Backstage at Chunky Move's Yung Lung

Chunky Move's latest show, Yung Lung. Image credit: Jacquie Manning
Chunky Move, Yung Lung. Image credit: Jacquie Manning

While 2020-21 posed huge challenges to many graduating students, two Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) graduates landed a surprising opportunity with CHUNKY MOVE via an online internship. We caught up with Summer Penney and Madeline Bowman about their professional debut in CHUNKY MOVE's daring new show - Yung Lung. Described as a performance for the end of days and a rave on Mount Olympus, Yung Lung is the company’s first major production to show to live audiences since the start of the pandemic.

This is what Summer and Madeline had to say:

How does it feel to finally perform the show in front of an audience?

Madeline: It feels completely nerve-wracking but so exciting. It also feels like an absolute privilege - especially considering the climate we are in right now, and the huge amount of work that the entire creative team and company have put into this show. I feel very lucky to be a part of it.

Summer: There has been a lot of anticipation around Yung Lung and I definitely feel a huge sense of relief and accomplishment that we have managed to come this far and premiere this work in Sydney followed by a juicy Melbourne season! This is a collaborative work and has required a team effort to make this show happen, so it’s exciting to finally share the work with an audience – especially our Melbourne community. I have missed performing and I feel particularly fulfilled to perform in such a demanding and energetic work especially after the past couple of years.

Summer Penney and Madeline Bowman. Image Credit: Jacquie Manning

Do you have a backstage ritual? How do you prepare yourself to perform a show like Yung Lung?

Madeline: I will usually have a zooper dooper to get a quick sugar hit and then do slow breathing exercises and meditation to help keep myself calm. I like to do this to make sure the nerves and excitement don’t get the better of me!

Summer: Yes absolutely! Aside from class beforehand, part of my backstage ritual is to mindfully self-massage. I like to be super tactile with my body leading up to performing as it both warms up my body and helps me feel calm.

Chunky Move's latest show, Yung Lung. Image credit: Alex Davies

What’s it like sharing the stage with your fellow dance alum?

Madeline: As Summer and I performed together quite regularly at the VCA, it feels very familiar and grounding. It is so wonderful to have genuine friendships with the people you work with as I think it helps everyone feel safe and confident both on and off the stage. It has been amazing to have that with Summer, and the whole cast, during Yung Lung.

Summer: I feel incredibly fortunate to share the stage with each and every one of the dancers. Everyone has been supportive of one another and dedicated to the development of this work. We have all faced challenges so sharing the stage presented the connectivity of not just the dancers and alumni but the whole team that have created Yung Lung.