Fetu Taku is a fierce trans woman determined to make an impact on the Australian dance scene. Inspired by her sister Pania, a dance teacher and choreographer in Sydney, New Zealand-born Fetu followed in her footsteps, training as a hip hop dancer before going into full time training at 17 and studying ballet, tap and jazz for the first time. GODDESS is Fetu’s debut with the Dream Dance Company and she is excited to train in Caetlyn Watson’s signature style.
What has your dance journey been like until now?
My sister Pania is 11 years older than me, and when she moved to Australia to train full time at Brent Street she wanted some support, so my mum and I moved here too. Watching her and seeing the power behind dance and how you can make people feel, I was like “this is what I’m doing”. I just knew it. Hip hop was the first thing I trained in, so when I went through to full time it was such a shock. It was definitely hard, but it was also probably the best decision I’ve ever made.
How would you describe your dance style?
It’s such a fusion. If I had to choose a word, I would say airy. It’s very airy but I still like to hit musicality, through a mixture of hip hop foundations with a contemporary feel. Definitely a fusion of that. I am also so inspired by dancehall and reggaeton, so I take a little bit from that as well.
What do you love about Caetlyn’s style?
I’ve been so inspired by her since I was fifteen or sixteen. I remember seeing a video and I was just in such awe. I feel like when you see people on video they’re just on a pedestal, so she’s always been a big source of inspiration to me. I’m excited to learn from her because I find her style incredibly challenging. I think a lot of people think that I would be a natural at it but it’s so not the case, some of the things feel so difficult on my body. She’s very specific and I think because we have very different bodies, it’s hard, but I’m really excited to learn. She just seems like an incredible person to train under.
What about working with Marko?
I’m just looking forward to getting to know him more, because he seems like such a sweet, out there, spontaneous person. I feel like everything that I see and hear about him is that he is just easy to be around and a really beautiful soul. GODDESS is going to be very intimate and very close, I’m excited to get to know people. I think when you live with people for a little bit it changes everything!
As a trans woman, what has your experience of the dance industry been like?
I think that trans women and men often get looked past. I hear a lot of people say that my craft is amazing and they love my choreography but they never really take the next step of hiring me or letting me take charge of something. So I think one thing I really want to put forward while I dance in this show is that I am 100% a human, before the label “trans”. Just to show people that we are just as important as everyone else. We are real people, we are here, we are doing this, and it is just that simple sometimes. I really want to portray strength in who I am as a trans woman when I’m on stage. And I definitely hope that reaches other younger dancers, because I know a couple who I can feel are struggling or are held back from themselves because they don’t have anyone to talk to. That’s what is going to be so amazing about GODDESS and the Dream Dance Company, it’s just going to be a chain reaction. Marko isn’t afraid to hire minorities and people that aren’t always taken seriously, which will push more people to speak out. That will be so incredible, and I can’t wait to see it happen! It’s definitely a goal of mine, to build up the trans community. I was thinking the other day I would love to do a piece with a group of trans women. But there’s not really any working trans dancers in the industry, so I would love to help build that.
Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
The thing that I concentrate on and I always try and get my students to focus on is your journey. Let yourself go through your journey. Don’t try to get to your end result straight away because you’re just going to set yourself up to fail. I think it’s important to take your time and let yourself grow. I’m still going through my journey, I haven’t hit the place where I want to be just yet, but I’m definitely trying to be OK with that and know that I’m doing well. And be authentically yourself, while you do it. If you’re living through someone who you’re inspired by and you just want to be them, you’re going to get a really quick reality check because you’re not them, you’re you. For a long time I wanted to be my sister so bad, and it did not work out well! Especially because back then, I wasn’t out as a trans woman yet, and a lot of things hit me at once, so that was hard. I think now I have a sense that I am good in my own body, and I know that I am my own person. Being myself and being authentic was an important lesson.