How can I get involved?
There are so many ways! Did you mosey on over to the right of the page and sign up for our newsletter? Great, now head on over to our Events page to see what we have coming up. Involvement can be anything from baking something for Cupcakes and Muffintops to performing with emFATic DANCE to volunteering to help on our Advisory Board. Of course, any monetary donation also helps tremendously. You can support us by donating through our fiscal sponsor, Intersection for the Arts. Just be sure to select Big Moves in the pull down menu of fiscally sponsored projects.
I’m interested in joining, but I haven’t danced since I was a kid. OR I’m interested in joining, but I’ve never danced in my life!
Please don’t let that stop you! We train dancers of all skill levels to be comfortable in class and onstage, and we don’t pressure anyone to perform before they’re ready. That said, we’ve been delighted to watch tentative dancers discover the fierce performer inside them. A good place to start is coming to one of our Open Rehearsals and getting a feel for what the choreography feels like in your body.
I’m interested in joining, but I live in New York (Chicago, Nevada, Sweden). Is there something similar near me?
The San Francisco Bay Area is currently home to the only chapter of Big Moves. We’re an all-volunteer organization, so we’re not currently looking to expand. For many years, we’ve been the nation’s only service organization dedicated to promoting size diversity in dance, but we’re delighted to report that this is changing! Many dance troupes are adopting size-inclusive practices. We’d suggest a thorough Internet search for fat dance near you. If you can find a local fat dancer, contact them and ask what they recommend. If you don’t find something specifically for fat dancers, we advocate finding a body positive friend or three to go to a local dance class with you!
Wasn’t there a Big Moves on the East Coast at some point?
Yes, there was. Our founder, Marina Wolf-Ahmad, moved to Boston in 2003 and founded several East Coast chapters of Big Moves which were quite active in performance and training. Currently, however, the San Francisco Bay Area is the only Big Moves location.
I notice you use the word fat quite a bit. Isn’t that insulting? Why not use plus size or curvy?
Good question! We know that the word fat is sometimes shocking to hear used in a matter of fact way. Because of our connection to radical fat community, we prefer it to euphemisms such as curvy or plus size. Fat is the most factual assessment of the situation: we’re fat like others are short or tall or thin or brunette. It’s our culture’s idea that fat means lazy, stupid, unloveable, ugly etc. that is the real problem, not our bodies. Fat is a tissue, not a moral failure.
Is there size minimum to join? Is there a size maximum? Absolutely not! emFATic DANCE and all Big Moves events are open to people of all sizes. We are loath to police the boundary between fat and not fat, partly because that boundary can move depending on context. Especially in the traditional dance world, bodies labeled as fat can start at a lower size than we might expect, and we certainly don’t wish to replicate the all-too-common experience of being told you’re the wrong size to be in a dance studio. People’s weight fluctuates for a variety of reasons we don’t presume to know, and we’re not interested in policing the size of our dancers. We do, however, ask that our rehearsals and events be free of diet and other negative body talk. This helps create a safer space for everyone’s body, and helps us all find more interesting, respectful ways to interact with ourselves and each other.
Important note: While people of all sizes are welcome to dance with us, as an organization we remain committed to centering and prioritizing the needs and experiences of fat dancers. As part of our commitment to creating this safer space for all bodies, we have a strict No Diet Talk policy in rehearsals.
Where can I see video of you dancing?
At this time, we don’t have public video available for general Internet viewing. This is partially because we want to retain control over where those videos end up, and partially because we believe there’s no substitute for experiencing fat dance live and in person. We encourage you to come and take in a show! However, we do keep video of all our performances, so if you’re doing a particular project and you’d like to see or use video or stills of emFATic DANCE, please get in touch with us and we’ll talk about it.
I’m writing a dissertation/producing a television spot/making a documentary and would love to talk to you. Are you open to that?
Yes, we’re often enthusiastic about participating in these kinds of projects, and our dancers are an outgoing bunch! All press inquiries should be addressed to our Director, Matilda St. John, via our contact page.