Happy New Year from Big Moves

Happy New Year everyone!

We are working on booking our dates for our 2016 events and we will let you know as soon as we know what is happening when.  In the meantime, open rehearsals with emFATic DANCE are continuing on the first and third Saturdays of the month, so come on out dance with us!  Also, take a look at this video emFATic did for Rainbeau Curves late last year.  We had a lot of fun and love how the video turned out.

See you in the studio!

Call for models and volunteers for A Taste for Dance 10/24 in Oakland, CA

Have you ever wanted to strut your stuff down a runway, but been too intimidated by potentially unfriendly fashion audiences? Do you have some glorious clothes you scored at Cupcakes and Muffintops (any year!)? Now’s your chance to live your dream in A Taste for Dance’s Cupcakes and Muffintops Fatshion show (10/24 in Oakland), where you can soak in the appreciation while spreading the gospel of budget-friendly fatshion!

If you’re the shyer type but would still like to help, consider volunteering for the event! You’ll get in free and help us to beautify the hall with spooky decor, set up and replenish chocolate, and help with cleanup.

Ambiverts are encouraged to do both!

Models and volunteers get into the event free, and most will be able to enjoy the whole show from their posts.

If you would like to model and/or volunteer at A Taste for Dance please send an email to

Next Open Rehearsal 9/19

As you can see in our event listings we have a really busy number of weeks coming up with three weekends of shows in a row.  We are really excited about this, but it does mean the open rehearsal schedule has had to be adjusted.  The schedule for the coming months is as follows:  9/19, 10/3, 11/7, 11/21.  NOTE: NO OPEN REHEARSAL 9/5 or 10/17!   Also, if you are interested in joining emFATic DANCE we will be able to accept new members starting 9/19. Hope to dance with you soon!


Fat Reign THIS WEEKEND (6/13-6/14) in Oakland!

We are so excited we can barely stand it!  Fat Reign is THIS Saturday (6/13) and Sunday (6/14) at Laney College in Oakland and the show is looking AMAZING!  Be prepared to be moved, entertained, challenged, thrilled, intrigued, excited and more.  Do you have your tickets yet?  What are you waiting for?  Get them NOW so we can see all your beautiful faces in the audience this weekend and so you can experience all that Fat Reign has to offer.  Here is a line-up of Fat Reign performers, as well as a sweet preview pic of emFATic DANCE in the Fat Reign dress rehearsal:


 emFATic DANCE is the resident company of Big Moves and has been delighting audiences around the Bay Area and beyond since 2001. emFATic DANCE is bringing fourteen dancers and six dances to Fat Reign showcasing high energy jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and live singing!

Raks Africa is Oakland’s award-winning bellydance duo. Etang Inyang and Tammy Johnson have been shimmying together at venues across the country since 2006. They also are the co-directors of the Girls Raks Bellydance and Body Image Program for young women ages 13 to 24.

Shapes & Shades Dance Company is a brand new contemporary/ hip hop company focused on promoting diversity in dance and they also teach dance and body positivity to youth.

The Tartlettes are a glamour-loving group of gals who aim to pay homage to the 20s and 30s with their synchronized chorus line, dancing historically-accurate routines with charleston, lindy hop, and tap.

Magnoliah Black breaks all boundaries as a dancer, singer, mc and producer by blending modern burlesque with performance art and activism. This quadruple threat got her start with the round and rowdy award winning troupe Rubenesque Burlesque six years ago and continues to shake up the scene with every sashay and sway.

PawsUP! is fatter than your average garage band and queerer than a $3 bill. Between us we play 8 instruments and have 7 pets.

The House of Lordes is a performance collective with members Brock Cocker and Tyrone Peaches. Tyrone Peaches is a down home boy with a lot of sugar in his tank. He has performed with the All Black Drag King Group – Nappy Grooves and as Nefarious Vulvaleen, his Glamazon counterpart. Brock Cocker loves all kinds of people especially those with a little jiggle in the middle and has performed up and down the West Coast.

Sarah and Tigress began dancing together as the fulfillment of a Scorpio pact in 2013. This is their third performance together in the Big Moves show. Follow Sarah at Follow Tigress at

The FFE Models represent fat glamour in sizes 14 and up. As representatives of Full Figure Entertainment, they help get the party started at Full Figure Fridays and help spread the word about body love and size acceptance. Check or follow @effieoakland on Instagram for more information.

Lucia N. Habitions, burlesque performer and long time member of Rubenesque Burlesque, is what you get when you cross growing up in the childrens’ Beauty Pageant circuit, 30+ years of dance and theater training, and an obsession with all things vintage.

Ms. Juicy D. Light is a Fierce, Radical, Fattie Femme. Founder and Artistic Director of Rubenesque Burlesque and Producer of First Friday Follies and Salacious Under-ground, she, as a solo performer and with Rubenesque Burlesque, has traveled all over the country and Canada changing minds and hearts regarding the sensuality and beauty of fat women.

Photo by Lilia Faith

Day of Dance 2015 Schedule

We are getting very excited about our annual FREE Day of Dance coming up on Sunday April 26th, 2015.  Here is the day’s schedule.  You are free to drop in and out all day, we just ask that you show up 15 minutes prior to the first class you wish to take so you can register and get settled.

Day of Dance 2015 Schedule

11:45- 12:00 Registration

12:00-12:30 Warm up with Matilda St. John, Co-Artistic Director of emFATic DANCE

12:30-1:15 Belly Dance with Raks Africa (

1:15-2:00 Lyrical with Jessica Judd, Co-Artistic Director of emFATic DANCE

2:00-2:30 Break

2:30-3:15 House Jazz with Nafi Thompson of Bahiya Movement (

3:15-4:00 Burlesque with Juicy D. Light of Rubenesque (

4:00-4:15 emFATic DANCE performance/closing


Save the Dates, 2015 Edition

We’ve been working hard to get our annual events scheduled for 2015 and we are happy report that we have been successful in that mission!  Put the following dates on your calendar so you never miss a Big Moves event!

  • Sunday April 26th, 2015: Big Moves’ Annual FREE Day of Dance,  Noon-5pm, The Beat, 2560 9th St. Berkeley, CA
  • Saturday June 13th (8pm) and Sunday June 14th (2pm), 2015: Big Moves Annual BIG SHOW, Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, CA
  • Sunday August 2nd, 2015: Cupcakes and Muffintops: A clothing and bake sale where only the prices are small, Humanist Hall, 411 28th St. Oakland, CA
  • Saturday October 24th, 2015: A Taste for Dance: Big Moves’ annual chocolate tasting and performance showcase, First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St., Oakland, CA

Stay tuned for more details about these and other happenings in 2015.  We hope to see you soon!


Join us for Open Rehearsals in the New Year

If you are looking for fun, supportive, body-positive place to dance look no further and join emFATic DANCE in our no-diet talk, non-body shaming, fat positive zone for Open Rehearsal on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of most months. Open rehearsal is an opportunity to learn new dance skills and explore new dance styles in a fat-positive, beginner-focused, class-like format alongside the emFATs you know and love. The dance style will vary but will typically be focused on jazz, lyrical, contemporary. and/or musical theater. All open rehearsals will begin with a jazz/ballet warm-up including some center work and stretching and end with learning an emFATic combination. Open rehearsal is a great place to start if you are interested in performing with Big Moves and/or the place to be if you are just interested in working on some dance fundamentals. Open rehearsals are open to people of all sizes, genders, and skill levels (including beginners). Please wear clothing you are comfortable moving and sweating in, bring dance shoes (jazz, ballet or dance sneakers) if you’ve got them and be ready to MOVE!

Open Rehearsal with emFATic DANCE 
First and Third Saturdays of the month
(1/3, 1/17, 2/7, 2/21)
12:00-1:30 pm
The Beat, 2560 9th Street, Berkeley, CA
$15 drop-in/ $20 for both classes in a month
FREE with your A Taste for Dance Program

A Taste for Dance (Chocolate Tasting) 2014 Follow Up/Apology

We here at Big Moves would like to issue an apology. At our recent chocolate tasting (A Taste for Dance 2014), a guest artist, Pavini, used a puppet to symbolize the Long Dark Night of the Soul. Pavini intended for the puppet to be read as an embodiment of the struggle they have felt when wrestling with questions about their socialization in terms of fat, but for some the puppet read too literally as a black person. We understand that this puppet, used by a white artist, was problematic for a number of reasons, regardless of its intent, and the puppet reading as a black person also triggered the trope of the wise person of color for some audience members (what Christopher John Farley called the “Magical Negro” in 2000:  We apologize for this happening at our show.

Since the event, we’ve been in conversation with Pavini, who has been very open to feedback about the impact of their work. Here’s a statement pe wrote for the community:

“I have received and deeply contemplated feedback from people who saw my Long Dark Night of the Soul puppet and felt worried that my piece might move towards black caricature. I truly regret that I did not consider that my puppet could be read in terms of race.

I am in a process of learning how considerations of race must inform all of my work. I didn’t know about the magical negro trope, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to research it. I’m grateful for the ways this experience helps me to understand more deeply the privilege I have as a white artist.

I stand behind the radical content of my “Spiritual Fat” piece. I feel proud of the vulnerable nature of the work. I am committed to developing it so that it truly reflects my subversive intentions. I am very sorry for any harm caused by my lack of awareness.

I’m not sure yet what the next iteration of the puppet will be.  I am committed to both making art and being in community consciously.  I feel very thankful to those who honestly brought their experience to my attention, and those who help me to know the things I do not know alone. This is why we need community.  I remain open to feedback.”

As producers, we take full responsibility for what’s on our stage, and we are committed to more thoroughly reviewing our own works and the works of potential guest artists for problematic aspects that maintain the systemic injustices we seek to dismantle. We’re enthusiastic about Pavini as a new guest artist with excellent content, and share their earnestness in making fat art that is thoughtful and enjoyable for everyone.

Like Pavini, we also very much appreciate people’s willingness to talk frankly with us about any discomfort they have at our shows; we consider that a generous gift that helps us grow, and we thank you.

Matilda St John, Director of Big Moves and Co-Artistic Director of emFATic DANCE


Jessica Judd, Co-Artistic Director of emFATic DANCE

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