James Vu Anh Pham on touring Chunky Move works
‘Without the support of generous donors, myself and my colleagues and friends at Chunky Move would not have been able to come together and learn, create and share.’ James Vu Anh Pham.
Each year Chunky Move creates extraordinary Australian work and takes it to the world. Touring our works internationally has become an essential part of our identity and showcases the artistic integrity and brilliance of Australia’s dance community. For over 20 years, we have toured to over 118 cities around the world, starting valuable cultural dialogues and significant pathways for local dancers to grow their skills and build careers internationally. We sat down with company dancer James Vu Anh Pham to discuss the impact touring unique works with Chunky Move has had on his career.
What impact has performing with Chunky Move had on your career as a dancer?
Chunky Move was my first professional experience and will forever be a part of me, and my growth as an artist. Performing with Chunky Move has allowed me to dance and work with incredibly experienced and established artists from all different walks of life and has also provided a beautiful environment for me to feel vulnerable in. I strongly believe that accepting my vulnerability encourages growth and development on a deeper level and it is rare to feel a sense of family, safety, respect and discipline all in one company of this size.
Since working with Chunky Move I have been able to learn and be mentored by Artistic Director Anouk van Dijk and her movement methodology Countertechnique. Since then I have continued onto other companies in Europe but still always try to make an effort to stay involved with Chunky Move as it simply is just a pleasure to be a part of.
Why do you think it is important for Chunky Move to take their works overseas?
There are many reasons I think it’s important that Chunky Move tours works overseas. It’s a beautiful coming together of people, cultures etc. Anouk van Dijk is a Dutch choreographer working in an Australian company with Australian dancers who originate from many different places. Over the years we’ve explored what it means to come together, energetically, culturally, allowing the group dynamics to shift. I feel it is heavily reflected in the work because also, when all the decorative stuff is stripped away, there really is just a lot of love there. To be able to share work where the relationship between all the creatives/performers is healthy, supportive and nurturing is really beautiful and honest.
What opportunities have become available for you, having toured with Chunky Move?
Many. Teaching opportunities, workshops etc. Chunky Move’s history, including Gideon Obarzanek’s history with the company as Artistic Director, and also now with Anouk van Dijk as its current Artistic Director, have created a unique and strong reputation for Chunky Move and the independent artists involved with the Company.
What do you think the impact is on our local community when Chunky Move works are taken outside of Melbourne?
As Chunky Move employs Melbourne-based artists, allowing them to explore beyond Melbourne helps us learn and integrate into other communities. When we return home to Melbourne, we have new stimulus, new information to share and discuss. I think it’s such a healthy way to allow a community to grow within itself and stay connected to things outside. A cross blend of information. It’s incredibly healthy and beneficial.
Chunky Move relies on the support of its generous donors, what does being supported by the Chunky Move community mean to you?
It means a great deal. Without the support of generous donors, myself and my colleagues and friends at Chunky Move would not have been able to come together and learn, create and share. Art is a really important part of being human as it is another form of communication, offering and reflection.
Each year we rely on the generous support of our donors to ensure that our impact extends far beyond the stage. We may be small but we dream big and with the ongoing support of our community we can continue to share our unique productions with audiences here in Australia and around the world. Help us take the next step.