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Groove Therapy is coming to Canberra

Clear your calendars babies.  On May 12, for one night only, Sydney therapists Vanessa Marian and Amy Zhang are bringing Groove Therapy to beautiful Canberra for 75 mins of street dance in the usual no mirrors, judgement free format. 

This is the movement experience for anyone who has ever felt like they’ve missed the boat on a dance class but felt too intimidated to walk into a studio. We are bringing you a night of practical dance-floor moves and legit hip hop technique to thumping bass and dimmed lights.

Go on baby, join us.

Location: Ralph Wilson Theatre at Gorman Arts Centre
Date: May 12
Time: 6:45pm – 8pm
Cost: $25.00
Booking link: https://tinyurl.com/lhufylm

Vanessa Marian
Training across New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Tokyo, Brazil and regional Australia, Vanessa is particularly fascinated with street dance and the way it is born outside of the dance studio context, often by an oppressed people in reaction to political and socio-economic turmoil. in 2016 Vanessa founded Groove Therapy, aimed at making dance accessible to all walks of life. The program has brought dance to at-risk youth, Indigenous communities, dementia sufferers, refugee girls and the every-day person, using the political and healing foundations that these street dance styles are built upon and mindfully appropriating it in new communities to help spark global conversation and cultural understanding.

Upon founding Groove Therapy, Vanessa has been named as one of Westpac’s ‘Unstoppable Millennials’, winning a grant to further pursue her dreams and implement more community-based projects. She is also one of the six 2016/17 artists to be placed in the City of Sydney Creative Live/Work Space residencies where she has worked with mentors to build on the business side of Groove Therapy. 

Since launching in 2016, Groove Therapy has gone on to feature in documentaries, facilitate workshops and choreograph for the likes of MTV, Vice, Frankie Magazine, Oyster Magazine and commercials for Samsung, Nike, ASOS and Mercedes Benz Fashion week. 

Amy Zhang
Amy Zhang is an Australian-born dancer who has completely immersed herself in the global street dance scene by working, teaching, choreographing and performing both nationally and internationally.

Amy moved to Sydney to train under Brent Street’s full time course and caught the eye of many, gaining roles as a feature dancer for the likes of Nike and Paces. She toured through L.A with Bust a Move Dance Company, performing at the Special Olympics World Games and the annual Dizzy Feet Gala.

She is known in Sydney for her versatility, rocking her groove when she jumps into hip hop and other street styles whilst also being trained in ballet, contemporary and jazz styles. Amy’s extensive dance vocabulary is no accident, as she has been mentored by and performed for some of the biggest international choreographers, including Dana Foglia and Rob Rich.

Despite all of this, Amy just wants you to fall in love with dance as much as she has, because it’s not about the skill set if you’re not having fun!

Image: Jenn Poon

Sydney: Meet your new beginner choreography teacher

Heyyyyy Sydney! Meet Feras. This beautiful mover, hilarious human and newest official member of the Groove Therapy fam is taking over our Monday Beginner Choreography  slot! What is Beginner Choreography? Well the Beginner Grooves class involve the foundations of how to move + some fun dance floor party dances (the running man, the moon walk etc).

Beginner Choreography involves learning how to string movements together into a routine. It’s for people who are new to dancing and want to learn this incredible skill set, which is one of the best ways to keep your brain healthy and sharp – and it’s soooooo fun.

Feras teaches every Monday in Sydney at 7:00pm. You can book yourself in here.

Scared about trying class? Stop getting hung up on whether you’ll look cool or not and just go ahead and take class. Get out of comfort zones in this life and pat yourself on the back for it! Don’t take our word for it though – try a class with Feras by booking here

 

This Playlist Though

Sup fam, Amy here. You guys always hound me after class for my music so I thought I’d package up and share with you some of my absolute faves right now.

I started my playlist with two crowd pleasers. If you’re one of my regulars you’ve probably heard me play these two to death so no need to talk about them. However, a new song I’ve been loving and playing on repeat is Track 3: Mahalia’s I wish I missed my Ex. It’s a feel good track with a classic 80s/90s Boom Bap beat. I won’t get too nerdy with the music theory but this type of beat is perfect for any 80s/90s party grooves you’ve picked up from class. Think the likes of the Cabbage Patch and Steve Martin.

A dude who gets a double feature on this playlist and someone I think you should keep an eye on, is Leven Kali. You might recognise his name from Playboi Carti’s debut EP or in the writing credits of Drake’s More Life album. Despite his association with some heavy hitting trap records, his own stuff sounds more like a smooth 90s RnB Anderson .Paak. If you’re looking for some soulful, funky pop to body roll it out to, Leven’s your man.

Vibes? Come to class. Add some new moves to your bedroom dance vocabulary.

BOOK

Header image of Amy Zhang taken by Kurt Davies

Morning Dance Class at the Beachie

We’ve decided to reclaim the drunk/gropey/messy dancefloor narrative and run a morning dance class workshop where 100% of the profits go towards funding our dance class program for new migrant and refugee girls. As if you could feel even better about yourself whilst having a boogie than you already do right?

So if you’ve always wished you could dance but felt too old/curvy/uncoordinated to try a dance class OR you’re one of those people who couldn’t care less what others think, we got you covered fam.

Book now to avoid the awkward moment of being turned away at the door in front of others. We don’t like being those people.

This is a zero-waste event, bring your own water bottles and your togs so we can all jump in the ocean after!

Hurry up though fam, tickets are very limited.

Groove Therapy Morning Dance Class Party
May 26
10am Saturday
The Beach Hotel, Byron
BOOK

What is a Pro-Beginner Class?

Fair Question. The main thing with an absolute beginner class is that people are nervous, so a lot of emphasis is placed on making people calm down and feel at ease. With a Pro-beginner class however, we are banking on people who are used to Groove Therapy or perhaps not as nervous about dance. This means we can teach slightly more complex ideas and technique without the fear of freaking our class out.

Here is the main difference in dot points though:

Beginners Class:
A beginners class has:

  • basic grooves
  • some stretches
  • few party moves (the moon walk, the running man, or the Bart Simpson as shown below)

Pro-Beginners Class
A pro-beginners class however, is just one level up from a basic series of steps:

  • slightly harder grooves
  • dance technique to different rhythms
  • concepts that help you freestyle (without repeating the same 2 moves on loop)
  • choreography (learning a routine to a song and tips on how to remember steps)
  • variations of the basic party dances

Come try pro-beginner class!:
SYDNEY
Pro-Beginner (Intermediate) Adult Dance Classes in Sydney
Mondays
7:00pm
107 Projects
107 Redfern Street, Redfern
BOOK

BYRON BAY
Pro-Beginner (Intermediate) Adult Dance Classes in Byron Bay
7:20 pm – 8:20 pm
The Corner Palm
1/16 Brigantine St, Byron Bay (Industrial Estate)
$20 (online sales only)

BOOK

 

 

 

May Theme: Community

We always hear about self-love and taking the time for ourselves. But when life gets a bit crazy, sometimes we forget to take a step back to start new relationships and foster those relationships around us. Being part of a community creates a strong sense of belonging which improves motivation, health and overall happiness. This morning, the Groove Therapy fam had a check in and it was a huge reminder of how important it is to stay connected with each other. So with that, May’s theme is all about Community.

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Call a Friend

We all have that friend that we haven’t seen in forever. Maybe you live in different countries or maybe you’ve just got completely different lives, but when you’re together it’s like no time has past. Regardless of how strong that bond is, sometimes you just gotta check in. So, call that friend (or relative coz we all know your mum is dying to hear from you) that you haven’t heard from in ages and just reconnect with them. Your heart and mind will thank you later.

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Make a new Friend

When we were kids, making friends was so easy. You’d run up to someone in the playground and say hi, exchange names, and the next thing you’re best friends running a muck on the monkey bars. It’s funny how we lose that as adults. So the next time you see someone you kind of know or just think is rad, go up to them and say hi.

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Get out of your comfort zone

If you don’t feel a sense of community in the circle you’re in, find a new one. Think about the things you like doing and find a place you can do them with others. Logic shows that if you like the same thing, you’re probably going to have something in common.

On that note if you love a boogie then come find your community of peeps who also love to boogie at one of our classes this week.

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Not Your Average Dancer: Amy Zhang

It’s me, Vanessa Marian, the founder of Groove Therapy here. Usually Amy Zhang writes the Not Your Average Dancer series but it’s understandably awkward to write about yourself. Have a read and learn more about your Monday night Sydney Groove Therapist.

So It’s a usual phone call with Amy – we say our wassups before launching into a mess of tangents that move fluidly between Groove Therapy spreadsheet logistics and where the best Vietnamese eateries are before launching into our usual socio-political musings for the week. Halfway through this particular conversation though, I decided to hit record and turn our rambling into an interview because, despite all of the online banter, I still don’t think most of you get to see Amy the way I do.

I asked her to start at the beginning. Amy had a late start by dancer standards, taking her first class as a way of combating stress during her year 12 exams “it wasn’t anything profound or life-changing at the time, just getting out of the house and having a dance.” Amy, like most beginners, had her one teacher Lizzie Wicks and refused to try anyone else until Lizzie went to L.A for a 6 month stint of training, Amy had no choice but to diversify and this was the point at which she realised that perhaps she liked the broader spectrum of dance.

So what next? Fast forward just a few years later and Amy is already working professionally as a dancer in Brisbane. On that whim she decides to pack her bags and move to L.A  herself for 6 months. “I didn’t do the dancer tourist thing, I was actually living there and training under people like Dana Foglia, who is one of Beyonce’s choreographers. I mean, as a 19 year old, that shit’s just crazy.” Having said that, Amy realised very early on that the dancer life wasn’t as glittery as it seemed  “You realise just how small you are, how competitive it is to be a dancer and how many of the most prolific dancers actually live low key lives.” Amy elaborates further “I had a friend who was touring with Ariana Grande and would low key tell me how boring and repetitive it was and how little they actually got to see any of the cities they toured.”

However, being naive and young means you’re still keen for that spotlight so, following Dana’s advice to get more technique under her belt, Amy auditioned for Australia’s biggest commercial dance school, Brent Street, got accepted and packed her bags to Sydney in the space of a few weeks. “Brent Street gives you training like no other and I am extremely grateful for that, and they have their own way of ensuring you do well.” What Amy means by that of course, is the culture of competition. “I mean you’re subconsciously competing all the time. Competing for front row, competing for recognition from an agent, competing for that solo. It’s good because I wouldn’t have improved so much, but at the same time I wasn’t happy within myself because that commercial Sydney dancer mould wasn’t really me, yet I was there trying to convince myself to fight for it.”

This is the part where you’d usually expect a downward spiral but luckily Amy has strong character and happened to live in a share house with a legend -me – fun fact! Amy speaks of this shared chapter between us through her lens “You spoke about wanting to start Groove Therapy when I first moved in and you kept talking about how the industry missed the point about dance being about…dancing.” Amy pauses, then elaborates on the effect these conversations had in relation to her experience “I mean, I had it lucky at Brent Street because I had years of experience as a working dancer who had also lived in L.A and I was hanging out with people like you who had no interest in that commercial dance world, so I had this wider perspective on it all.”

As the years moved on Amy literally got a backstage insight into Groove Therapy as I would lie in the living room (we didn’t have a couch) and lay it all out to her whilst downing copious amounts of chocolate. “I mean I was this Brent Street graduate with heaps of free time and no idea what to do next so I figure I might as well help you out.” Though you may see her teaching our regular Monday class and posting the odd insta story, Amy has gone on to become our General Manager and Producer which means she does everything from marketing, event producing and problem solving when shit hits the fan before I even catch wind of it. On the creative front, Amy has also gone on to perform and movement direct a string of campaigns and creative pieces this year under Groove Therapy Agency.

It’s a big shift from the L.A dancer life and I ask what this means for her “I mean I still like performing but I don’t get validation from just being a performer, or winning battles anymore.” She doesn’t quite say it but between the lines it seems as though she simply doesn’t see her identity being limited within such a one-dimensional label “I almost feel like my life and my career is bigger [than just being a dancer] because there’s also this world of working on epic projects from behind the scenes and also just a world outside of dance – friends, family and just having a good time living your life.”

And though the interview went for over an hour and I could write you a small novel I will end with one last note from Amy. I asked her what she would say to someone who is nervous but toying with the idea of trying a dance class “Just book a spot and lock yourself in before you overthink it” she says “You’ll get there and you’ll feel nervous and you might consider bailing, but then class will start and there’s nowhere for you to run.” She does her signature Amy cackle before finishing “and we’ll do the first warm up and realise it’s really not such a big deal. In fact, you’ll realise it’s actually really fun.”

So what are you waiting for?

Amy teaches a beginner Groove Therapy class every Monday in Redfern, Sydney.

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BYRON: CLASS DEETS

First of all we have a new venue. THE CORNER PALM, and are re-opening our usual Thursday Beginner Grooves starting April 26. Every Thursday, 6:15pm.

Beginner Adult Dance Classes in Byron Bay
Thursdays

6:15 pm – 7:15 pm
The Corner Palm
1/16 Brigantine St, Byron Bay (Industrial Estate)
$20 (online sales only)

BOOK

HOWEVER! Do you ever feel like stepping up your game after weeks of beginner grooves with us? We are slowly introducing intermediate level classes or, should we say, pro-beginner classes. Only three weeks long (all three weeks attendance recommended, but not compulsory)

Pro-Beginner (Intermediate) Adult Dance Classes in Byron Bay
7:20 pm – 8:20 pm
The Corner Palm
1/16 Brigantine St, Byron Bay (Industrial Estate)
$20 (online sales only)

BOOK

April Theme: Screens Off

Dang, we know! It’s already April which means we are well and truly into 2018. As we get busier, a lot of the Groove Therapy fam have been talking about the vortex that is our screens and how much it effects not just our physical but our emotional health as well. That’s why April’s Theme is all about turning your screens off. As a challenge for the month of April, the Groove Therapy fam are all making a conscious decision to put our screens down. Here are four tips for how to keep off us all off our screens more.

Embrace Boredem

Take a second and think back to the last time you waited in line for a coffee or sat in an Uber and just embraced the boredom? It’s so instinctual for us to want to pull out our phone and have scroll any second we start to feel a natural silence creeping up.

boredom-gif-9Stay aware. See what happens when you start to clock yourself picking up your phone for no reason.

Social Media with a Purpose

We’ve all been there. You open up your phone to reply to a friend/check the location of a FB event/check the details from an instagram DM and all of a sudden you’re in click-bait hole and now watching videos about the top five cheese restaurants in New York. Consciously think of why you need to open the app and get the task done – because the app will try do everything possible to suck you in once you open it.

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Record It

Get an app that records how much screen time you use. (It’s pretty confronting)

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SCREEN-FREE FUN?

Do a screen free-activity: aside from reading, cooking, gardening, word on the street is there’s Groove Therapy.

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Get off your screen and have some screen-free fun with us this week!brisbane
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Not Your Average Dancer: Clarence Kent

Not Your Average Dancer is a blog series written by our General Manager, Amy Zhang, that features some of our friends of the Groove. The series profiles incredible Industry dancers who have broken the stereotype image of being a ‘dancer’ and carved a career for themselves. If you take our beginner classes, here are some goals to aspire to.

Meet Clarence Kent. You guys already know this dude as the curator of all the Groove Lab playlists that we know you’ve been bumping in your cars, but there’s another reason why we love this dude so much.

For such a talented dude, Clarence’s come up was humble. Whilst we sit here in awe every time Clarence moves, what gives us all hope that we too can be this incredible, is how honest he is about how dance never came naturally to him. “Fuck no. I definitely had to work for it. Whenever I went and danced, there was Ben (GT Therapist), Jack and Alex Morris next to me doing all the crazy shit. I knew I wasn’t nearly as good as my peers.” Clarence laughs, then adds “I was also pretty big. I was pretty chubby.” However, not being naturally talented or ‘fit’ for breaking never seemed to phase him. “In my eyes it’s a good thing because I learnt how to discipline myself when I’m training,” Clarence reflects.

Clarence began entering battles in Brisbane and quickly out grew the Brisbane scene. Wanting a greater challenge, he then began travelling interstate where he struggled to gain the appreciation of his peers. “I was different to all of them. They would all smoke me but I always knew I had a different mentality.” Despite constantly being knocked back, Clarence saw a greater sense of investment that came from travelling and started flying himself overseas to battle. Even then,“whenever I would jam people would be nice and kind enough to give me props but I knew myself I wasn’t on par with the battle scene over there.” Fast forward to present day Clarence and things have definitely changed for this dude. Since returning from LA, Clarence has now danced for the Jabbawockeez winning against the best in the industry and gaining muchos respect for it in the dance world. When I asked Clarence about what changed his response was simple, “Nothing’s changed. I’m just practising. I’m just getting better.”

It’s not all about self-improvement with this dude. Clarence is constantly pushing to build his community alongside his crew, Golden Coastline. Together they’re fostering within this baby freestyle community a sense of staying true to the ‘hip-hop’ culture, yet still being unapologetically Australian instead of falling into the trendy trap of cultural appropriation. Moving forward, Clarence feels pretty confident in the growth of this community, “It’s pretty obvious it is growing and still is. There’s definitely so many more freestylers which is sick. I remember battles and there would only be eight of us. Now, when they put ‘Test Your Might’ on they had over 100 people for all styles which is crazy!” Clarence says proudly. So when asked about what advice he gives to his growing community his only gripe was the lack of connection. “Honestly I reckon, that’s the culture of hip hop you know. We all meet up and dance and say we’re into hip hop culture but none of us smoke up or drink together and get down when we’re drunk or fucken faded. Honestly that’s my answer”.

We love the honesty, Clarence.

If you’re loving this dude’s style, follow his dance journey here on instagram: @clarencekunta

Main image photographed by Sean Carbs

If you’re in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Byron come put Clarence’s advice into practise and come party with us. No cash on the door so book your tix here!

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