Kimloan Thi Nguyen, 22, of Burnsville, recently won a pair of 1st places in both the International Chinese Folk Instrument Competition and the International Dance Competition at the 2008 CPAA International Multi-Arts Festival held at the Montgomery Theater in San Jose on June 1st. Nguyen is pictured above with her trophies.
The CPAA International Multi-Arts Festival is hosted by the CPAA Arts Center every year to find young talent. Each contestant receives a certificate and 2 tickets to the final competition. All 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive trophies. Winners also win an audition to perform with professionals in TV programs and on tours worldwide. The Grand Champion (solo only) also receives a $1,000 scholarship.
The International Dance Competition was held in the morning and the International Chinese Folk Instrument Competition was held in the afternoon. In both the International Dance and Chinese Folk Instrument competitions, the maximum time for a solo performer is 5 minutes.
Kimloan performed a classical Southern Indian dance called Bharatanatyam. Her routine was entitled “Devi” a dance routine choreographed by Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy of Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. The emphasis in the Bharatanatyam is on the upper body, and the style is distinguished by its low centre of gravity, its rhythmic footwork, its straight spine, and its extensive vocabulary of hand gestures which carry dramatic meaning. The face is also used for expressive purposes, with the eyes, nose, and mouth all possessing their own specific choreographic language.
Kimloan played a Chinese string instrument called the pipa in the Chinese Folk Instrument competition. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body. It has been played for nearly two thousand years in China, and belongs to the plucked category of instruments. The title of her music piece called “Flying Dragon” was well received by the audience. This piece was composed by her pipa teacher Gao Hong.
At an early age, Kimloan Nguyen started learning Western classical music on the violin, piano, and clarinet. Several years following, Kimloan discovered her true musical passion in Southeastern/Eastern Asian music, studying the Chinese pipa in addition to the Vietnamese zither, Chinese guzheng, and erhu. She excelled on the pipa studying from pipa virtuoso and composer Gao Hong and has now been studying from her for six years. In October 2007, Kimloan won the 2nd place prize in her first music competition at the National CCTV Chinese Folk Instrument Competition held in Santa Clara, California. Aside from being a soloist, Kimloan is the lead member of the Chinese Silk and Bamboo Music Ensemble at Carleton College in Northfield. She is an active performer in the Twin Cities area and has made nationwide appearances in city and state festivals, banquets, solo performances, and group concerts.
Besides her musical background, Kimloan has been studying Bharatanatyam (2,000 year-old classical dance form from Southern India) for 14 years and is a company member of the Minneapolis-based professional dance company, Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. With the company, Kimloan has had the opportunity to tour and perform in front of hundreds of audiences at prestigious venues nationwide. Kimloan recently graduated Cum Laude and Honors in Music Performance from Carleton College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.