Dat Nguyen is a movement and visual artist who was based in Salt Lake City, Utah until recently returning to his native Vietnam. He received his BFA degree in Dance at Sam Houston State University and is finishing his MFA degree in Modern Dance at the University of Utah.
Throughout his dancing career, he has worked and collaborated with notable choreographers, such as Christian von Howard, Maurice Causey, Gerard Theoret, Lesley Telford, Daniel Clifton, Eric Handman, and Maya Gurantz. In 2013, he became a founding member of Nicolay Dance Works, a contemporary modern dance company directed by Dana Nicolay in Texas.
As a choreographer, Dat often employs collage as narrative vehicle in order to heighten the somatic experience of his complexed identity. He also turns to different visual media/technologies, notably photography and videography, to investigate their often-intangible relationship with movement. He founded MotionVivid in 2014 to further his research and expand his artistic practice to local communities that he engages. In 2018, he received a residency from the Sugar Space Foundation and Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts, and Park program to stage an evening length work. His theatrical works and collaborations have been presented at multiple venues and festivals across the country, including Versatility Dance Festival (Colorado), the Jack Crystal Theatre, The Tank theatre (New York), Small Plate Choreography Festival (New Jersey), Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Rocky Mountain Choreography Festival, The Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival (Utah), Bailando International Dance Festival, Jim & Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center (Texas), Highways Performance Space & Gallery (California), and Dibden Center for The Arts (Vermont).
His photography has been featured in major publications, including Salt Lake City Weekly, the Daily Utah Chronicles, SLUG Magazine, The Utah Review, Front Row Reviewers Utah, loveDANCEmore, and PhotoVogue by Vogue Italia.
Critic Les Roka from The Utah Review describes his work as “commanding even those audience members who think they are progressive and enlightened sufficiently to realize that many artists might prefer playing it safe in Utah’s peculiar culture of sanctioned perfectionism.” (https://www.theutahreview.com/two-examples-of-artistic-entrepreneurship- will-the-sheep-come-to-be-cleaned-the-wreath/)
In 2019, before coming back to his country, he was a founding members of Queer Spectra Arts Festival, which brought local and international LGBTQIA+ identified artists to Salt Lake City to showcase their artworks and engage with audiences through meaning discussions surrounding pressing issues in contemporary LGBTQIA+ discourse. (http://queerspectra.com)
At the moment, Dat focuses his research on performance and its relationship to the spectacle – a theory developed by French philosopher Guy Debord that tackles inequality and injustice in terms of mass media, entertainment, and arts within capitalist economy.