Attending the Fat Reign artistic dance performance, produced by Big Moves, spearheaded by Matilda St. John and Jessica Judd, the co-artistic directors of emFATic DANCE, is certainly an experience that I will never forget. An entire show devoted to showcasing bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colors in the spotlight, when they are so often told to hide in the shadows. This night felt like an intersectional burst of powerful creativity and love, expressed with bodies giving themselves the permission to move and be free, to have fun and be sexual, all while being witnessed, honored, and celebrated! It reminded me of my own desire to continue to be brave in these ways, and I left feeling more inspired than ever, with a sense that some serious healing work had also taken place in my resonate soul.
By seeing, I felt seen. By honoring, I felt honored. By celebrating, I felt celebrated. By allowing my entire being to re-open to the possibilities of dance, I, too, felt liberated. For this I say thank you to every single producer, director, dancer, and volunteer that makes Fat Reign possible. I encourage our readers to attend next year’s performance and in the meantime support each one of these artists individually wearing their voices so beautifully. In the meantime, check out some of the highlights from the night captured by Photographer Michelle Yoder and Naked Eye Photography, respectfully.
Emcee, Juicy D. Light
(This and following photos courtesy of: Michelle Yoder Photography)
Words can barely begin to express my utter adoration and admiration of this powerful warrior goddess, who is simultaneously so sexy and funny, at times I didn’t know which pleasure center was being triggered. I did know that I bathed in every glorious word that came out of their mouth – and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of their Emcee-ness! Can’t wait to see Juicy working it for one of their own burlesque performances soon!
These two powerhouse dancers and activists exude such eloquent emotion in every move their bodies make. They strive to reconnect to their Egyptian African roots through the art of dance, and also have their own foundation to support girls and young womyn in the same ways: Girls Raks Bellydance and Body Image Program – you can learn more about the program and how to support, HERE.
Brock certainly lived up to their name and brought some serious cockiness to the stage in the most titillating of ways – gender-bending their way through a deliciously and delightfully campy performance that had me partially laughing and partially salivating – a truly winning duo if you ask me! When I looked up more on Brock’s performance style, I got a perfect description of words that escaped me in my own attempt: “Butch. Queen. This is Brock Cocker. A mixture of glitter and sequins courses through his veins.”
Shapes and Shades
The first three words coming to mind about this performance: INTERSECTIONAL. EPIC. FLAWLESS. If I absolutely had to choose a favorite moment it was when these amazing performers of ALL sizes and colors came together to form this powerful display of solidarity at this night of Fat Reigning. The best part was that the performance both was and wasn’t about all of these things, because the performance was about bravery, joy, self-love, and personal freedom (or at least that’s how I perceived it), which are universally understood by all.
Personally I found this performance to be one of the most powerfully moving of the night – it felt like a true journey to freedom; the pinnacle of which was captured beautifully in this very moment. I greatly appreciated the raw authenticity of Magnoliah and the narrative they were sharing so vulnerably on stage – I felt the moment living in my own limbs, heart, and soul, and just wanted to take this moment to say thank you for the inspiration and for dancing your voice so boldly and resonantly.
I could barely find the words to express my appreciation of the dance group known as emFATic DANCE as they collectively took to the stage for several powerful performances – highlighting and celebrating the beauty and ability of fat bodies in the process! As Karen so rightfully put it, “They opened the show with ‘Summer Overture,’ if you start that epic you know you’re bad ass and own it…they were and they did! I loved every single outfit, their faces and expressions were flawless in each number. I can’t wait to watch them perform again!”
(This and following photos courtesy of: Naked Eye Photography)
Lucia N. Habitions
With a perfectly fitting name, we quickly heard the story of how Lucia realized there really is a place for her beautiful fat body within the art of burlesque – and she certainly performed full-force when she came on stage, proving not only just the opposite of what she first believed, but that she could even carve out her own niche!
I’m not sure the whole audience was grasping the awe and wonderment, not to mention classic cheekiness of this amazing dance troupe. Firstly, I LOVED that it featured different bodies shapes and sizes doing the exact same intricate moves, and secondly, as a lover of all this vintage, I truly appreciated this nod to a very specific style of performance that has very much fallen by the wayside in this day and age. My old soul thanks you, while my childlike spirit is officially requesting duplicates of all your costumes!
A true knight-in-shining armor – Tyrone made me smile from the second they stepped on the stage! (Seen here in full performance mode, which was done beautifully alongside Brock Cocker).
Full Figured Entertainment
Tigress and Brooke Blaise representing Full Figure Entertainment so proudly with an air of confidence and some serious booty shaking! (Also check out their model page for more information on their amazing work.)
Body Positive band “PawsUp!” seen here in full performance mode!
Reflecting on the experience as a whole, is a beautiful memory of bodily resonance that I already can’t wait to live again next year. My friend Karen had a much more concrete and eloquent recount of the experience, which I will share with you now in conclusion (for the record I second every thing she says): “I had been looking forward to this event for days. Flipping my hair back and saying ‘Oh sorry, I can’t – I’m going to Fat Reign that night.’ My self-love level was significantly below average that week and excited butterflies began to swarm at the idea of being in a space full of fatties with the specific agenda of celebrating. My friends and I didn’t feel like saying ‘excuse me’ to get by others in the aisles was a secret apology for taking up too much room. It was rather just actually a simple pardon for passing through. I was eating up the fat happiness gushing out of every person, and left with an ever more insatiable appetite for celebrating my body unapologetically!”
Did you make it to Fat Reign this year? Either way, what are your thoughts on the experience as a whole? Comment below!