Spotlight on Guest Artist James Vu Anh Pham

Tuesday 16 March, 2021

ADT was thrilled to recently work with Guest Artist James Vu Anh Pham, who made his Australian Dance Theatre debut dancing with the talented ensemble in Supernature during its 2021 Adelaide Festival season.

Hailing from Perth, James enjoyed a musical childhood, playing multiple instruments. Struggling with stage-fright as a musician, he followed a friend’s suggestion and tried dance classes as a way of connecting more with his body. James quickly fell in love with dance and the expressive ability it awakened in him.

He went on to study at the renowned New Zealand School of Dance, before undertaking his first professional contract with Chunky Move under Anouk van Dijk, first appearing with the company in An Act of Now (2012). James performed extensively with Chunky Move in a range of works, and studied Countertechnique with Anouk van Dijk; he has since become an instructor in Countertechnique, teaching around the world.

In 2014, James received the Helpmann Award for ‘Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work’ for his performance in Chunky Move’s 247 Days, and the Australian Dance Award for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Dancer’ for AORTA.

James relocated overseas to Belgium in 2016 to work at Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Eastman, where he performed in works including Babel 7.16 in the Palais Des Papes for the Festival d’Avignon. In 2019, James moved to London to take up the role of company dancer with the internationally-acclaimed Akram Khan Company; that year, he was involved in the creation of Outwitting the Devil, which had its world premiere in Stuttgart.

Last year, like countless other talented, dedicated performers around the world, James found his burgeoning international career (and life!) in limbo as the Coronavirus pandemic shut down theatres and performance opportunities across the globe. Returning home to Perth, he contemplated his next move.

ADT approached James in September 2020, as he has been a friend of the company for many years, inviting him to work on the creative development of Supernature with the ensemble. He then accepted a Guest Artist role for the world premiere season of the work at the Adelaide Festival. Appearing in Supernature offered James the chance to work closely with ADT’s Artistic Director Garry Stewart during Garry’s final year at the helm of Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary dance company – and offered Adelaide audiences the rare opportunity to witness an internationally-acclaimed dancer back on stage in Australia.

You can watch James’ latest showreel, showcasing some of his phenomenal recent work, online here.

You can listen to a podcast interview, touching on James’ early life and career journey to date, online here.

James appearing in Outwitting the Devil (Akram Khan Company), (c) Jean Louis Fernandez

In rehearsal for Outwitting the Devil (Akram Khan Company) in 2019, (c) Jean Louis Fernandez