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 as a performer with 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 present my work. I’ve been able to follow the work of those dancers, notably during my stay in Kinshasa as the president of the jury for “Choreographic dance” at IXes Jeux de la Francophonie in 2023. At Studios Kabako, which Faustin set up afterwards in Kisangani, Faustin brought up many young talents, including choreographer Yves Mwamba, who invited me to give my artistic advice of his first piece, entitled Voix Intérieures – Manifeste in 2020, and with whom I worked to create the biographical solo show Hip-Hop Nakupenda in 2021.

I am a patron of association Fondament’ALL, directed by Didier Boko, which is engaged in the education of children and adolescents and their fulfillment, as well as family support, and artistic and cultural development in working-class neighborhoods in Champigny-sur-Marne. I am also a patron of association Irilojù in the village of Camaté in Benin, which works on several educational, artistic and cultural projects designed to increase local autonomy, such as project “Les Enfants des Collines”, of which four children and adolescents will take part in the 2024 co-creation Behind the Line produced by Le Carreau du Temple, where they will perform alongside four dancers from the par Terre Dance Company.

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. With my 2023 production Matière(s) première(s), then with [Superstrat[, which will be created in 2025, I propose to question this collective imagination, to make explicit the contexts in which different cultures evolve, and to make African urban and traditional cultures visible to large audiences, 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 aka “Mademoiselle Do’”, Mark-Wilfried Kouadio aka “Willy Kazzama”, Grâce Tala, Nahoua Traore aka “BLACK WOMAN”, Seïbany Salif Traore aka “Salifus”
Performer 2022-2023 season: Jeanne D’Arc Niando aka “Esther”
Understudy dancer:Joseph Nama aka “Jo Kiero”
Lighting: Matthieu Marques, Marie Ducatez
Costumes: Simon Huet
Stage managers on tour (in rotation): Flora Lastouillat, Matthieu Marques


Production: par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company
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 2024/2025, the par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company is an associate artist to La Manufacture CDCN Nouvelle-Aquitaine Bordeaux • La Rochelle, as part of the associate artist residency program by the ministry of Culture, and to Théâtre des 2 Rives de Charenton-le-Pont.
In 2024/2025, the par Terre / Anne Nguyen Dance Company is in residency at l’Opéra de Massy.