Jig your memory: the dance marathon that sends us spiralling into the past

From bopping to Top of the Pops to a failed Cats audition, Quarantine’s five-hour show Wallflower asks its performers to recall every time they’ve ever danced

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Do you remember the first time you danced? What about the last time? And all the dances in between? When the performer Jo Fong auditioned for Richard Gregory, co-director of the Manchester theatre company Quarantine, that’s what he asked her. “It was a getting-to-know-you exercise,” says Fong, “Let’s have your whole history through the art form of dance.” Now, six years later, Fong is part of the cast who have turned that exercise into a full-blown, five-hour epic piece of autobiography called Wallflower.

The resulting performance reveals “our physical relationship with history”, says Gregory, or an “encyclopedia of experiences”, as Fong puts it. An experienced dancer who has performed with DV8, Rosas and Rambert, Fong talks about movement as a sense memory. “In the same way that smell is,” she says. “It lives with you.” Just as a fleeting sniff of something familiar can send us spiralling back into the past, so a remembered movement can do the same, whether it’s something mundane or virtuosic.

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Source: Guardian Dance News

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