A young body lies on the ground. Is it alive or dead? Are we on a nearby beach or in a garden, a schoolyard maybe? Like many of us, Thierry Thieû Niang was upset by the photographs of refugee children washed ashore that made global headlines back in 2016.
For the choreographer, childhood has always been at the heart of his work: childhood in the world, childhood in art, childhood as a time of trials and learning where everything is possible, and childhood as a moment when one can just as easily fall and be reborn.
To The Heart is another Niang’s exploration of childhood. Inspired by the powerful photographs of the bodies of refugee children lying on the ground, the project is a chance for the artist to speak to children and teenagers and show the joy that children express when they play (alone or in groups), running, falling, playing dead, or pretending to be reborn.
Whether the participants will already be experienced dancers or fresh newcomers, together they form a unique and fluid community. Their fragility and commitment will tell stories of blooming, fall, loss, and consolation.
They will share the stage with the musician Sean Harold, who gives the ceremony its tempo, serving sometimes as a guide, sometimes as a witness. His music creates a sonic bridge between ancient and future times, a suspended present for these fifteen youths whose intensity will resonate for a while, thanks to the words of writers Linda Lê and to Nemo Hoffman’s artwork.
Choreography: Thierry Thieu Niang
Performers : Baird Tenney, Oren Shorr, Claudia Digiambattista, Dahlia Bartosik-Murray, Faine Francis, Ivy Lockhart Aukin, Hermence Maisonneuve-Godec,Jayden Sealey, Laurice Lawrence, Louis Schoeppach, Mathis Paturel, Melchior Delpech, Blair Taller, Théodore Gintzburger and Violet Newman
Artistic Collaborator: Simon Courchel
Text: Linda Lê
Music: Sean Harold
Sculptures: Nemo Hoffman
Lights: Sean B. Leo
This project receives the support of FACE Contemporary Theater, a program of FACE Foundation in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with the support of the Florence Gould Foundation, Institut francais-Paris, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors.
From the moment he meets the young actors who will appear in To the Heart, Thierry Thieû Niang starts calling them by their first names. A sign of recognition, or of extreme affection. Every one of them is a person.
A schoolteacher and psychomotor therapist by training, the choreographer knows how to set up the ideal conditions for movement and for future exchanges, for his research has long been for and with all bodies; with children, with older people, with people with autism, or with prisoners, he likes to create spaces where all can coexist. And to tell everyone that dance is a simple joy and that walking with someone else is in and of itself a way of existing, a life project.
He brings together artists from various fields and horizons Linda Lê, Marie Desplechin, Ariane Ascaride, Anne Alvaro, Audrey Bonnet, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Claude Lévêque, Denis Darzacq, Jean Bellorini, Pierre Guyotat, Vincent Dissez, Eric Lamoureux…
He has also worked with directors for the theatre and the opera – with Patrice Chéreau on his latest creations, for instance – but also with singers and visual artists. Du Printemps (A Time of Spring), created for the Festival d’Avignon in 2011 with twenty-five amateurs aged 60 to 90, then went on a world tour, adding local performers at every step along the way; it was shown at The Invisible Dog Art Center in 2014.
Dates + Times
Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 7:30pm
Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 5pm
$10 suggested donation
The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.