Culture vulture

13th January 2006 at 00:00
Jo Buffery is moved by movement - even when the knives are flying

Best films

I cried at Mad Hot Ballroom, which is about New York kids learning ballroom dancing for a competition. To me, competitive dancing has a jarring note, but this didn't. You saw the children grow in poise and posture and grace.

It was incredible. I liked Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes. There wasn't really a story; what held you was the intimacy of people talking.

You almost felt your clothes would smell of smoke and you'd had too much caffeine by the end. I saw House of Flying Daggers around the same time. My son asked if I'd found it violent, and I realised I'd watched the whole film as a huge dance, partly because it was all so staged but also partly because there was an aesthetic to the fighting.

Favourite books

Roddy Doyle, particularly The Commitments. Maybe because, though I don't share the characters' lifestyle, I can identify with that sense of pulling together to achieve something. Making music together, dancing together, putting a show on, against the odds of poverty or wider relationships or people being too drunk or too tired.

Dance works

The New Art Club: two men dancing with a lot of humour, but still something serious going on. CandoCo (pictured), a mixture of able-bodied and disabled dancers, who I think have pioneered a new choreographic language.

Treat in store

I'm doing outreach work in the spring on a new English National Ballet production based on Oscar Wilde's story "The Canterville Ghost". It has an exciting choreographer, William Tuckett, who's making his name in ballet for young people.

Energy music

I like using Christopher Benstead's music because he's made CDs for the kind of work I do: making dances with people that often explore a theme or an issue. I use the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Michael Nyman film music, Australian traditional music. I downloaded Peggy Lee's "Fever" because it's in Mad Hot Ballroom. I still sing along to music, and if I'm on my own I dance. Even with no curtains in the house. I think that's what it's for.

Jo Buffery, 44, is a freelance creative arts specialist and part-time creative arts teacher at the Red Balloon Learner Centre for bullied children in Cambridge.

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