Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer working in dance, film, theatre, opera, spoken word and live art.
Jo lives in Wales and her creative work reflects the need in these times for people to come together. Her artistic practice is an evolving, collaborative approach which puts ideas around belonging or forming community in the forefront.
She began her career creating and performing with DV8 Physical Theatre, Rosas (Belgium) and Rambert Dance Company. Recent collaborations include working with Wendy Houstoun, Deborah Light, Sonia Hughes, George Orange, Unfinished Business, Anushiye Yarnell, Skye Reynolds, Battersea Arts Centre, National Theatre Wales, National Dance Company Wales, Welsh National Opera, Hull Dance and Quarantine.
Jo is a Creative Associate with the Wales Millennium Centre. As an independent artist she has presented performances throughout the UK and at international festivals. Her work has been recognised and awarded by the Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards, Creative Wales Award, British Council and Wales Theatre Awards.
Current performances and events include: Ways of Being Together, Neither Here Nor There, To Tell You the Truth, Our Land, What Will People Need? Nettles: How to Disagree? and The Sun’s Come Out created in collaboration with artist Sonia Hughes. A Brief History of Difference with Das Clarks, Marathon of Intimacies with artist Anushiye Yarnell, Jo contributed to Luke Hereford’s Grandmother’s Closet at the Wales Millennium Centre and was invited by Wales Arts International to perform The Rest of Our Lives with circus maker and clown George Orange at Summerhall, Edinburgh Festival 2022.
And the epic How Shall We Begin Again? See selected works.
How Shall We Begin Again?
So far 138 people have been involved in performances in London, Cardiff and Peterborough. Dancing the dance of returning to the body.
a live installation; a creative action;
between portraiture, protest and something like a prayer.
Just a moment, to be in the moment.” – Jo Fong
The first 16 hour live installation took place at Siobhan Davies Studios as part of Neurolive’s 5 year science art project which investigates ideas around liveness. Watch the video and find out more HERE
Further performances took places on the main stage at Wales Millennium Centre, the idea was about taking up space and being present in our difference. Re-commissioned by Jumped Up Theatre in Peterborough, a coming together, a first step for Key Theatre in diversifying arts spaces.
Neither Here Nor There was created alongside writer and performer Sonia Hughes for Experimentica Festival at Chapter 2018. They have been touring UK and international venues, festivals, village hall, chapels and a vegan barbers. In 2019 they were joined by artists Eddie Ladd and Sara McGaughey who have reworked the performance in Welsh. Last year Neither Here Nor There was presented at both the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol and This is Wales Edinburgh Showcase and noted at a Late Recommendation by the British Council Edinburgh Showcase
Ways of Being Together is a choreography for many people, developed through workshops, gatherings and pilot performances at Hull’s Year of Culture and Xintiandi Festival, Shanghai. The work explores connection, conversation and communication. The act and art of bringing people together. Ways of Being Together was performed by 46 people who love to move Cardiff Dance Festival 2017. Jo recreated the piece at Shoreditch Town Hall for Chinese Arts Now Festival in February, 2020.
An Invitation… toured the UK and international venues. The work was selected for British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2015, British Dance Edition 2016 and Szene Wales in Dresden.
The Rest of Our Lives was commissioned by Rural Touring Dance Initiative and has been performed at Chapter, Ageless Festival (Yorkshire Dance), The Place Theatre (London), Dance House (Cardiff) and seven village halls across the UK. Created in collaboration with Circus Director and Clown George Orange and was presented as part of Gwlad Gwlad, This is Wales Edinburgh Showcase last August.
These creative processes have and continue to bring people together through performances, workshops and discussions.
Previous Associate Artist positions include Sherman Theatre, Chapter Arts Centre, SE Dance and Chinese Arts Now (CAN).
The work is thought-provoking and centred around people, dancers or players who translate, reveal or perform. The work is grounded in the idea of honesty in performance and looks under the skin: the psychological drives, motivations or inherent characteristics of an individual or group, creating a shared and considered relationship with an audience. The body is my first language, though text and voice work are regularly a part of the whole. I combine physical knowledge, agility and experience with a raw, rebellious and curious spirit. I endeavour to understand further and explore the scope for movement to communicate and to cultivate work that is generous, engaging and embodies an alternative beauty.
With a team of collaborators I strive to create and present contemporary work that is created through multiple art forms and performance techniques. The work creates shared experiences, as an audience member, performer or as participant. It seeks to invite an open exchange and immediacy through arts creation and opportunities that aim to promote and support inclusivity and the value of art to everyone. At the heart of the work are the people – their skills, their aptitude for excellence, collaboration, sharing and creating a dialogue that embraces creativity, integrity and learning.
Jo Fong’s creative work has been supported by Arts Council Wales, Arts Council England, Diverse Actions, Chinese Arts Now, Creative Scotland, Fieldwork, British Council, Sherman Cymru, Neurolive, Chapter Arts Centre, Dance House and Coreo Cymru.
SELECTED PERFORMANCE – DANCE, FILM, DIGITAL DANCE, LIVE ART AND THEATRE
2020 | Throughout this year Jo and Sonia have been connecting weekly developing to new digital renditions inspired by Neither Here Nor There called The Sun’s Come Out and To Tell You The Truth a library of conversations with people from marginalised communities.
2018-2019 | Neither Here Nor There created with artist Sonia Hughes for Experimentica Festival at Chapter. Performed at Summerhall as part of This is Wales Edinburgh Showcase and selected as a Late Recommendation by the British Council Edinburgh Showcase.
2011-2019 | Quarantine theatre productions Entitled and Wallflower – directed by Richard Gregory
2014-2015 | Wendy Houstoun’s Stupid Women Juncture Festival and Nott Dance.
2013 | Sean Tuan John‘s Happiness Repeats itself
1994-2010 | Mark Bruce Company productions include Sea of Bones, Lovesick, Dive, Angel, Helen, Blackbird/Red Rose, Love and War and Dance Hall At Louse Point
2001+2010 | Royal Exchange Theatre’s productions of Peer Gynt and The Bacchae directed by Braham Murray
2006 | Finn Walker’s Man and Woman for Ricochet
2005 | DV8 Physical Theatre’s Just For Show directed by Lloyd Newson
2001-2005 | Sarah Warsop’s Orange Gina, Spirit Level, Bye commissioned by Snag Project
2004 | Esther Balfe’s Fake Space 2 commissioned by Tanz Theater Wien
2004 | National Theatre Company’s Cyrano De Bergerac directed by Howard Davies
2003 | Second Hand choreographed by Chris Ho for Channel 4
2000-2003 | Arc Dance Company’s productions of Brothers, Elegy, Saints and Shadows, Hamlet directed by Kim Brandstrup
1998-2001 | Jeremy James and Company’s performances include Juice, Parts, My Big Pants, Cheese, The day I stopped, Gaps, Lapse and Relapse
1997-1999 | Colin Poole’s Saturn and The Work
1992-1994 | Rosas directed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaker performing Rosas danst Rosas, Erts, Mikrocosmos, Mozart Concert Arias
1990 -1991 | Extemporary Dance Theatre
SELECTED MOVEMENT DIRECTION AND CHOREOGRAPHY
2019 | Remounting Nigel Charnock’s Lunatic with National Dance Company Wales and Nigel’s archive and estate holders Graham Clayton-Chance, Gary Clarke and Nick Mercer.
2019 | Being Seen created with Contact Dance Company (Shropshire Inclusive Dance). Currently touring.
2018 | ENGLISH working alongside Dir Richard Gregory writer and Sonia Hughes a co-production between National Theatre Wales and Quarantine.
2014-2018 | An Invitation… Zoo Southside, Edinburgh Festival 2014, The Place Theatre 2015, Dance International Glasgow, Dance Base, British Council Edinburgh Showcase 2015. British Dance Edition 2016.
2018 | Der Zaubertrank working alongside director Polly Graham for St.Gallen Opera, Switzerland.
2017 | Ways of Being Together premiered at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff Dance Festival.
2017 | Bridge commissioned by Xintiandi Arts Festival, Shanghai. A site specific work created with local performers.
2017 | Belonging for Hull’s Year of Culture, Transgressions Dance Festival, commissioned by Hull Dance
2017 | Le Vin herbé working alongside director Polly Graham for Welsh National Opera’s new production.
2015-2017 | PITCH is a collaboration with Skye Reynolds. PITCH Premiered at Dance Base, Edinburgh Festival 2016.
2016 | Kommilitonen! for Welsh National Youth Opera – Movement Director, collaborating with Dir. Polly Graham
2015 | National Theatre Wales’ Mother Courage directed by John McGrath – Movement Director
2014 | Dialogue – A Double Act Toured to Montreal, Bordeaux, Cardiff, Turin and Arnhem.
2014 | Watching Audio-visual work made in collaboration with Heloise Godfrey-Talbot.
2014 | Is this Dancing? Short film made in Collaboration with Filipe Alcada and Eeva-Maria Mutka presented at the Bodies in Land Festival Wales
2011-2014 | Witness – Portraits of Women Who Dance Dance Film Installation toured throughout the UK and was presented at Tramway Glasgow as part of British Dance Edition 2014.
2011-2012 | Wild Swans at the American Repertory Theatre, Boston and Young Vic Theatre, Movement Associate
2010 | Nabucco opera production supported by the International Foundation for Arts and Culture Directed by Oshima Takashi and performed at the Shinjuku Bunka Centre, Tokyo
ASSOCIATE ARTIST POSITIONS
2019 | Chinese Arts Now, CAN
2016 – 19 | Chapter Arts Centre, Peilot Associate Artist
2017-19 | Research Associate at SE Dance
2011 – 14 | Coreo Cymru
2010 | Sherman Cymru
2018 | Ways of Being Together nominated for a Wales Theatre Award
2018 | Le Vin Herbe winner Best Opera, Wales Theatre Awards
2017 | An Invitation… is nominated for the Wales Theatre Awards
2017 | Kommilitonen! winner Best Opera Wales Theatre Awards
2015 | 2016 Creative Wales Award
2002 | Outstanding Young Female Dancer (Modern) by the Critic’s Circle’s National Dance Awards
2001 | Nominated for Best Newcomer Award by the Critic’s Circle’s National Dance Awards
WORKSHOPS, ARTIST DEVELOPMENT AND CLASSES
1995- 2019 | Jo is an experienced dance and movement leader and shares the work and her expertise as a workshop leader, teacher, mentor, rehearsal director or as assistant. She regularly teaches professional level at National Dance Company Wales and the movement for actors at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
2016 | Jo became a trustee of community dance centre Rubicon, Cardiff