Manuscripts of the Mind: exploring mental health by dancer-poet Jessie J’ng


Essential reflections on bipolar disorder from a talented young south-east London based choreographer



Many creatives have wanted to write, while knowing how it feels to have no inspiration or a personal block to their creativity.

Deptford-based Jessie J’ng, a Malaysian–Chinese dancer, choreographer, writer and poet, tasked herself with a single, not-so-simple goal: to pen a hundred poems in 2016.

Having never completed a manuscript, her aim was to visualise her mind onto paper and, along with it, attempt to find a little clarity and wisdom.

Dedicated to “all the beautiful minds that live with bipolar disorder”, her new collection, entitled Manuscripts Of The Mind, is a series of poetry and prose dedicated to and inspired by the fantastical world of the bipolar mind; and how one journeys through the metamorphosis from living to “being”.

Jessie says writing has always been part of her identity, from keeping diaries when she was younger to both her choreographic practice and creative projects. And when she doesn’t have a notebook in hand, she is either in the studio dancing and rehearsing or at home.

Cover Artwork. Image: Ghost & Ribbon

Throughout the enterprise, it became evident to J’ng that there was an underlying meaning and purpose.

She realised she wanted to choreograph the pieces into a nature-like narrative – the hills and the valleys of the mind, and everything in between – in the same way as dance and movement: vocabulary choreographed to express, emote and evoke. “The dualism between a dance artist and a poet is underpinned by the choreographic-compositional approach,” she says.

A student at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, studying a master’s degree in Fine Arts in Choreography, Jessie produced her first independent poetry exhibition in Hong Kong, titled ‘Pursuit of Perfection’, in collaboration with fashion store Mahka HK in 2017. Following this came her second independent dance-poetry exhibition in London for Deptford X Fringe.

Bipolar disorder and mental health issues are still too often misconceived: Manuscripts of the Mind hopes to introduce bipolarism in a different light – through its poems of creative expression and linguistic choreography, rather than an analytical and pragmatic approach.

Mental health poetry or not, Jessie’s process and guidance can be applied in poetry, dance, creative writing or, in fact, any journey in life.

‘Within the shackles of judgement
I found reason.

Within the condemnation
I found purpose.’

Manuscripts Of The Mind is published by Ghost & Ribbon. Buy it here or on Amazon. Follow Jessie’s journey on Instagram and Twitter @Jingely.

Main photo credit: © Camilla W Photography. This is a sponsored post in conjunction with Ghost & Ribbon. If you would like to work with us on any similar content please email info@belowtheriver.co.uk

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