Press – PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE
“When it comes to women—they are not so many, hip-hop choreographer Anne Nguyen must be reckoned with. Since 2007, she follows her pared down yet imperious artistic line, carving straight and sharp without deviating from her aspirations, even less from the fundamentals of her discipline. With a scientific background, she puts hip-hop movement through the mill to extract spectacular equations, uncluttered yet always surprising. Here she is again with an ambitious production for eight dancers entitled PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE, where she harnesses movement by trapping it inside brightly lit corridors. A love of constraints and a passion to sublimate them: typical Nguyen.”
Le Monde Magazine – Rosita Boisseau (April 13th, 2012)
“For a while now, there has been a certain captivating singularity about Anne Nguyen. We need look no further, that singularity finds its full expression in PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE, a dance piece in which, for the first time, hip-hop movements develop an enchanting quality. Anne Nguyen discreetly made a name for herself with her first solo, in which she invested herself mind, body and soul. Square Root lifted the veil on her mathematical mind, her sense of space and her stature as a B-Girl. Here, Anne Nguyen demonstrates her ability to organize a true group piece, highly choreographic and deeply rooted in “the essence of hip-hop”, whose artistic meaning and message is totally devoted to her art, like in Square Root. PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE is a dance piece for eight poppers. They immerse themselves in a one-hour uninterrupted journey. Far from being an ordinary stroll as the title might suggest, this is a skilfully methodical march, whose sole purpose is to get from one end of the stage to the other.
An impulse that carries us away
Anne Nguyen has staged the show upon a radical premise: one after the other, the dancers cross the stage from left to right, in side profile. Popping, one of the specialties of hip-hop dance, based on stopped and blocked movements and isolation, is the catchword for this dance piece. Their march is somehow inescapable, as they strive together for a common cause. Nothing can stop them, they are trapped in a progress that intensifies with each new entrance. The choreographer, caught up by her world of constraints, leaves them no way out. She takes delight in re-inventing each new appearance, complicating the layout of sequences, stoppings, slowings, as well as movements that evolve and shake themselves free. Solitary paths lead to a group progression, yet somehow reveal each dancer’s singularity. Far from being formatted the fine cast fully embraces the impulse of this march and whisks the audience along in its wake.”
La Terrasse – Nathalie Yokel (September 2012)
“Popping is a dance that is akin to body sculpture. Anne Nguyen—a young choreographer whom we will be following very closely—makes it her own, using it in a piece that explores movement and the passing of time. Not a cold, monotonous exploration, but a vibrant and glittering one, with incredible precision, throughout which martial art and sensual gestures resonate perfectly with the haunting rhythms of the splendid score composed by Benjamin Magnin.”
Les chroniques du Festival CDC – Jérôme Provençal (February 16th, 2014)
“Thrill of energy
Seldom have I seen a show that succeeds in maintaining a pace of such high intensity. This nonstop tempo, packed with energy, sustains an hour of live crossings. This is accentuated through the use of minimalist scenography and lighting. In this piece by Anne Nguyen the eight poppers of par Terre Dance Company explode onto the stage with immense prowess. We view the dancers side-on and rarely do they look back at us.
[…] The dancers enact life’s changes, obstacles and deceits, as well as happiness or exhaustion through movement – a trembling hand, a foot searching for a place to find a foothold or synchronizations of perfection – and with this they are able to arouse great emotions. This piece of enormous depth creates a world all of its own. As though being sucked into a black hole, the viewer is fully immersed in PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE. It soon becomes obvious that the subject matter addressed here goes beyond the mere everyday life. Nguyen says her aim is to make what inspires her – physics and the essence of her own investigations – come across on stage: the search for the role of Man in his environment… alchemy and sensations are one and the same here and come full circle.”
VästerbottensFolkblad – Katrin Sten (May 13th, 2012) / Swedish regional daily
“Memories of asphalt made flesh
The dancers enter onto a stage kept in total darkness. They start moving and accelerating, appearing to be floating above the ground, engulfed by industrial music—heavy and experimental and with hip-hop influences. Animated by horizontal movements performed either at a fast pace or in slow motion, the dancer’s bodies move along the ground systematically. The image is that of a street. One gets the feeling that the stream of people is never going to stop. They keep on walking, every once in a while their faces turn towards the spectator, fleetingly, only to quickly turn away again to keep on walking.
They are walking along the path of life, towards an undefined destination, a break point as yet unknown. It is a walk that becomes extended and transforms itself into a mechanized, an almost static appearing or desynchronized march. The piece questions the mechanization of life and opens up a host of alternatives to ordinariness; an adaptation that is rarely attempted by our fellow choreographers.
More importantly, the show achieves an encounter, a mix of street dance and stage performance that results in a physical entity—creating a real alternative for telling a story.
As soon as the dancers begin to set their bodies in motion, the stage starts to vibrate as a result of their repetitive, rhythmic and pulsating collisions. This power on stage is passed on to the audience like an electric current—an audience that is totally captivated.”
VästerbottensKuriren – Ann Enström (May 13th, 2012) / Swedish regional daily
“Clever precision popping
Anne Nguyen’s choreography resembles a well-lubricated dance machine, but a machine powered by individuals who create their own sounds. […] The dancers are incredibly precise and coordinated, whether they are walking upright or crawling across the floor like animals. They form intricate chains, hinting at the fact that contact improvisation—a contrasting form to popping—is one of the ingredients. […] PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE is a physically intelligent, fascinating and exhilarating piece. Popping refined and restructured into a kind of multilayered cubism.”
Svenska Dagbladets (May 11th, 2013) / Sweden
Anne Nguyen refuses to deny her origins, either as a scientist or a dancer. She, in effect, began to specialise in breakdance and hip-hop, devoting herself to the art and exploring all its facets, while incorporating mathematics and geometry. And she employs it with a masterly hand to illustrate her message. […]
[PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE] questions and lays bare a society that is trapped in the infernal whirlpool of existence; all human beings are condemned to move in the same direction, to circumvent or surmount the obstacles littering their path, learning to wend their way and, eventually, live together. Better than any other technique, popping has served the choreographer’s purpose to perfection, expressing the hesitations, ruptures and questions experienced by Mankind in the face of life’s hazards, a ‘succession of evanescent states’, as the choreographer terms them. But it also expresses the repetitiveness and synchronization of some of our daily deeds and gestures..
Nguyen’s work, a piece pregnant with meaning, thus expresses itself as a perpetual traversal of the stage, from stage left to stage right, performed by the eight dancers, either individually, or in twos, threes, fours, and even in unison. They proceed, of course, at different rhythms, obeying the imperatives of the haunting score of Benjamin Magnin. The dancers, all remarkable in their own way, break down their movements before reconstructing them gradually in an altered way reminiscent of the chronophotography of Etienne-Jules Marey. They explore a series of brief, rapid movements, impulsive broken gestures, increasingly sophisticated, but in effect, executed with enormous suppleness, clearly exerting a fascination over the audience. At times, their progress resembles that of a cross-country skier, at others, the mechanical gestures of a robot programmed to carry out a precise and more or less repetitive act. The mesmerising march of a group of individuals trapped by its condition, a perpetual, haunting movement, illustrated to blisteringly powerful effect by the dance.”
Critiphotodanse.com – Jean-Marie Gourreau (November 18th, 2013)
“The act of walking is an ancient, innate reflex that our highly evolved brains have helped to transform into a voluntary movement. PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE illustrates the empirical development of our capacity to think and move as we like. At first sight, the dancers, inveterate walkers, resemble the stuttering black and white silhouettes in Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope. They advance, caught up in a one-way world built of impositions, alter their pace from slow to fast, they explore the full range of their nervous system in a straightjacket of electronic noise. Their unstoppable locomotion creates a kinetic panorama, a conveyor belt advancing at a measured pace. In this horizontal Tetris, there is a constant flow of blue, black, grey, coloured human pawns, constantly looking for a way to combine their diverse, finely tessellating forms. In a word, this prolonged procession of computerized movements weaves a never-ending tapestry of diversity that incorporates the element of chance.”
Un Fauteuil pour L’Orchestre – Jean-Christophe Carius (April 22nd, 2012)
“The rules are simple: an hour-long uninterrupted traversal of the stage from left to right, according to the rhythm, frequency and number of dancers […]. The project is an ambitious one, […] and the challenge enormous, alternating as it does between a refusal to conform […] and a quest for convivial individuality. And all of this without bludgeoning the captive audience, trapped in their seats. Fascinating, indeed. Anne Nguyen’s choreography is a cyclical variation on popping, in harmony with the earth, earthly and earth-bound, including even a simulation of the ceaseless walkers’ shadows. The spectator is confronted at once with a sequence of photographs breaking down the movements to their component parts, and an attempt at perpetual movement, set to an electronic soundtrack. Man’s fascination with the robots that have been keeping our civilization under control for the last four centuries is suggestively apparent, paradoxically through dance. First the jerky contractions transform one hip-popper into a machine, then cybernetics show us a human face once more through the sheer power of the movements and the relentless desire to progress, albeit almost thwarted by air resistance and clinging bodies. Dance reigns supreme because of the march that unfolds. And for the more forward-facing grand finale, the pact of the obligatory promenade is terminated, for hope lies at the end of the road. We are once again put in mind of a contented Sisyphus…”
The French Mag – Noémie Courtès (April 21st, 2012)
“The eight dancers cross the stage from left to right, over and over again, without interruption. First on their own, backstage and at speed, and followed by a beam of light. When they stop and bend backwards, it appears as though the ground is slipping away from underneath their feet. Their bodies meet and come together through a set of ever-changing combinations. The pictures merge, at times at a slower, much more controlled pace, allowing the spectator to study movements and techniques more thoroughly. The dancers, all of varying statures, bring their own touch to the movements. Neither moonwalk nor backslide, but a paradoxical move that produces a permanent illusion of activity. In fact it seems as though the bodies are gliding into two different directions simultaneously, when in reality they are remaining in one place. […] Anne Nguyen operates with all the hallmarks of a mathematician. “Constraints lie at the basis of this piece of choreography” she explains. The dancers’ steps are composed according to the four cardinal points and worked out—with great precision—in relationship to the distances that need to be covered when moving at a slower or quicker pace than the accompanying music.”
Tanz – Thomas Hahn (April 2012)
“They must not backtrack. The eight robot dancers in PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE have no choice but to keep moving forward in this obligatory walk. They must follow their assigned path, fast or slow, contorting their bodies to the jolts and subtle vibrations of Popping. Anne Nguyen’s fifth production recalls the work of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in its rigour and the constraint imposed upon movement, wherein much emotion is concealed. PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE is the conclusive proof that hip-hop, with its own specific language (every movement bears the seal of the art) and notions of contemporary and classical fugue, is a high and noble art indeed. ”
Expressen – Margareta Sörensson (11 may 2013) / Sweden
“They must never move back. The eight robot dancers in PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE have no choice but to keep moving forward in this obligatory walk. To pace along their line, fast or slow, contorting their bodies to the jolts and subtle vibrations of Popping. Anne Nguyen’s 5th creation evokes Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker by its rigor and by the constraint imposed to movements, under which a lot of emotion is concealed. PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE is the conclusive proof that hip-hop, with its specific language (every movement bears the seal of the art) and its ideas of contemporary and classical fugue, is a noble art.”
Le Courrier de l’Ouest – Lelian (March 20th, 2012)
“Guided by the theme of continuous movement and the organic unfolding of gesture and time forever renewed by dance, [Anne Nguyen] explores the beauty and the confinement of this inevitable and ever-evolving choreographic organism.”
Télérama Sortir – Rosita Boisseau (May 30th, 2012 / Apr. 18th, 2012 / Feb. 8th, 2012 / Dec. 7th, 2011)
“In the totalitarian state described by Zamyatin, humandroids take their obligatory leisure-time walk, four by four. In Anne’s “walk”, eight dancers cross the stage time and time again, more or less continuously, most of the time showing their profile to the audience. In this choreographic piece, Anne Nguyen works on the lateral movement of both the walker and the popper. “I develop straight lines and break down movements to find alternative forms”, says Anne. This endless march is performed to the original music of Benjamin Magnin, the whole producing a hypnotic effect.”
Sud Ouest – Christiane Poulin (January 10th, 2012)
“Anne Nguyen is not only a B-girl capable of spinning on her head, but she can also set her mind to developing a prose that lies at the crossroads of science and contemporary dance. She leads eight dancers onto the stage to perform a one-hour uninterrupted upright journey. (…) Like free electrons under constraint, they proceed as one, amalgamate and break away into space to the rhythm of the inescapable march of time. What variations will they inject into this enforced cycle? By getting her eight popper virtuosos to perform side-on to the audience, this promising young choreographer obfuscates the different body states with what appears to be a moving organic substance.”
Cap-Vietnam.com (April 2013)
“Anne Nguyen – Breakdance liberated
And finally, her entire body of work and redefinition of hip-hop thus far appears to have reached its apogee in this latest production, PROMENADE OBLIGATOIRE. The dancers move side-on to the audience, as if in a graphic depiction of human evolution, and it is such originality that proves, once again, the young choreographer’s consummate command of the performance space. That space, like the street she considers her home, she refers to as her “living room”. There are no limits for Anne Nguyen, only constraints, but constraints that nonetheless allow her creative freedom to radiate even further.”
noise-laville.fr – Manouté (December 20th, 2012)