Matière(s) première(s)

A ballet of urban African dances
Production 2023 – Duration: 55 min – All audiences

Through the simplicity of the dance and the bodily presence of the dancers, the symbols revealed by the gestures unveil the post-colonial mechanics of cultural and mental domination as well as the military violence that enable the plundering of natural resources, prompting us to question the power struggles underpinning the relations between Africa and the Western world. From sheer impotent rage to prayers for ancestors, from the reassembly of broken identities to the visceral need to dance out of a refusal to submit: three women and three men with convergent paths and issues come together to exorcize their demons and to summon life.

Urban African dances, originating from the African continent, resonate with today’s youth across the world. Sensual, frenzied and founded on a multicultural heritage with deep traditional and urban roots, it connects us with the primordial language of the body itself. Matière(s) première(s) is an initiatory trip into the world of urban African cultures, where the subtle, explosive dance of six dancers reveals the timeless beauty and underlying brutality of the world.


“I became acquainted with the Democratic Republic of Congo while working with the choreographer Faustin Linyekula in 2003 on his show Telle une ombre gravée dans la poussière. In 2004, then again in 2008, Faustin invited me to Kinshasa to train some young urban dancers and showcase my work. At Studios Kabako, which he set up afterwards in Kisangani, Faustin brought up many young talents, including the choreographer, Yves Mwamba. Yves invited me to give my outsider’s view of his first piece, entitled Voix Intérieures – Manifeste in 2020, and I worked with him to create the autobiographical solo show Hip-Hop Nakupenda in 2021. Patron of association Fondament’All, directed by Didier Boko, I take part in co-development initiatives in the domains of culture and education, in working-class neighborhoods in Champigny-sur-Marne as well as in the village of Kamaté in Benin, where several projects designed to communicate the values of traditional cultures and to increase local autonomy are ongoing.
Those different experiences have led me to develop a reflection on the Western collective imagination, its relationships with traditional cultures and the way in which artists depend upon those conceptions, both in the West and in Africa. My 2023 production Matière(s) première(s) sets out to question this collective imagination, to critique some of the basic mechanisms of cultural domination, and to make Afro dance and culture visible to a large audience, in a manner that is respectful of the identity and integrity of the artists.” (Anne Nguyen)
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Choreography: Anne Nguyen
Assistant choreographer: Pascal Luce
Artistic adviser: Didier Boko
Performers: Ted Barro Boumba aka “Barro Dancer”, Dominique Elenga alias “Mademoiselle Do’”, Mark-Wilfried Kouadio alias “Willy Kazzama”, Jeanne D’Arc Niando aka “Esther”, Grâce Tala, Seïbany Salif Traore aka “Salifus”
Understudy dancer:Joseph Nama alias “Jo Kiero”
Lighting: Matthieu Marques, Marie Ducatez
Costumes: Simon Huet
Stage managers on tour (in alternation): Flora Lastouillat, Matthieu Marques


Coproduction: La Briqueterie – CDCN du Val-de-Marne; Théâtre Molière -> Sète scène nationale archipel de Thau; Opéra de Limoges – Scène Danse; L’Auditorium Seynod; Théâtre de Chevilly-Larue; Centre culturel Aragon Triolet d’Orly; Centre de la danse de la Communauté Urbaine Grand Paris Seine & Oise.
With the support of: Chaillot – Théâtre national de la Danse; Théâtre Louis Aragon, scène conventionnée d’intérêt national Art et création – Danse de Tremblay-en-France; CENTQUATRE-PARIS; Mairie de La Courneuve – Houdremont centre culturel. 

The par Terre Dance Company is funded by l’Aide pluriannuelle du Ministère de la Culture / DRAC Île-de-France, la Région Île-de-France for “Permanence Artistique et Culturelle” and l’Aide au fonctionnement du Département du Val-de-Marne.
In 2023/2024, the par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company is an associate artist to Théâtre Molière -> Sète scène nationale archipel de Thau (34), La Manufacture CDCN Nouvelle-Aquitaine Bordeaux • La Rochelle, with the support of ministère de la Culture, Théâtre de Choisy-le-Roi, Scène conventionnée d’intérêt national – Art et création pour la diversité linguistique (94), and is taking part in an artist-in-residence program in Ivry-sur-Seine, in partnership with la briqueterie – CDCN (94). Anne Nguyen is invited to an artistic and cultural co-construction at La Maison des Métallos in January 2024.