Portraits of Anne Nguyen
“Anne Nguyen, a consummate artist in hip-hop freestyle” by Ingrid Merckx – Politis (15 june 2006)
French female break-dancing champion and promising young choreographer, Anne Nguyen is imposing her style on present-day hip-hop. A movement and discipline whose misguided commercialism she deplores, hoping to get it back to its roots, so it can continue to stand its ground.
Being a warrior. “That’s what being hip-hop’s all about”, she adds with a sly look. It’s not an attitude, it’s a philosophy. Clearly, we’re a million miles away from the American ghettos of the 1980s. “At that time, people were defending a political cause. Nowadays, in France, hip-hop no longer has any enemies. But there are still battles to be fought”. Mainly against commercial hip-hop and the inhumanity of the urban environment. The diminutive twenty-seven-year-old, black hair cropped short, almond-shaped eyes against a pale skin and innocent smile, Anne Nguyen shows me her Manual of a City Warrior over a cup of verbena tea. A collection of twenty or so poems, some of which have been published in Graff it ! magazine. “Break”, “Right angles”, “Egotrip”, “Chair Freeze”… they all bespeak her view of dance, its place in space and, by the same token, in life. They are a reminder of what must not be forgotten: that break-dancing is a transgression of movement, that rap is spawned from thoughts articulated in the dark, from being locked up, that the world can be perpendicular, that objects extend beyond it, that the body is a raw material to be finely honed in the mind, that we must strike a balance between flesh and concrete, and also be aware of our power to change our way of thinking by trying to change our way of moving.
Portrait of Anne Nguyen by Thomas Hahn – Tanz (December 2010)
She has a university background, writes poems, publishes theoretical articles on hip-hop and runs the dance section of hip-hop magazine Graff it !. Brainy? Not exactly. Simply balanced. Anne Nguyen has won the “Battle Of The Year” several times, has been a breakdance world champion. Her choreographic experience came from working with Black Blanc Beur, Rêvolution, as well as with Faustin Linyekula and Salia nï Seydou. With her own creations, Anne Nguyen proves how women can skilfully alter this mostly masculine domain. She gives a brand new face to powermoves –with a method that has very masculine connotations, dismantling series of moves and reconstructing them. Circles are turned into linear courses, right angles and interrupted trajectories. Thus is created a lively modular system, a blend of breakdance and contact dance which dissolves the body’s natural order, like in Pablo Picasso. Anne Nguyen applies the principle to legworks. Paradoxically, with her, it looks natural.