During the 1990s, a number of smaller dance groups formed in Hanoi, such as BIG TOE and S.I.N.E. They learned urban dance through video material from abroad. Street dance was completely new at that time and the names and categories of urban dance styles were confusing. After Vietnam became connected to the Internet in 1998, the latest information from all over the world including about dance were an open book for everybody. This was the heyday of hip-hop in Vietnam and around the world. The Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français teamed up to use this new wave of artistic expression to develop international relationships among young people. Together they wanted to bring German-French hip-hop cooperation to Vietnam for the benefit of the local scene, to practically deepen the understanding of hip-hop and to build international connections.
In 2003, the Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français started their joint application for funding annual individual projects from the Franco-German Cultural Fund. Activities in film, electronic and jazz music, literature, art and culture in public spaces, etc. have emerged from these bilateral efforts to this day. This bilateral liaison connected with Hanoi hip-hop started with Camin Action and its operator Dirk Korell. Eventually, dancer Niels Robitzky aka Storm and The Urban Dance crew developed a long-lasting relationship with BIG TOE and S.I.N.E. They performed in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City, went on tour to France, Germany and Indonesia.
Raphael Hillebrand maintained the relationship with Pham Khanh Linh and his group S.I.N.E. This resulted in the first co-production Nhieu Mat/Faces in 2011. Nhieu Mat became a highly acclaimed show at the festival Europe Meets Asia in Contemporary Dance. Cooperation and travel to and from Germany continued over the next few years. The joint production Connect followed in 2015. This piece impressed with virtuoso movement techniques and innovative use of media, such as the light installation by the artist Christian Mio Loclair. Invitations and financially supported performances followed, lately on the occasion of the German Culture Days in Saigon in 2017.
The Goethe-Institut met the dancer Nguyen Duy Thanh for the first time during these early days of Hip-Hop. In 2004 he was a member of the Hip-Hop group S.I.N.E. Since the group won the Got Talent competition in 2013, Duy Thanh continued as solo dancer. He learnt contemporary dance with the choreographers Tran Ly Ly and Arco Renz. His stage presence is breathtaking and it is not without reason that he became famous as Thanh Buddha. Since 2020 he has made a name for himself as a choreographer for freelance dance performers.