Interview: Meet the teacher - Victor Fung

Friday 28 October 2016

Photo: Victor Fung Dance Company

Victor Fung is an independent dance artist based in Hong Kong and London. He is Artistic Director of Victor Fung Dance and was a guest choreographer at City Contemporary Dance Company, the leading contemporary dance company in Hong Kong. He has worked internationally as a choreographer, performer, teacher and researcher with organisations including The Place, Dance4, Tate Modern, Middlesex University and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.
Victor’s classes at The Place are currently open for people to drop in…

What is your favourite thing about teaching?
The overall thing that interests me the most is seeing people finding their unique voice in movement and building a sense of confidence through dance. I teach a wide spectrum of people. As a dance artist I enjoy guiding young people and amateur dancers into the world of dance and introducing them to the art of movement and being able to share my passion with these people. I want to allow them to experience the art-form rather than just seeing it on stage or through screen and provide them with a much more embodied experience.

In terms of professional dancers, I teach a lot of classes and workshops internationally so I’m always interested in exploring new possibilities and pushing the boundaries of the art-form. Instead of teaching them what dance is, I’m more interested in exploring what dance can be. In my professional classes you would of course get the more technical exercises so I use that to push boundaries.

Who is your biggest movement inspiration?
This is quite a hard question to answer because I get inspiration from a lot of different things. I always see different movement practices as different viewpoints on the body by carrying respective philosophies and ideologies and the varying cultural backgrounds that are attached to them.

So it’s much more than a physical thing?
Yeah. For instance, release-based technique is based on making that body and mind connection, which shares some similarities with practices like yoga. I remember being inspired by my grandfather as well, who does a lot of martial arts – he wasn’t set in stone in terms of this being tai chi and that being something else. He would often merge things and mix them together by finding similarities and differences in them. I think this approach to movement is actually quite similar to a contemporary dance artist.

What about outside of dance? Is there anything currently inspiring you or that has stuck with you for a long time that you keep revisiting?
Cinema very much sticks with me. When I create work, a lot of times it’s really influenced by cinematic language and technique. I draw on jump-cuts and the idea of going from one scene straight away into another. Slow motion and fast-forward, those sort of things are really interesting to me.
The civic responsibility of dance artists is also something that is motivating me at the moment. How we instigate change and make a difference in communities through our art form. Although a lot of times we spend time creating work for the stage, I’m interested in how these works can not only cater for those who are familiar with dance, but to a wider society.

So why do you think dance has become such a popular hobby in London?
Dance is a very good way to bring people together. In a contemporary dance class, most of the time it’s a group of people who rarely do go one-on-one in that way. It’s about creating an atmosphere within the studio where people can feel safe to explore movement.

Through dancing, you create a mutual understanding through things like partnering work and you’re getting to know someone on a completely different level than just speaking.

I see contemporary dance as a means for which people can gain a better understanding of their bodies. I think that is quite an attractive thing, this sort of self-investigation approach to dance.

Victor teaches a released-based Contemporary Level 1 class at the Place on a Friday evening, 6.30 – 8pm. Drop in available.

For more information about classes at The Place

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