Melissa Fox and Jan Van Dijk have created a safe haven for anyone in need of a moment of escapism. On a Sunday afternoon, feel welcomed into the warm environment this pair has created with Sunday Hot Club. Enjoy watching swing dancers and musicians with a passion for gypsy jazz. Fox describes their club as “a unique building of worlds, full of laughter and good times”.
Melissa Fox is the CEO of a non-government organisation called Health Consumers Queensland and has lived in West End since she was 18. Not only is Fox a CEO, she is Vice-President of the Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC). As well as this she represents consumers on the Queensland Clinical Senate and the Queensland Nursing and Midwifery Executive Council. Fox dedicates her time to empowering people to improve the health system.
While juggling these impressive positions, Fox has had two daughters with her partner Van Dijk with whom she collaborated to create Sunday Hot Club. The club combines Van Dijk’s love for music and Fox’s love of dance. Fox is passionate about dancing burlesque and swing, and swaying between responsibilities. She says finding balance is key. “How you survive a busy life is taking a moment to focus on you. I was in a burlesque class the other day and it felt like meditation.”
Van Dijk is a talented violinist with a dedicated passion for gypsy jazz music, as well as being an experienced painter. Van Dijk has contributed many beautiful art pieces to the club that delicately complement Sunday Hot Club’s new location in South Brisbane at food start-up incubator Wandering Cooks. Two of Fox’s favourites artworks include the handpainted band shell that sits behind the stage, and the painting of Ewan Mackenzie (a gypsy jazz visionary) on the French-style chair gifted by the event’s previous host location, Vieille Branche.
Fox and Van Dijk reconnected after many years having not seen each other, bumping into one another on a bus in the 4101. Van Dijk spontaneously jumped off the bus and lapped the block until he “accidentally” bumped into Fox. When sitting across from Fox and Van Dijk, it is impossible to miss their undeniably sincere connection to one another. When asked what inspired Sunday Hot Club, Van Dijk said, “It was very organic in a way; we just love playing music and Foxie loves dancing.” He continued, “We have accidentally created our perfect Sunday afternoon.”
The pair is constantly travelling to New Orleans and were inspired by the intense unity between the dancers and the musicians in the gypsy jazz scene there. They wanted to bring that opportunity to Brisbane, and in the process, they have helped to nurture the booming gypsy jazz scene here from their favourite borough. Their shared love of this music genre is inspired by visionaries Ewan MacKenzie and Django Reinhardt.
For the future, they both hope to see Sunday Hot Club reach out into the 4101 community. Fox says one of her hopes for the future is “seeing more people enjoying this world”.
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