Chunky Move Commmunity Dance Classes

Get the latest from Beat

Chunky Move Commmunity Dance Classes


Contemporary anything has a tendency to stress Melburnians out, but Chunky Move public dance classes are the exception. Contemporary dance with the studio isn’t frigid and wholly technique-based, you don’t have to no what you’re doing – really – but come with a sense of adventure, and you can even shed a few kilos in the process sans gym membership. Hell – you might end up so inspired that you start own dance company… And now that the studio is at the forefront of the new Fletcher Pilates frontier here in Australia, you officially have the chance to out-contemporary yourself. Wear something cosy!

“I think most people by now know what Pilates is, but Fletcher Pilates is still very new worldwide – but certainly to Australia because we managed to bag the only Fletcher Pilates teacher in Australia,” says class curator Kristy Ayre. “It’s basically been derived by this gentleman called Ron Fletcher who used to train with the Martha Graham dance company. And what he’s done is to combine Martha Graham floor class with a Pilates methodology to create this sort of moving exercise/workout thing that is Fletcher Pilates.” If you’re not familiar with Graham technique, here’s a short history lesson: Martha Graham was an American dancer who was one of the first pioneers of the modern dance movement. In short, Ms. Graham took off her shoes and threw conventional choreography out the window – a major part of the reason a company like Chunky Move exists today.

“We thought that’d be good because it kind of takes Pilates but puts more of an organic movement spin on it – which we thought would be really nice being that we’re a dance company, not necessarily a run of the mill fitness centre.”

Chunky Move is definitely nothing of the sort – the studio space itself uses natural light and awe-inspiring architecture to create a similar sort of organic vibe. “I only found about this last year as well, so I was like, ‘Perfect! That sounds like a real exclusive class for a company to teach,’ so we’re really hoping that some people come along and enjoy it.” ‘Strict’ is not a word you hear Ayre use frequently. As a performer who has spent the past nine years dancing with Chunky Move, she focuses more on the accessibility of the types of dance classes the studio offers to the community. Another – in addition to Fletcher Pilates – is Contemporary Improv.

“This class is for members of the public who are interested in dance but not so much in technique,” Ayre starts. “People who are a bit more interested in free dance – being given verbal directions rather than ok, watch me, learn this phrase. It’s more a free form class that will be about your own way of moving and responding to information.” Memories of a former dance instructor flood my mind. She’s telling me to move my coccyx bone and I haven’t quite figured out where that is. It can be an amazing experience discovering the names of parts of the body, how they respond once you’re conscious that they exist and understand how they function. To me – this is contemporary improvisation: a little quality time between you and your body.

“Something I like that we’ve done is actually set up a really nice adult environment to go and experience really long standing dance technique. Obviously not as long as classical ballet, but I guess I describe to people that it has a technique and certainly a method in the way that a class will function.” It is clear that Ayre believes in the program in this way as well. “We set up the environment for people who have always wanted to try dancing when they were little, or perhaps did ballet and decided that they didn’t want to go back and do that sort of thing – but don’t necessarily want to go to a gym and be part of a class with 40 people.”

The classes Ayre has introduced into the Chunky Move community dance program have the power to challenge and transform a person intellectually and spiritually. “I’ve been around to witness the public dance program grow, and have known some students who have been coming for many, many years, who are now sort of starting up their own things in the independent scene – applying for funding to do some projects and are starting to create their own work and that’s really exciting to me. It shows how it’s evolving the whole community.”

Chunky Move’s dance classes resumed on January 24. They’re priced well with a single class at $18, a five class card at $85, a ten class card for $165 and a 20 class card for $320. For more details and timetables visit

Cayce Hill