kung Fu and performing arts techniques together?
In 1992, I toured with Entr’acte Theatre to Indonesia where I met the poet, playwright and director WS Rendra and his Bengkel Theatre. I was so impressed with their powerful integration of martial arts and performance. I went back to Indonesia in 1994 to study, and I undertook a cultural exchange with WS Rendra and Bengkel Teatre. Since then I have incorporated kung fu and martial arts in my performance and teaching.
Throughout 2019 you’ll be facilitating separate movement workshops for young people and seniors. What can participants expect from the youth classes?
Aimed at 12-17 year olds, this class will focus on kung fu and self-defence, fitness, movement and improvisation. This method incorporates principles of both performing arts and martial arts to emphasise energy, movement, self-defence, sensitivity, and creativity. These classes will lay a strong foundation for developing and guiding participants to create their own stories and performance styles.
What can participants expect from the seniors classes?
Through methods of Qigong, fitness, stretching, self-care and meditation will be the main elements for the classes. Improvisation and storytelling could be added to the sessions to encourage participants to share their own stories through Qigong movements and meditation.
What are the benefits of Qigong and meditation for seniors and as we age?
There are so many benefits of regular Qigong exercise and meditation for seniors. For starters, it can help improve mental health and help to improve our social interactions. It can also help with building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risks of injuries from falls.
By Naomi Hamer
Mindful Movements with Binh Duy Ta
Term 1 (26 February – 2 April) | Term 2 (7 May – 18 June) | Term 3 (30 July – 10 September)
Click for bookings and more information
Eleven Parts of Feeling (2005) Citymoon Theatre Company, Bankstown. Photograph by Phong Le.