We sat down with Yogi, one of our inspiring Intermediate Contemporary Dancers. Originally from Sri Lanka, Yogi started dancing at Chunky Move four years ago. He is part of what makes Chunky Move’s public dance classes great, and so we thought you should all get to know him a little better…
How did you start dancing?
Yogi: In my home country, Sri Lanka, I did Bollywood dancing. I’ve always been interested in dancing since childhood. Dancing is very fun and makes me very happy, and it’s good exercise, good for flexibility.
How does contemporary dance differ from the dancing that you did when you were younger?
Yogi: Very different. I think Bollywood dancing is easy, there’s a lot of standing. But this is so good…oh god, it’s nice. I like it.
How long have you been coming to Chunky Move?
Yogi: Around four years now. I still have a problem remembering the choreography, but I keep going.
Do you feel like you have improved?
And does it make you happy?
Yogi: Yeah very happy, it’s a nice feeling. When I dance I forget everything. So dancing is very helpful. Yoga and dancing are similar in that way.
How did you hear about Chunky Move?
Yogi: I was somewhere in the city, and saw some dancers . I asked “excuse me, where are you learning to dance?” They said “Chunky Move”. I asked “can I have the address please I have to come to these classes”. Coming to class for a couple of hours makes me very happy. I’ve never seen a studio this big. This is a wonderful studio.
We think that too, we appreciate that it’s a really beautiful place and that we should share it.
Yogi: I like to dance in my country but it’s a little bit expensive, the people who learn to dance are all royals.
So tell us about some of your favourite teachers
Yogi: Ah! My favourite teacher is Jo Lloyd. Number one. Wow [laughing]. Oh god, unbelievable. She knows exercise, stretching, dancing. And everyone is nice, but Jo, I love her.
What are the best bits of a Chunky Move class?
Yogi: Everything that Jo teaches is good.
How often do you come a week?
Yogi: I’d love to come every day but I do other things too, I do martial arts, I do karate and it’s very hard to manage everything. But I come twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. And Saturday I do two classes!
And so when is Shanti [Yogi’s wife] going to come and do some classes?
Yogi: She only watches! [laughing]
Is there anything else that is special about coming to Chunky Move?
Yogi: This is my favourite place, and coming here makes my heart very happy, my mind is happy and there are wonderful people here. Jo Lloyd is the best teacher, but everyone is also lovely. This is unbelievable. People are very kind, and very respectful. But at the same time, the Immigration Department has refused my case. I still love this country, I love these people.
When I first came it was very hard, people would ask my name but I didn’t know how to say it. But a lot of people helped me express myself. The people were unbelievable. I had zero English when I moved to Melbourne. I’m getting better, but still I have to study and work hard at it.