After a rigorous selection process, we are thrilled to announce Joel Bray as the inaugural Choreographer In Residence. Set to commence in 2021, Joel will undertake an $80,000 two-year residency at Chunky Move, an initiative in partnership with the Tanja Liedtke Foundation.  

The introduction of this major new initiative extends Chunky Move’s commitment to supporting established independent choreographers to develop their careers while furthering the company’s ambition to transform how contemporary dance is experienced, valued and understood. 

The residency is designed to provide Australian choreographic artists with extensive support to develop and present new work, further their artistic practice, gain organisational knowledge, extend their professional networks and build a meaningful ongoing connection with Chunky Move. The selection panel for our 2021-2022 C.I.R involved Amaara Raheem, Martin del Amo and Thomas E.S. Kelly, alongside Chunky Move’e executive leadership team. 

C.I.R recipient Joel Bray said: “It was dancing with Chunky Move which brought me back to Australia. So I am so thrilled to be coming onboard as Choreographer-in-Residence; it feels like coming home. I received the news whilst walking through the city and did a little spontaneous dance on the footpath, because this incredible opportunity is such a vote of faith in me and my practice, and a genuine investment in Blackfella work of scale. My heartfelt thanks to both Chunky Move and the Tanja Liedtke Foundation. I can’t wait to get cracking next year!” 

Joel’s choreographic practice springs from his Wiradjuri cultural heritage. His works are intimate encounters in unorthodox spaces, in which audience-members are invited in as co-storytellers to explore the experiences of fair-skinned Aboriginal people, and the experiences of contemporary gay men in an increasingly digital and isolated world. His body becomes the intersection site of those songlines – Indigenous heritage, skin-colour and queer sexuality.

“We are thrilled  to announce the appointment of Joel Bray as our inaugural Choreographer In Residence for 2021-22. Through the selection process,  the panel  were  blown away by Joel’s enthusiasm for the opportunity and his clear ability to identify how he  will  work with  the company  at this critical moment in his career. Joel’s connection to Chunky Move has been significant, having previously been a performer and commissioned artist and we are excited to have  his thoughtful, vibrant and creative presence contributing to the artistic program of the company over the next two years” – Co-CEO’s Antony Hamilton & Kristy Ayre.

The Tanja Liedtke Foundation said of the inaugural initiative: “We are fully dedicated to fostering the artistic development of young Australian choreographers and are thankful to be part of this extraordinary program with Chunky Move.” 

Read Joel’s full bio here.

Photo by Daniel Boud