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 those photographs of refugee children washed ashore that have been making the rounds those past few months. A careful observer, he likes to watch lonely poets, Indians in the woods, bare hand rock climbers, actors-in-training, and big brothers giving their younger siblings a helping hand. The choreographer regards childhood as the kingdom of art, a time of beginnings, of trials, of learning, where everything is possible. A time when one can just as easily fall and be reborn. Those past few months, through workshops in the Charterhouse of Villeneuve lez Avignon and at the Collection Lambert, Thierry Thieû Niang has met with youths from all over Avignon. Some of them have also met at the FabricA in January. Whether they be already experienced or fresh newcomers, together they form a unique and fluid community. Their fragility, their commitment, tell stories of blooming, of fall, of loss and consolation. They share the stage with a young musician, Robin Pharo, who gives the ceremony its tempo, serving sometimes as a guide, sometimes as a witness. His viol creates a sonic bridge between ancient and future times, a suspended present for these thirteen youths whose intensity will resonate for a while, thanks to the words of writers Linda Lê and to Claude Lévêque's neon-words, created especially for the show.
Thierry Thieû Niang
From the moment he met the young actors who would appear in Au Coeur, Thierry Thieû Niang started 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 thus brings together artists from various fields and horizons: Camille Dalmais, Linda Lê, Robin Pharo, and Claude Lévêque for this new project; at other times Marie Desplechin, Ariane Ascaride, Anne Alvaro, Audrey Bonnet, Pierre Guyotat, Patrick Autréaux, Vincent Dissez, and Philippe Forget. 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.
From the Louvre Pyramid to the école Pierre Budin in the neighbourhood of the Goutte d'Or in Paris, Claude Lévêque creates works for and with specific locations. Atmospheric works, where vibrating neon lights, children's words, shadows, and everyday objects open breaches in reality—breaches that are often unsettling, sometimes joyous, always vertiginous. Since the early 1980s, he has presented his work in the greatest contemporary art museums and biennales. Among his most emblematic installations, J'ai rêvé d'un autre monde (I dreamt of another world) can be seen in Avignon, at the Collection Lambert. For Straight to the Heart, Claude Lévêque wanted to let himself be inspired by the at times serious poetry of children...
Choreography Thierry Thieû Niang
Stage design Claude Lévêque
Text Linda Lê
Music Robin Pharo
Vocal training Camille Dalmais
Lights Jimmy Boury
With alternating Pauline Abossolo, Eliott Allwright, Zoé Clément, Camille Deniau, Camille Dufour, Shana Lempereur, Timothée Lopacki, Loris Mercatelli, Anna Mazzia, Quentin Maximim, Mathieu Maximin, Dorine Parma, Pierre Tailleferd
and the musician Robin Pharo (viol)
Production Festival d'Avignon in collaboration with Augurart
Co-production Collection Lambert at Avignon, Chartreuse of Villeneuve lez Avignon, Le Phare Centre chorégraphique national du Havre Haute-Normandie, Viadanse Centre chorégraphique national de Franche-Comté at Belfort, Les 2 Scènes Scène nationale de Besançon, Théâtre Gérard Philipe Centre dramatique national de Saint-Denis, Théâtre Paris-Villette
With the support of Spedidam, BNP Paribas Foundation, SACD and King's Fountain
With the help of agnès b.
Hosted studios and residences at la FabricA of Festival d'Avignon, at La Chartreuse of Villeneuve lez Avignon and at la Collection Lambert