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Interview with Anasma
by Marcel Bieger
To see Anasma is always one of the highlights of a show. You can always expect something new from her and only very few dancers master even a big stage like the one at “tanzhaus nrw” in Düsseldorf, Germany.

This year she will be back there with a one-hour-show. For the first time she won’t perform as a soloist but with two actors and a whole dance troupe, the “Love Army”. Also Anasma will sing and has just released her first CD. What this is all about, we wanted to know from her …
Last time we saw you in Germany you were with the "Love Army Project", how is this project flourishing?

I’m really excited to announce “Love Army Project” is now part of an evolved vision: a full 60 minute theatrical production entitled “1984 … 2014”, which will debut at the “tanzhaus nrw’s” Orientale 2014 Festival on February 28th, 2014 in Düsseldorf for one night only! We are planning to make a DVD out of it with Rudi of Yasalam … but the live version is a unique opportunity for now! The Love Army dancers will be featured and I have the incredible privilege of working with the talented Massimo Capuano and Chiara Meloni of Compagnia Degli Gnomi, both wonderful actors based in Perugia, Italy.

My husband Pierre’s vision of the world
is at the starting point of the show
“1984 … 2014”. He is someone I call
a ‘real French Revolutionary’.

Like him, I believe the system we live in is going in a strange direction sometimes. He and I believe what is left for the people is hope, love, doing the best we can to teach the next generations, our future kids, values we believe in, in this changing context …

So “1984 … 2014” was born.
For years, I’ve been wanting to develop a solo dance show, using the different characters I’ve created. Many of them have similar existential questions, similar themes/axis of reflection. Miss Liquid in “Evil Pills” and “A Bad Dream” (with the car crash) questions the world we live in and has always had an interaction with the Little Devil, who would give her”an evil ball of energy”. Now I know this interaction is about him tempting her to ‘keep sleeping, unaware and unconscious while he manipulates the world’ and Miss Liquid was at first tempted but rejected the evil ball in the end. Düsseldorf and “Hagalla” saw this piece back in 2010 and its suite in 2011.
Created in 2012, Charlie Number 6, was my adaptation of Charlie Chaplin in the “Modern Times”(1936)  meeting “The Prisoner” influenced by the famous 1969 UK series from which this quote originates, “I am not a number, I am a free man”. Charlie Number 6 also rebels against the factory, the hard labor that makes no sense. I feel I am a bit of Charlie Chaplin because I finished my business management studies working for Unilever for one year. I realized I didn’t want to sell dried soups to make shareholders richer for the rest of my life. As a result, I chose my dancing, my heart, my artistic career.
And finally, the Love soldier and the Love Army, were created in 2012, and then in 2013 with the group, as a tribute to Michael Jackson, who promoted the idea of love throughout his life. He would say “I love you” to the audience every time he could. My Love Soldier was also talking about inner demons and ‘fighting against oneself’ or ‘fighting against one’s true nature’. We are always the toughest on ourselves. (Well, I am … I am a dictator to myself sometimes; I am my own Big Brother looking after me and watching me …)

Michael was also a fan of Charlie Chaplin … no wonder! He was also a fan of the Mime Marcel Marceau, too! Not a surprise Michael resonated with me so much! This in addition to me adoring his work from the age of ten.

Last summer, I reread “1984” by George Orwell and I had this vision that not only could link everything including Pierre’s and my vision of the world, my love for Pierre to my professional life, many of my solo pieces over the years and their individual stories, while including other great talent to support the vision! Massimo and Chiara are perfect in their roles of linking the thread, being the two protagonists, and the Love Army dancers represent an army of anti-system rebels lauding “fighting for Love” instead of “just fighting”. I feel so grateful I can find unity within all of my different visions with the “intention to say something”. Now I know what I WANT to SAY and the best part is sharing it and feeling surrounded by a fabulous team on stage and backstage.

There’s breath work and breathing techniques that have to be incorporated to be able to sing well while moving and jumping. I have such respect for those artists who sing and dance through a full concert. This year I’m focused on letting the dancer do the dancing while I do the singer’s part and focus. It’s taking one thing at a time, ha-ha! The mega multi-tasker in me is constantly taking on more challenges. It can be never-ending at times! I realized Anasma/Anh-Asma has to slow down and it is up to me to make it happen!
Why a Europe tour at this time, what can people expect?

I grew up in a Vietnamese-Tunisian home in Paris and lived in France until I was 23, so Europe has been home to me for most of my life. A European tour is like being at home for me. I have lived in some wonderful places including New York City for five and a half years, have gotten my American passport along the way, but I am now living back in Paris. I love travelling Europe and a tour gives me a wonderful excuse to reconnect with some wonderful people, places, be closer to family, friends, to Pierre!

I’m also looking forward to meeting new faces and visiting new places. I’m excited to say I’ll be visiting Ingolstadt, Bavaria for the first time in March! I’m fortunate to work in a field, which allows me to travel the world. I consider myself a world citizen and love connecting with others through music and dance.

I think people can expect to see a more confident and wiser Anasma both on stage and in my teaching style. I’ve grown so much over the past two years both professionally and personally. I’m taking risks, as usual, and applying what I’ve learned from my experiences. I wouldn’t have been ready to record an album five years ago. I needed to find my voice, both literally and figuratively. Expressing my self through singing is rewarding and challenging. In dance, I have developed more automations and characters I can embody and become during my performances. I do intend to always connect deeply to the emotion, to be true to myself and to the audience, but I realized recently I was often on auto-pilot as a dancer, even in my emotional connection.

One of my best performances dancing recently was a night when I accepted the anger and turmoil I was feeling inside. For once in a very long time, I didn’t want to perform, but it was a beautiful moment of growth for me because I finally danced for me, the Anasma inside, not for my audience, not to impress anyone. I was THERE for REAL and it was magical for ME (the human being, not the Big Bang Wham Performer) and hopefully for the audience, as well.

In singing, there’s no hiding behind a character, at least, not yet. Expressing myself through song is a little more vulnerable for me, but it’s exciting at the same time. Putting my voice forward. So, yes, people can expect singing in the upcoming shows and even more maturity and reflection in the storytelling. They can also expect me to be more in my body. Even though I seem very physical in my dance, and very in my body already, I am also extremely cerebral and ‘creative from above’.

With my Modern Jazz training with Dominique Lesdema and Bastien Nozeran, along with my collaboration with Linda Faoro, and in Modal Modern Underground with Thierry Verger, I am rediscovering dance, body awareness, movement perception and most of all, sensations … beyond “just concepts”. So it is exciting to add that layer of world-discovery - to my existing creative pallet.

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Photos ©: 1 and 5 Margaux Rodrigues, 4 and 6 André Elbing, 3 Devon Rowland, 7 and 8 Fernando Naiberg, 2 and 9 Konstanze Winkler
left: Anasmas "Love Army"
"Miss Liquid"
"Charlie No. 6"
Graphics/WebDesign: Konstanze Winkler
"Love Soldier"
"Little Devil"
"A Bad Dream"
Last year, creating the “Love Army Project” was a great way for me to experiment with the idea of having a group of dancers while honing my singing skills. I realized it is still a bit challenging for me to dance and sing well at the same time, but I discovered that movement dynamics helps my singing dynamics. Singing well while dancing can
be challenging.
Anasma "Love Soldier"