Choreographer Ching Ching Wong on Finding a Home in Dance

June 21, 2024

August 4, 1991. Whittier, California. My family had recently­ immigrated from the Philippines, it was my third birthday, and I declared “I WANT TO DANCE.” My desire to dance began on that day, it continues today, and with certainty it will be part of my tomorrows.

I dance because dance is home. Home as I have built it, home as it feels, and home where I find the people I love and who love me. Through dance I have tasted freedom, instinct, abandon, and trust. I have learned how to make mistakes, how to fail, how to collaborate, how to be disappointed, how to work hard, how to be proud of both myself and of others. This home has raised me and it has shaped the woman I am. I have found my voice. Dance has shown me that magic is real and this life we have is singular and spectacular.

From dancer to teacher to choreographer to stager to rehearsal director, my relationship to dance continues to evolve. Dance is woven into my being; it is how I see and traverse the world. I am dancing when I catch the train, when I hold your hand, when I am at my sewing machine, when I am grieving, crying, laughing, when the sun streams through the windows, and when the moon is full. I have learned through dance that everything matters, everyone matters, and everything is dancing with one another.

Even within the beauty and bliss, many times in my career I have lost myself. I have questioned, “Is this life in dance worth it?” “What am I giving up?” When these questions bubble up and begin to take over, I remind myself to return to where it all began. I return to the barre, I plié, and the reason why I dance comes to me. I am home. There is a pact embedded in the piano notes that we are in this together and that I belong here. To belong may be the greatest feeling in the world. More and more often these days, I am gaining opportunities to tell you, you belong here too.