Artistic therapies: Thierry Thieû Niang, masseur of the soul

On his white hospital coat, it is written “Dancer choreographer”. For two years, Thierry Thieû Niang, “Almost 60 years old”, is “Artist in residence” at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis). He practices his art in the oncology and hematology departments, more particularly with patients undergoing chemotherapy. To help them apprehend this moment, “Critical”, with another look, he does what he can do best: dance, ” for them “.

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Dancing in the hospital is “Shift attention, shift the tension”. He says patients tell him: “I no longer had pain, in such and such a place, looking at you. Suddenly, I was light, I danced with you. “ For him, “There is, in movement, something which straightens”. Everyone is a dancing being. “The child in his mother’s body is already a slow. “

Dance, a “meeting”

Faced with patients, the former soloist therefore claims “A shared dance”. Without overly technical gestures or dreams of grandeur. “Stretch out a hand, put it on a back, swirl, in a simple rhythm. “ He speaks of the dance as a ” meet “, even silent. Exhausted by illness and suffering, patients sometimes lose the taste and strength to speak. In Bobigny, with its mixed population, some patients barely master French. Dance becomes language and makes it possible to make the link.

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Over the course of the meetings, Thierry Thieû Niang noted how much “After these strange months that we have just passed”, bodies need “To find each other, to touch each other”. His presence is intended to be consolation, an invitation to slow down, release of a tense body. ” I am not a doctor. I don’t fix, I don’t heal. Let’s say I stroke the soul. ” Sometimes he ventures out ” further away ” and, beyond the dance, invites the sick to walk with them in the corridors. To carry them on his back, in his arms. Make contact, always.

“I felt like I was going in circles”

It all started over ten years ago. “I felt like I was going in circles. If I wanted to continue to love dancing, I would have to open up more. “ He begins to dance with autistic children, prisoners, the elderly, in geriatrics (1). “My choreographic vocabulary has been renewed. ” He dances for others… but for himself too.

Dance and sing to age better

Thierry Thieû Niang knows it: the body is not only a carnal and virtuoso envelope. “The suffering, aging body necessarily questions the dancer that I am”, he specifies, challenged by what his meetings have taught him about fragility. “We are all vulnerable, potentially sick beings. ” Dance to console, relieve: “It’s always very disturbing to have this relationship with patients. “ Recently, Thierry Thieû Niang has started to experience it even more closely. “My father is slowly starting to need assistance. Recently I had to help her put on her shoes. And I felt so awkward. I must find the dance to dance with my old daddy. “


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