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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!

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MELBOURNE CANCELLED JAN 17 (We’re back after that)

MELBOURNE CANCELLED JAN 17 (We’re back after that)

Nothing to stress about bebes but due to the influx of panic and enquiries re: Melbourne being cancelled for next week we thought we’d address it formally here.

Class is cancelled Weds Jan 17 due to the venue booking out already for another gig. Aside from that we have classes back on for the following week on Jan 24 and onwards.

You can book a Melbourne beginners adult hip hop class for Jan 24  here.

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Another common request we get is for more Melbourne classes! We’re keen to launch some, but where do y’all suggest? If you know of any good venues let us know. We need a venue that has its own sound system and is easy to access via transport and parking. We also prefer a grounded community vibe. If ya know a place then holla at hello@groovetherapy101.com

See ya at our next Groove session lovers.

JANUARY’S THEME: RESTART

RESTART YOUR YEAR WITH DANCE

Dance class at Groove Therapy starts on the week of Jan 8 2018 (which you can book here). Amongst the hype of new year reinvention, bucket lists, goals and resolutions the Groove Therapy fam over here has a few words for you.

  1. You’ve always said you’ll come to class…one day.
    We meet hundreds of you every week. People who recognise us as teachers from Instagram and stop us to tell us how much they have been meaning to come to class but…you know.
    Nah fam, we’re going to call you out on your procrastination here. Since dance classes foster community, boosted mental health, fitness and self-expression we think that it should become a priority in 2018. Once you get over the mental hurdle of being intimidated to try a class we promise you’ll wish you had signed up sooner.

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  2. You’ve been busy, stressed and overworked
    Here’s the deal, when you dance you release endorphins and your overactive brain tends to go into a meditative state of concentration and ‘in-the-moment’ focus and enjoyment. It’s incredible catharsis for people who need to shake off a crap day/week/life chapter/year.
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  3. You’ve wanted a new way of catching up with peeps
    Take a dance class together. If you’re serious about getting good, then you can hype each other up to stay regular and not fall off the bandwagon. If you want something new for date night then challenge your babe to a living room dance-off post class. A lot of peeps also bring their fam along, and one of our favourite moments is seeing someone bring in their rad parent to class and watching them get low to Kendrick Lamar.
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  4. You’ve fallen off the exercise bandwagon
    Groove Therapy classes leave you sweating head to toe with your heart hammering and the best bit is you often don’t even realise that you’ve exercised for an hour. We’re not sure why so many people have this idea that exercise has to be an ordeal. If you’re keen on exercising but not quite ready for that gym junkie life, then a dance class is a good start. Also know that being fit is about what your body can do, not what your body looks like. So leave the body bashing internal monologue at the door.
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  5. You’re intimidated
    It’s incredible the stories our minds can weave. It’s a nego spiral but it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t mean to be harsh when we say this but dance class isn’t about you. We’re not all looking at you and we don’t care what threads you’re wearing. We’re just having a dance here, calm down and take yourself a little less seriously.
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Groove Therapy classes start again on the week of Jan 8. You can view our schedule and book a class across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Byron Bay by clicking here.

BOOK

Sydney: Step Into The New Year Like

New Year New Classes Sydney!

Ok baby steps, we have now added a second beginner adult dance class to our Sydney rotation for those of you who need a double fix or an option if you can’t make it to our regular Tuesday class (6pm 107 projects every Tuesday).

Classes are now added every Monday 6pm at 107 Projects and you’ll be taught by the incredible Amy Zhang.

Our first class of the year is Jan 8 2018, book your spots ASAP!

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Not Your Average Dancer: Wanida Serce

We’re back at it again with another ‘Not your Average Dancer’. Meet Wanida Serce, your Brisbane therapist, one woman powerhouse and entrepreneur who is out here to change the beauty ideals in Australian media one project at a time.

Wanida’s dance career started like many others. She was put into dance classes by her mum at a very young age. However unlike other dancers, quickly realised her knack for taking charge which kick-started her teaching career. Sparked by a love of hip-hop music, Wanida recalls locking herself in her room and choreographing dances to teach to her (sometimes unwilling) friends at school. “In primary school, I would hire out a speaker from the library and put it in the undercover area and call everyone in to teach them a dance to my fave hip hop track,”  Wanida laughs. This streak of leadership only grew. Throughout high school Wanida took on any opportunity to put her choreographic skills to work. “Anytime we had a dance assignment, I was always the one to put it together.” From then, Wanida knew dancing was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

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These days you’ll find Wanida living her teenage dream of teaching at all the major studios in Brisbane all while casually winning battles against the boys in a the typically male-dominated freestyle scene. She is actual danDespite this, one thing that Wanida says she has always struggled with is the beauty standards in the Australian media which have trickled down into the dance industry. “I don’t fit the mould. I’m short and apparently ‘alternative’ looking because I have brown skin and short hair. I’ve even been told by a choreographer that if I don’t learn to dance in heels I won’t get hired. I can now dance in heels and that still hasn’t changed anything,” Wanida says disheartened. When asked about how this makes her feel, Wanida says “It definitely affects me. It’s really disappointing because I have the skill set so why can’t I get hired?”

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From seeing a lack of opportunities for dancers like herself, Wanida has turned this around for the better. Proudly saying, “this negative situation where I wasn’t feeling satisfied and I wasn’t getting work has pushed me to create my own shows and my own brand, Pink Matter.” Wanida now produces, directs and curates her own shows and practices what she preaches by hiring dancers based on their talent before looks. Through Pink Matter, Wanida has honed in on her passion for supporting and uplifting fellow females. The effects of her work is apparent through the dancers she has hired.“My dancers seem to have had a positive experience which has brought the community closer together. I always get positive feedback from the community who come to support the shows plus people reach out to me on social media about how they’re totally onboard”.

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All in all, Wanida’s request for the dance industry is simple:“Represent what we have here. All the different people and cultures that are within Australia so people like myself can look to the media and can relate to someone. That would be swell!”

We hear ya, sis!

You can take a class in Brisbane with Wanida every Monday in Woolloongabba. No cash at the door, so book here!

Groove Lab Playlist #3

Bored of your current jams list? Don’t worry,  we’ve got you covered with another curated list by our Aussie-living-in-Cali friend, Clarence Kent. This dude practices bedroom grooves harder than anyone we’ve ever met, so it was only fitting that we asked him to put together a list of songs he’s currently bumping.

Low key been practising your bedroom and ready to for the Missy Elliot Comeback Tour? Yeah we thought so. If you’re feeling brave, record yourself and tag us on instagram @groovetherapy_101 with the hashtag #groovelab. We’d love to see it!

Keen to come to class and try a beginner adult dance class? We have classes in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Sydney all waiting for you. Book online because we don’t do door sales!

Muchos love and thanks to ya,

The Groove Fam xx

 

Not Your Average Dancer: Benny ‘Bucho’ Garcia

Amy Zhang, our producer and general manager, has created this new series ‘Not Your Average Dancer’, in which she interviews incredible performance artists who have carved out a career path despite not fitting the typical ‘dancer mould’. Today we have our Gold Coast teacher Benny ‘Bucho’ Garcia on all things breaking, growing up and what it means to be a male dancer.

Step into any Australian party scene and more often than not, the music is loud and place is packed out yet the d-floor is complete empty, as if someone just let a nasty one rip. Once Aussies are sufficiently drunk they’ll start to dance. In our sunny country, there’s a weird stigma, particularly for dudes,  around dancing. If it’s not a masc pastime, it’s not cool.

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Here to prove that ain’t the case, meet the b-boy and your Gold Coast Therapist, Benny ‘Bucho’ Garcia who (we may be biased) is one of the coolest dudes that exists in Australia. If travelling the world and regularly performing and battling with his crews isn’t enough, ask him nicely and he’ll whip out backflips on cue. Need we say more?

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Benny found himself in his first breakdance class with his younger bro at eight years old but like many typical Aussie kids, did it alongside every other extra curricular activity. Growing up he also played soccer, gymnastics and even did karate for a bit. “We were really sporty” Ben reminisces without a hint of modesty. Overwhelmed for choice, Benny says he never took dancing too seriously, “we were just good at it” he says dismissively shrugging it off.

Dance took centre stage after a pivotal moment in his childhood where Ben recalls the his soccer coach telling him he was too short to make the team at his high school. “So I started breaking.” he says with a hint of indignation. This was a turning point for Ben that fuelled a new-found motivation to really take dance seriously. This is probably why you’ll now see Benny training pretty much every night of the week. “When I’m at training I just focus. If I lose a battle…I just go back to training.” His mentality is paying off though because Ben makes waves in every battle he enters around the world and the dude has an array of world titles to his name already.

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But it’s not all about winning. Take him out of training mode and you’ll also see a completely different side to Bucho. No matter what the class, Ben is all about just having fun. “I want people to feel confident [about] dance so if they go to a party or event they can feel comfortable”. Ben says even the little b-boys and b-girls that he trains sometimes are inspired to take dance out of the classroom. “If there’s a talent contest at school they’ll come back and be like yeah we won it or we were at a disco and we dropped some moves and it was sick! Or, we started a break dance club at school.”

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Ben sees how dancing creates community and he’s big on building confidence in his students in the same way dance built a confidence in him. So, when asked about the stigma against boys and dancing Benny shuts this down pretty quickly “Nah, if anything breaking made me cooler” he laughs.  He even recalls that his mum put him into breakdance classes because she wanted him to be cool. Mumma Bucho was onto something because we’d say Benny is definitely living proof.

I guess what makes him even cooler is, tricks and flips aside, all the awesome things he does to give back to his community. At the bottom of it all he’s just a down to earth dude who loves to have a few beers, a solid boogie and take the piss like the rest of us.

So Gold Coast, what are you waiting for? If you’re lucky enough to be in the area, learn some moves and earn some cool points with the man himself.

You can take a class on the Gold Coast with Benny every Monday on Palm Beach. No cash at the door, so book here!

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Who was Vanessa Marian at Home Growing Up?

Words by Samantha Varghese (Vanessa Marian’s baby sister)

When I sat down to write this article on how and why Groove Therapy is as we know it today, I realised it was something I’d given little prior thought to. I first found out about Groove Therapy over a trending Facebook post when my sister launched the website. From the perfect mix of our mutual flakiness and my sister’s spontaneity, I wasn’t at all surprised. I didn’t ask any questions, just gave my immediate support and excitement. Groove Therapy made perfect sense. It had Vanessa written all over it.

Dance has always played a big part in our lives growing up. Vanessa’s because she grew up dancing, and mine because I had to put up with her deafeningly loud music and floorboard hammering. I have vague memories watching Vanessa learn Indian classical dance, as I’d curl up on the floor next to her teacher. I couldn’t make myself too comfortable though, as it wasn’t long before Vanessa was nudging me to take class. I reluctantly went along, hating it at first, and then found myself knee deep in sequinned rainbow costumes and jazz shoes within a year. I guess even then Vanessa knew I’d grow to love it the way she did.

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Fast-forward a few years and we’re at my first hip hop class. I’m wearing baggy track pants paired with fluoro yellow hightops, an unstoppable mix. Vanessa’s the teacher and as she stands centre front, she tells everyone her little sister’s joining in. I remember feeling so nervous that day. Being taught by your sister is everything you expect it to be. She’d pull me up in warm up, stand in front of me, make me squat lower and hit steps harder. She’d check up on me at home to see if I had been practicing my routine and soon enough she wouldn’t have to ask. I loved it.

Maybe at the time I pinned Vanessa’s persuasiveness as a bossy older sister trait, but once she moved out of home I didn’t stop dancing. I’d lock myself up in my parents’ bedroom as she once did and have a solid bedroom jam until reality pulled me back in by incessant knocking at the door. It was then that Vanessa had moved to Melbourne in pursuit of her Interior Design dreams. She was in that post-graduating phase where, after seven years of Law and Business School, she realised her creativity meant more to her than a side interest. I was on the opposite end of the spectrum, just being introduced to the horrors of teenage life. Ew.

I would visit Vanessa at intervals, taking a trip once with my parents in time for her grad show. You could sense her excitement bouncing off the walls, although that doesn’t sound far off her natural state. Two years later, that momentum had fizzled out. A neglected fair trade furniture business, a brand management job and a series of art directed pieces. Nothing seemed to stick, and as she’d try to morph herself into each role it would be more apparent that things weren’t working out. My sister’s never been the cookie-cutter type.

I think it took a moment of real awakening for Groove Therapy to surface the way it did. Dance had always been in the background, a kind of old friend you’d turn to for comfort. It only took a closed door and a couple of carpet burns to revisit, and in Vanessa’s moment of anxiety that’s what she did. So when she finally came to my parents and I with news of her pursuit in dance, we didn’t question it.

From then on it was a kind of snowball effect, gig after gig and teaching back to back classes. My sister’s natural coffee-high state returned to her and I saw her sink into her dance lifestyle like melting into an IKEA beanbag. It was a perfect fit and within months we find ourselves where we began- with me sitting behind a screen, scrolling through Groove Therapy for the first time.

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Want to try out a beginner adult hip hop class near you? Check out what we have on offer and book yourself in for a class!

Byron’s last class for 2017

Like the title says really, Vanessa Marian is hanging her hat up on all things dance teaching for 2017 after Friday Nov 10 and will not be reopening up classes in Byron Bay until 2018. This means that you have no more excuses and putting off class until next week now!


Beginner Adult Dance Classes in Byron Bay
Fridays

6pm – 7pm
Encounter Byron
1 Acacia Street, Industrial and Arts Estate
$20 (online sales)
BOOK

Book your spot online here, as there are limited places available.


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Five Reasons Why Dance can Change your Life this Week.

Get on it. Stat.
Have you been meaning to get to class but find something always comes up? Or are you an already converted faithful regular? Either way, it’s Vanessa Marian – founder of Groove Therapy here, and I’m going to list five of the fundamental reasons on why I decided to start this company. Welcome to the fam.
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1. I mean, we all know exercise is good for you…right?
We hate telling you this. Not because it’s obvious but because we’re genuinely scared that if we tell people how much of a sweat they work up Groove Therapy might become a fitness trend with scenes of people being posers. But let’s not think about it from a weight loss perspective here but from more of a mental wellness perspective. Exercise = endorphin hits which is one of the biggest and most commonly cited preventers of mental illness. So if you’re feeling stressed, sluggish or lethargic, our beginner adult dance classes are a WAY more fun solution than hitting the gym against your will.
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2. It’s a body – mind connection
If you’ve heard us constantly say ‘GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR BODY’ then here’s your context. When you dance, you’re concentrating on learning a move, then executing it to the beat of a song. Don’t worry though, anyone who has been to a Groove Therapy class knows that if you think it’s about nailing choreography, then you’ve missed the point. It doesn’t matter if you think you have two left feet, just come and have a go. Having a solid boogie for an hour is an incredible way to clear the head and help you connect with your body again. What deadline?
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3. It gives you the tools to express yourself
Having a shit week? Psychologists and Gov Orgs will tell you to talk it out and tell your friends and family. We encourage this too, but perhaps you also want to sort of stew in the shittyness of your day/week/life chapter for a bit by yourself and just boogie it out. Dance is cited as an expressive art form and an incredible healing bridge for people who want to express themselves without sitting with a shrink and deconstructing that time they saw Santa’s beard fall off in a shopping centre. We STILL encourage you to talk it out, but if you’re not quite ready, then a Groove Therapy beginner adult dance class is a good first step homeslice.
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4. It’s a community, not a scene.
Does the thought of walking into a dance studio with hot fit bods and peeps warming up in the splits looking you up and down scare you? Same. We know what a shitty dance experience can be like. We also know how amazing dance can make you feel. So we’ve carefully tailored class structures and codes of conduct to try and create a vibe in class that doesn’t leave you feeling shit about yourself. Seeing a few regular faces over the weeks and slowly getting accustomed to lesson structures and the class space all serves to build a community, not a scene. We want you to become part of our Groove Therapy community!
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5. It’s DANCING. Why are we still trying to convince you? 
Honestly WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS LIKE YOU NEED CONVINCING? Groove Therapy was created once upon a time when we realised that people admired dancers but were way too intimidated to walk into a dance studio. We think it’s totally bullshit and wanky to think that dance is reserved only for ‘dancers’. That’s how we created the ‘no mirrors, dim lights, judgement-free space for you to get out of your head and into your body’.If you’ve had a bit of an off week, then this is your absolute best and most most important chance to try class. So check out our schedule and book yourself in for some Groove Therapy.

 

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Fear Less. Live More. Show the World your Bedroom Grooves.

We’re All Going To Die Festival is approaching and we think you need to jump on board.

What are you afraid of? Not being able to keep up with the choreography? Being the wrong body shape for a dance class? Looking like Bambi on ice? All of the above?

Well it turns out you’re not alone, and we want to change this perspective. On Nov 17, Groove Therapy X Retrosweat are joining forces to create the ultimate safe space performance piece ‘Bedroom Grooves’ as part of We’re All Going To Die Festival.

Intrigued? Watch the full video below:

The We’re All Going To Die Festival – presented by COMMUNE follows a RAD ethos:

FEAR LESS. LIVE MORE…because we’re all going to die anyway right?

Over 100 artists, psychologists and event guns, including the women of Groove Therapy (Sydney) and Shannon Dooley from Retrosweat are putting on art installations, panel discussions, film screenings and death meditations on November 17, 2017 in Sydney.

We just launched a Kickstarter to help us raise $30 000 to pay for the whole dang thing and we think you NEED to watch this video and get inspired.

Help join the movement and donate to Kickstarter here.