Anne Nguyen: À mon bel amour / Emotions - Phrases - Masques
Video sequences and glossary
Anne Nguyen moves fluently between the boundaries of diverse dance styles and combines them with casual elegance. In ›À mon bel amour‹, which would have been presented at PACT in March, the French-Vietnamese choreographer questions perceptions of the individual, the couple and the collective, of identity and beauty. The production brings different urban dance styles including Voguing, Waacking, Popping, Locking and Krump into mesmerising interaction with classical and contemporary dance.
For #pactconnected, Anne Nguyen has now compiled a glossary of urban dance styles and shared three video sequences of her work.
The voguing or "ballroom scene" is a culture deriving from that of drag competitions. It came about in the 1960s within the disadvantaged Afro-American and Latin American gay and transgender community in Harlem, which despaired of seeing white drag queens winning all the drag queen contests in an already racist society. It is not clear where the term Voguing, which is based on the magazine Vogue, first appeared. There is some evidence of inmates of New York's notorious Rikers Island jail complex, who, in competitions, would strike poses inspired by photo models in the magazine.
Waacking, or punking as it was initially known, is a dance style inspired by funk music and underground disco, which came about in Los Angeles in the 1970s. The dance was originally performed in nightclubs where the Afro-American and Latin-American gay community could express itself freely. The term "punking", was coined to positivize the negative connotations of the word "punk", which was used at the time to describe the gay community. It then evolved into "whacking" and finally waacking. The most recognisable gesture at the time was the sweeping hand, the "whack" (as in the insult "you’re whack!"), referencing the onomatopoeic term found in the cartoon world. Waacking instigated a social type of dance, a means of forming a group and employing a common language.
Known in its full version as “Popping Boogaloo”, Popping is a hip-hop dance speciality, which in Europe became known as the “Schtroumpf’ (“Smurf” in English) in an allusion to the white gloves worn by certain dancers. This so-called "funk style" dance came into being in the late 70s in California thanks to Boogaloo Sam and his dance crew the Electric Boogaloos. It's inspired by Locking, as well as mime, robot dance, hieroglyphs, Oriental dance, and even animals, such as snakes, etc. It is based on muscular isolation and disassociation, on linear figures, broken forms and body illusions. Breaks and contrasts are essential patterns: fluid and relaxed movements alternate with contraction and blocs.
The ultimate funky dance, it is called “funk style” after the music to which the dancers dance. Born in the late 70s in California, with Don Campbell Lock and his group the Lockers, it was popularised by the American TV show, Soul Train. Artists, such as James Brown and Michael Jackson also contributed to its reputation. It's an expressive, energetic and athletic dance, which radiates a zest for life. It combines rapid movements and pauses, frozen movements in the upper body and fluid movements in the lower body.
In place of a description of Krump here, I would like to recommend you to watch the film ›Rize‹ by David LaChapelle: