Bios

Jessica JuddJessica Erin Judd joined Big Moves in 2001 as a founding Big Moves board member and emFATic DANCE member. Co-artistic Director of emFATic DANCE since 2008, Jessica has also served as Director of Big Moves Bay Area (2004-2009) and manager and member of Mass Movement, Big Moves’ former modern dance company (2002-2006). Trained in jazz, lyrical, hip hop, and rhythm tap dance Jessica loves leaps, turns that aren’t piourettes, and any dance that allows her to travel extensively about the stage. She feels extraordinarily fortunate to be working with so many talented, fun, and fabulous fat dancers who trust that it will all make sense in the end. A research analyst in a a former life, Jessica is now a free-range fat activist and stay-at-home mother of two fabulous and funny kiddos. Her essay “Blue Pants”, was recently published in Virgie Tovar’s anthology, “Hot&Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion.” An avid nature/wildlife photographer and vintage cookbook collector, Jessica enjoys hiking, yoga, and finding new and exciting ways of fighting fat hatred, promoting body liberation, and subverting heteronormativity . Jessica offers profuse thanks to her husband and original Big Moves roadie, Peter, for his phenomenal support of her and all things Big Moves. Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

matilda_closeMatilda St. John spent her elementary school years training in jazz and dreaming of becoming a Solid Gold Dancer. Although those early dreams never materialized, she was delighted to find and join Big Moves in 2002. She’s the current Director of Big Moves and the Co-Artistic Director of emFATic DANCE, and is honored to serve as the costume consultant for so many beautifully fearless dancers. A psychotherapist by day, she enjoys the chance to show off her less inhibited side through dance; she loves across-the-floor work and whip-fast pas de bourrees. As the resident musical theater enthusiast, she also relishes making silly dances look deadly serious. Matilda lives in Oakland with her long time partner, in a house full of accordians and beasts. Photo by  Gabriela Hasbun.

Cindy CuttsCindy Cutts comes to the Bay Area by way of North Carolina and Nebraska, but believes she has always been a California Girl at heart. As a youngster she studied ballet, tap and jazz dance, but took an extended break to pursue other interests. She is thrilled to have an opportunity to continue her dance education, and to have found such a bawdy and bodacious group to learn with and from. In her free time she crafts, wrangles cats, and occasionally sleeps. She would like to thank her husband Matt for his superhuman patience and support. Photo by  Gabriela Hasbun.

Alanna KellyAlanna Kelly is a fat dancer and choreographer living and working in West Oakland. Once a tiny bad tempered ballerina, adult Alanna found dance again as a way to finally put her many body hate demons to rest. She has trained in jazz technique with Big Moves Bay Area since 2007, and she has also studied West African, Hula, Hip-Hop, Musical Theater, and Ballet (again!) on and off since 2005 and especially lately. You can follow her doings at www.alannadances.com, or find her on FB where is she usually mouthing off about something or expressing love for geeky things and/or food. Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

Minda QuickelMinda Quickel was raised by dancing bears who taught her to do the Dougie and to growl when she’s hungry. Adopted by Big Moves San Francisco, she moved out ofthe forest and into the city in 2008. In addition to dancing, Minda likes to ride her bike, swim, eat free samples and play games. She wants to thank her fellow emFATs, roommates and good friends for inspiring and supporting her. Play on playas! Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

012812 008_editedKristen Young has been dancing since the ripe ol’ age of 4 1/2 years old. Even with an 18 year break from dance, she never stopped dancing completely. Everywhere she went, there was a stage…grocery store, mall, sidewalk or cafe. While dance is a big part of her life, she can also be found embarrassing her 2 daughters, husband and coworkers. YES! Somebody gave this gal a job…thank you Title Nine for taking a chance on a crass fatty. Photo by Jessica Erin Judd.

P1100013_editedAmanda Cooper read about Big Moves in a magazine and dared to dream that one day she would dance with them. A few years and a few thousand miles later, she is realizing that dream and has been dancing with the EmFATs since 2010! As a lifelong dancing enthusiast, activist and fatty, she is inspired by this opportunity to bring so many of her passions together. She enjoys jumps, kicks, isolations and choreography that repeats itself. She has earned the nickname “other way Amanda” and appreciates the troupe’s acceptance of her directional challenges and inability to keep her mouth shut. Amanda enjoys a professional life consulting non-profits on communications and campaign strategy. California born and raised but fully realized in Brooklyn, she lives in Alameda with her husband Brett, daughter Maxine and still gets confused when people ask her where she is from. Photo by Natalie Ingraham.

Natalie

Natalie Ingraham is working on her spotting skills and jazz splits, while also finishing her sociology PhD and coordinating some exciting projects at Lyon-Martin Health Services in San Francisco. This is her second full year with emFATic dance and she fully credits dancing and her fellow dancers for keeping her (mostly) sane during grad school. She lives with her wondermous partner Michael surrounded by dogs, chickens and sunshine. Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

Jana BusbinJana Busbin is a wanderlusty Southern lady and aspiring mermaid. Her greatest inspirations include fried okra, thunderstorms, and her grandmother’s square dancing dresses. You can find her rambling down backroads with a fatkini and a dream, perpetually searching for boiled peanut stands and mountain swimming holes. When she isn’t performing with emFATic DANCE, she’s country western two-step dancing and practicing flamenco. Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

P1090987Christian Dean is in love with chaine turns and pink tutus. She currently takes up space in Oakland, California passionately finishing her last years of college pursing a degree in Psychology. She is a confident, sassy, and feisty young fatty. She has always had a love for dance, but didn’t see herself performing with little experience. Having volunteered with the sound at last years Jazz Hams, she quickly surrendered to her fear, embraced her love for dance, and has been dancing with emFATic ever since! When she’s not in her dance shoes, you can find her encouraging young women to love their bodies, putting her feet in the sand at the beach, singing along with loud music in the car, putting together cute outfits, and enjoying the stomach aches of her laughter. Photo by Natalie Ingraham.

Betty OramBetty Oram is a professional naked lady. She hails from the hippie wonderland of Berkeley, California, and spent her formative years in the high desert of SoCal, running amok in the woods learning critical theory and musical snobbery. After a brief, unsuccessful romance with college, she learned the art of profitable nudity at San Francisco’s Lusty Lady Theater. Twirling around in her unmentionables reminded her of her first love, ballet, and after a long delay (and some prodding from Natalie), she attended emFATic’s Day of Dance and Jazz Hams in 2012. She has been dancing with the group ever since. She likes high kicks and leaps, and dislikes direct sunlight. Photo by Jessica Erin Judd.

YalithYalith Fonfa has been dancing since a children’s tap/ballet class in 1989 where she learned to shuffle-shuffle-step to Hey Mickey. She joined emFATic DANCE in November 2012. She really loves pique turns, leaps, and symmetrical choreography. She can usually be seen with a little white poodle named Bea, but as Bea is not a dancing poodle, she will not be performing with emFATic DANCE.

 

securedownloadCherry Poppins is new to the emFATic DANCErs – she showed up for an open rehearsal in February 2013 and never left! She has been a burlesque & drag performer for about 10 years, and although her momma was too poor to send her to the ballet classes she begged for as a kid, she did frequently tag along with her stepmother to Jazzercise, giving her a critical early foundation in grapevines, box steps, spandex, and scandalous pelvic thrusts. When not at dance practice, you can find her getting in touch with her Southern roots via country two-step, sewing, hot gluing things to things (aka, crafting), organizing community, talking about grassroots fundraising as activism, and taking her dog to the beach with her co-dog-parent, Amy. Photo by Sarah Deragon.

En Masse - Behind the Scenes-10-XLAlexandria Wright hails from the East Coast and is currently a doctoral student in UC Berkeley’s Rhetoric department, where she studies feminist philosophy and cultural theory. She is brand new to emFATic DANCE in 2013 and is also happily in the midst of directing her second short lm – a tale of queer fat flirtation. Photo by Lisa J. Ellis.

 

 

romeika picRomeika S. Edwards joined Big Moves in 2013 after participating in En Masse with Full Figure Entertainment. Romeika was amazed by all the size positive message and something that she learned that she loves, dance! During the day, Romeika works as a Front Desk Educator (Medical Assistant) and at night, Romeika is a full time mother with her partner, Michael and her daughter, Malia. During the weekends, Romeika loves to represent plus sizetivity as a Plus Size Model for Full Figure Entertainment. Romeika is happy to embrace on a journey to self discovery, self love and giving other women the confidence to love, honor and embrace themselves. Now lets boogie!

2013-03-23 19.59.44Shaéla Stephens grew up in Berkeley and has been dancing since she was 4 years old. From ballet to west African to afro-hatian dance to praise dance and to the modern/jazz dance style of emFATic she  just loves to dance. While not dancing Shaéla teaches preschool and first grade and has studied early childhood education as well as biology.

 

 

Laura Malouf-Renning Bio coming soon!

Megan Briceno Bio coming soon!