Beloved Shadows, de Nach

2 min

Beloved Shadows, by Nach

With her second solo, Beloved Shadows (2019), Nach hybridizes Krump and Butô, two dances born of protest movements, to explore women's desire and invoke her ghosts. A project born during a residency in Kyoto.

© Patrick Berger

Dancing Krump-style

Born into a Cape Verdean family, at the age of 22 Anne-Marie Van discovered dance with Krump, a derivative of hip-hop, while watching dancers on the forecourt of the Lyon Opera House. Fascinated by this raw and expressive dance, she trained to the rhythm of battles and sessions between Lyon, Paris and Los Angeles, taking Nach as her stage name.


From 2007, she began to mix her Krump with contemporary dance, performing the choreography of Heddy Maalem, notably in his piece Éloge du puissant royaume (Praise the Mighty Kingdom) in 2013. It was with this piece that she became a professional dancer. Nach then embarked on a career in choreography with a highly-noted solo about imprisonment, Cellule (Cell) in 2017.



Ghosts of women

While Beloved Shadows is a solo act, Nach doesn't seem to be alone on stage. In it, the dancer performs as all sorts of ghosts: her ancestors, friends, female fighters and lovers. Through their voices, Nach wants to explore women's desire, a desire that is sometimes transcendent, painful or violent.


To convey her point, Nach mixes Krump and Butô: she then offers a hybrid dance, which is nervous and committed and sometimes raw, but also very aesthetic, with a marked expressiveness of the face and a distinct language spoken by the hands.


The discovery of Butô

Nach embarked on creating Beloved Shadows in 2019 after discovering Butô, a type of Japanese dance theatre born in the 1960s. Often contemplative, it can seem the opposite of Krump, an explosive dance derived from hip-hop which is sometimes brutal.


But these two forms of expression also have similarities, including the fact that both originated from protest movements: Butô in response to the atomic bomb tragedy in Hiroshima in 1945, Krump in response to the plight of the Los Angeles ghettos in 2000. These are the similarities that Nach explores in Beloved Shadows, including the nightmarish world of these two dances.


Learning in Kyoto

To create Beloved Shadows, Nach went to Japan to learn about Butô, the origin of this solo, in more depth. She spent six months in residence at Villa Kujoyama and trained with the masters of the discipline, all while not speaking a word of Japanese and not always using an interpreter.


Nach works in particular with Moe Yamamoto, a former dancer with Tatsumi Hijikata who founded Butô, and who also went on an internship in the Hakuba valley with the Dairakudakan company. She conveys a whole vocabulary of gestures and an expressive aesthetic in launching the contours of Beloved Shadows.

Nach, Beloved Shadows
The Institut français and the project

Winner of the residency program at Villa Kujoyama, Nach completed a residency in Japan in 2018. Her Beloved Shadows solo, presented at L'Atelier, in Paris, in December 2019, is the result of her residency work. Find out more about the Villa Kujoyama residency programme