Blog by artist Jo Fong

Blog by artist Jo Fong

Firstly, huge thank you for staging this creative and challenging event. A marathon well worth all the effort, planning and passion everyone had put into these 2 weeks of searching, breakthroughs, conversations and observation.

There were numerous high points and yes I will list them.

Meeting Guru Mentor Emmanuel Grivet, conversations with Nick Minns and Sally Varrell. All gave generous support and knowledge, confidence and curiosity to the creative process. They became something of a reflection to my process. As an artist I gained considerably though concise, sensitive and intelligent questions or feedback. Personally there has been a door opened to the potential of my work, further knowledge about the way I work and to be honest this was not something I could have predicted. There is a turning point here about how I function as a Director and Choreographer.

The Artists.

A great pleasure to be able to share work, share conversations about where we have been and what is of interest to us at this stage in our careers. Also, each artist has individual aims and concerns, the support and exchange was so valuable and I hope they felt I was equally open and able to digest others thoughts or aid in their individual growth.

I feel I have met like minded people who are equally invested and investigative, this is a great honour. I look forward to seeing how these relationships will continue to grow.

The Presenter and Network.

An opportunity to share, yes it was heightened but also hugely advantageous for an artist such as myself. This is the first time I have exposed my work in process or spoken directly to such a broad spectrum of people who facilitate the arts. The balance between business and arts is a tricky one for artists and this event supported us throughout. In the future my hope is that I have grown from this experience. I don’t predict that my showing or conversations will trigger further touring from this event, though this was never the focus for me. These things take time, and as a first introduction this event was the beginning of a beginning.

Open Process and The Sharing

Great to be in my home town and yet there was an extra pressure to make a good presentation and representation. Currently JO FONG is focusing on connections both in Cardiff, Wales and beyond. This event has been so useful for reinforcing connections here in Wales and if people from further afield did not get to see this, this has been a great talking point and creates a possible future for the Dance Roads piece Dialogue.

Also a great opportunity to work the concept of Open Process into the piece and vice versa. The subject matter I have been working with is about connecting, sharing and inclusivity. Happily I was able to work and utilise the opportunity of a two week residency and sharing to my artistic advantage. As I said, Dialogue is a piece that need to be practiced in front of an audience in order for it to develop.

As for the dancers I was working with I’m confident that both Beth and Laura also gained artistically from the residency. For all three of us it was an intense pleasure to work within a community.

Opportunities like this are rare and valuable for artists and the communities they work within. Big thanks to all the partners of Dance Roads and I would like to praise Carole Blade on her work and organisation for this event.

Feedback for future residencies.

My only thought on this is that each artist is different and has different needs this may be something to consider for future planning. There were issues with space and the schedule, there were issues with settling in and others, but I think once we were more aware everyone pitched in and made the best of this opportunity.