I’m interested in bodies and histories and layers beyond the first impression. I always say, and somehow it’s a bit of a cliché, but I know someone better if I’ve seen someone dance or even better, danced with them. Maybe it is to do with a language beyond the verbal and the visual, a shared experience. For me, movement and dance are ways to connect or a form of communication that I use both professionally as a choreographer or just dancing for pleasure.
I think the beginnings of Wallflower were simply a way to get to know each other. Tell me about yourself. Even as a creative exercise, a spoken task about the dances we’ve done the histories we’ve had – it was possibly the longest I’ve ever been asked to speak about myself and it just seemed endless, like a surreal audition and of course its pretty tricky to just say – there’s a compulsion to move.
I guess I’m interested in dance as both an art form and a way to live. I would like dance and movement to be appreciated more. I’m interested in changing learned and formal norms about how to be. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to organize my body in a way that is socially acceptable, attempting to be still or composed or focused on my face or brain. But somewhere along the journey I’ve accepted I just have to move.
I’ve worked in dance for over 25 years, earn’t my money in dance, bought a house through dance, had relationships with dancers / choreographers, I’ve seen A LOT of dance, yet some of the dances I’ve seen by the Wallflower cast are some of the best dances I’ve seen in my life. It’s fair to say I’ve fallen in love with all the cast, they speak to me and I understand this language.
Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer working in dance, film, theatre and the visual arts.