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A Chunky Collaboration
 Australian dance company Chunky Move performs their new work, Connected, at MASS MoCA.

chunk·y [chuhng-kee]

adjective (chunk¬∑i¬∑er, chunk¬∑i¬∑est): ample, bodied, compact, fleshy, irregular, loaded, muscular, rotund, solid, stocky…

 How would you define it?

Artistic Director of¬†Chunky Move (Australia’s powerhouse modern dance company),¬†Gideon Obarzanek, has¬†spent a lot of time thinking about this question. He says:¬†‚ÄúMy movement, my choreography, hasn‚Äôt really been about the beauty of the human condition or the ennoblement of the body, which a lot of dance performance is like. The word ‘chunky’¬†came up because of the type of rough movement that we‚Äôre known for, particularly when we began. And it was a big move for us to start a company, so ‘Chunky Move,’ that‚Äôs what we came up with and it stuck.‚ÄĚ

Artistic Director Gideon Obarzanek.

Founded by Obarzanek in 1995, Chunky Move has earned an enviable reputation for producing an innovative and unpredictable brand of genre-defying dance. The company has created work that is for the stage, site specific, media-driven, and installation-based. Known for pieces that immerse dancers in an illusory world of motion tracking and projection technology (such as GLOW), Chunky Move takes a bold leap with their newest work Connected, side-stepping the use of the digital technology in favor of pure mechanics.

Sculpture artist Reuben Margolin.

Reuben Margolin,¬†a sculpture artist, met Obarzanek in 2009 while they were presenting our work at Poptech. Says Margolin: “He was talking about dance. I was talking about waves. We both talked about movement. I immediately¬†loved his work and felt that he was reaching deep into a realm of meaning to create his¬†dance pieces. And I was simply struck by how dynamic and expressive the human figure can be. We struck up a conversation about how to do a collaboration combining kinetic sculpture and dancers. Rather than simply having the sculpture overhead and the dancers below, we both wanted to do something more challenging, and to somehow have the sculpture reflect the movement of the dancers.”

Margolin and Obarzanek in collaboration.

¬†The sculpture in Connected is startling alive and dyname (as are Margolin’s other works). It is constructed from wood, recycled plastic, paper, and steel. Suspended in midair by hudreds of strings manipulated by multiple spinning wheels, it has a motion of its own, ebbing and flowing like a fluid wave. The movement of the sculpture is reflected in Obarzanek’s dancers’ bodies, rushing and rippling through space. Onstage, the dancers build their performance while the construct the sculpture in real time.
Above photos by Jeff Busby.
Interested in seeing Chunky Move’s viscerally powerful performers interact with the larger-than-life undulating dynamic sculpture seen above? Chunky Move performs at MAS MoCA Saturday, March 24, at 8 PM and Sunday, March 25, at 3 PM. Get your tickets for this event by calling the Box Office at 413.662.2111 or check in online.

Posted March 21, 2012 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Dance
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