Yin Yue is a dancer and choreographer based in New York. She is the artistic director of YY Dance Company, and has developed a signature training method and approach to movement called FoCo technique. FoCo (folk-contemporary) incorporates five elements (root/ground, wood/axis, water/surrounding, metal/tension and fire/kinesphere) and three rhythmic stages (pulse, drop, flow) across three training segments for dancers (triggering, rooting, mapping). The FoCo technique requires the dancer to masterfully integrate all elements, resulting in finessed texture and well-rounded movement quality.
I first met Yin Yue at Schrittmacher Festival in Aachen, Germany three years ago where I reviewed two of her engaging shows and we had an enlightening conversation about her work and the New York dance scene. The organic, yet structured and energetic FoCo technique made me willing to learn her movement language, an assemblage of delicate but sharp movements inspired by natural elements. I met Yin Yue again while in New York in March where she invited me to take one of her FoCo technique classes to better understand her dance language.
VP: What is your educational and dance background?
I trained in Shanghai, China, Classical Chinese dance and folk dance, then I went to college to study modern dance. However, the dance world was heavily influenced by the classical standard, I didn’t see myself fitting into any professional dance career, so I decided to leave China and seek dance education in New York City. I went to New York University Tisch School of the Arts in 2006 for MFA in dance. I have been in NYC since then working as contemporary dance performer and choreographer.
VP: When did you start your career as dancer and choreographer?
I technically never had a career as dancer because I never joined any professional dance company. However, I danced as freelancer in several dance projects before I decided to perform mainly in my own choreography. I started to choreograph after graduation. I also created dance works in college and university, but after graduation, I was able to present my work in festivals and apply for other choreographic opportunities.
VP: What inspires you the most for your creations?
Movement. I am fascinated and passionate about movement, how the body can move, how the movement can be put together and composed, how phrases can speak emotion when there are no words or stories. I am always inspired by the unique creation of movement and how different approaches to movement can represent someone’s perspective on life.
VP: And you founded FoCo (folk-contemporary technique). When did you start developing it? And what was the driving force behind it?
I first had the name FoCo technique in 2013. I wanted to have something uniquely mine that represents my movement quality and choreographic style. The initial thought is to better and more clearly speak my own language to dancers through my teaching and choreography, in order to do that I started developing a more systematic teaching and format.
VP: And how would you describe it? How do you think FoCo impacts and contributes to the dancers and the dance world?
I believe FoCo technique is a great way to train dancers’ understanding of movement, precision and control. It is both a technique training and a style of moving. It is a unique fusion between eastern and western techniques. My Chinese dance training inspired me greatly to develop the circular and grounded approach and I combine it with the sharp edged and dynamic movement from contemporary dance I experienced in NYC. It becomes something richer and deeper in my opinion.
VP: You are artistic director, choreographer and dancer of YY Dance Company. When did you founded YYDC? And despite the uncertain times we are living, what’s next in your agenda?
The company name was used in 2012 when I presented my first evening length dance work with ensemble. However it was in 2018 when the company was officially a registered not-for-profit dance company. Next, if possible, the company will host a week long intensive training in summer but at the moment, the fate of it is unknown. However, I will have some opportunities to create in a residency as well as my own choreographic commissions in the fall.