Every body can dance…but not everybody is ready to get out on the dance floor and do it.

That’s where Big Moves steps in…

Founded by Marina Wolf Ahmad with a single day-long dance clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, Big Moves is a dance and service organization dedicated to getting people of all sizes into the dance studio and up on stage. For over twenty years, we have been creating a safer, welcoming, fat-positive atmosphere where people of all shapes and sizes can train in dance technique and perform onstage as part of a dance company…and have a whole lot of fun doing it! We are committed to centering fat people within our organization; our programs include training, choreography, and full-length dance productions by and for fat people. Our shows present a vision of a world transformed, where exciting performances can and do come from artists who resist narrow dance-world norms….and narrow dance wear options.

Jazz HamsOver the years Big Moves has had branches on both coasts, was home to several dance companies, hosted classes in everything from burlesque to aerial dance, and produced dozens of shows. Big Moves produced and was home to the six-season professional modern dance concert, Bodies in Motion, and co-produced a number of Original Fat Bottom Revue burlesque productions with the late Heather MacAllister of Big Burlesque. Our dancers have been featured in photo essays, local and national news features, documentaries, and have been featured on on NPR, PBS, and Entertainment Tonight.

Big Moves currently operates out of the San Francisco Bay Area and is home to emFATic DANCE* a jazz dance based performing company for people of all shapes, sizes, and genders. Big Moves typically offers the following throughout the year (note, these events are currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic):

  • Open rehearsals with emFATic DANCE, most first and third Saturdays of the month in Berkeley, CA (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19 but expected to return mid-2022.
  • Day of Dance  in late April/early May, a free day of dance classes for dancers and dancers-to-be of all sizes offered as part of Bay Area Dance Week;
  • Our annual big show in late spring/early summer, a full-length dance production featuring emFATic DANCE and special guests
  • Cupcakes and Muffintops in August, a clothing and bake sale where only the prices are small (offered in conjunction with FatFriendlyFunders)
  • A Taste for Dance in October, a chocolate tasting and performance showcase featuring emFATic DANCE and special guests.

Big Moves and all its programs are LGBTQIA+ welcoming and gender inclusive. We have a strict No Diet Talk policy in our rehearsals and workshops. Big Moves is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization and a fiscally sponsored project of Intersection for the Arts, a 501(c)3 organization.  We rely on our annual fundraising events and other monetary donations to fund our programs and all donations made to Big Moves are tax deductible to the limits of the law. To donate to Big Moves please visit Intersection for the Arts’ donation page and click on Big Moves in the list of current members and you can donate from there.  We are always looking to expand our pool of volunteers and if you are interested in donating your time, skills, or resources please contact us. We’d love to meet you!

For more information:

*From 2001-2011 emFATic DANCE was known as the Phat Fly Girls/Phat Fly Girls-West Coast.  To learn about our name please go here.