Choreographer In Residence

The Choreographer in Residence initiative is one of Chunky Move’s major program elements and is a significant commitment to supporting established, independent choreographers to develop their careers over an extended 2-year period. This initiative developed by Chunky Move is a singular opportunity for choreographic artists in Australia, supporting them to develop and present new work, further their artistic practice, gain organisational knowledge, extend their professional networks and build a meaningful and long-standing connection with Chunky Move.



Choreographer in Residence

2023-2024 recipient Melanie Lane

The Choreographer in Residence initiative invests $120,000 in Melanie’s practice over the two years including a direct contribution of $50,000 in artist fees and $70,000 towards the commission of a major work in the second year of the tenure.

The Choreographer In Residence is selected via an open Expression of Interest and Interview process assessed by panel comprising senior Chunky Move staff Antony Hamilton, Kristy Ayre and Kristina Arnott and industry peers Katina Olsen, Hellen Sky and Angela Goh.

Melanie Lane. Photo by Nick Robertson.

“I’m thrilled and honoured to be the 2023-24 Choreographer in Residence at Chunky Move, a company that has been so meaningful to me during my journey as an independent artist. I look forward to working with the team at Chunky Move to take on this singular, rare opportunity to deepen my choreographic practice, create new work and to dream into a future that engages with the inspiring ecology of contemporary dance artists that are my community. Thank you to Chunky Move for this generous support.” – Melanie Lane 2023-2024 CIR

Melanie Lane is an Australian choreographer and performer of Javanese/European cultural heritage. Working between Naarm/Melbourne and Ngunnawal/Canberra, she works across visual arts, theatre, music and film. Her choreographic work interrogates physical and social realities to create surreal futures that are confounded, broken and reconfigured.

She has been commissioned by Sydney Dance Company, Australasian Dance Collective, Dance North, Chunky Move, Schauspiel Leipzig and West Australian Ballet (among others) and has toured her independent work internationally. Her collaborations include projects with UK musician CLARK, Adena Jacobs, Amos Gebhardt, Leyla Stevens, Monica Lim and Rianto.

Melanie was the recipient of the 2018 Keir choreographic award and the 2017 Leipziger Bewegungskunstpreis in Germany. She has been nominated for both Green Room and Helpmann awards as both a choreographer and a dancer including the Shirley McKechnie award for choreography (2020).

Choreographer in Residence

2021-2022 recipient Joel Bray

Joel Bray, 2021-22 Choreographer in Residence, presented Garabari at the culmination of his residency.

Photo by Pippa Samaya

“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” said Joel Bray. “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.” – Joel Bray 2021/2022 CIR

Photo by Pippa Samaya

Joel Bray is a proud Wiradjuri man who trained at NAISDA and WAAPA before pursuing a career in Europe and Israel with Jean-Claude Gallotta, Company CeDeCe, Kolben Dance, Machol Shalem Dance House, Yoram Karmi’s FRESCO Dance Company, Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor and Roy Assaf. He returned to Australia to work with Chunky Move under Anouk van Dijk.

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.

Since returning to Melbourne, Joel has created numerous critically acclaimed solo works, including Biladurang (winner of three Melbourne Fringe Awards); Dharawungara, (commissioned by Chunky Move) and Daddy (commissioned by the Yirramboi Festival, Arts House and Liveworks). Joel’s works have toured extensively across Australia.

Joel was the 2019 National Library of Australia Creative Arts Fellow, and is continuing this Burbang research into Wiradjuri ceremony through a series of Australia Council Signature Works grants. In 2020, he was commissioned to create a new work as part of Sydney Dance Company’s New Breed.

Read more about Joel’s work here

Photo by Daniel Boud