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Amrita and Vanessa from Hollaback Dance Classes
Photograph: Kurt Davies

Hollaback Dance Classes

Meet the professional dancers behind Sydney’s booty lovin’ dance classes

By Emma Joyce

If you like the Beyoncé dance classes at Goodgod, you’ll love the high cardio hip-hop dance classes from Amrita Hepi and Vanessa Marian. The professional dancing pals run weekly classes in Marrickville and Rosebery, and each session is about getting into the groove of pop and hip hop, from Drake to Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj to Rihanna.

The idea for Hollaback came after the success of Amrita’s dance classes at Goodgod and the popularity of club nights like FLEX. “It’s a class for people who might not consider themselves dancers but love to dance,” says Amrita, 26. “It’s a no shame, all-gender zone. It’s for people who enjoy music and movement. We play stuff that you can dance to, without necessarily needing alcohol.”

“We play stuff that you can dance to, without needing alcohol”

Vanessa, 27, takes the Tuesday night sessions in Rosebery; her dancing background is in world dance. “We have a really similar ethos when it comes to teaching dance,” she says. “I remember doing my first hip-hop style class when I was 19 or 20. I remember how intimidated I was just walking into the studio, but when the class had finished it was exhilarating, liberating.”

Hollaback classes have been running for around six months and the dancers have plans for expansion to Bondi, Surry Hills, the Northern Beaches and the Inner West. There’s no dress code: just wear what you feel comfortable in.

“We strongly encourage you to wear sneakers, baggy clothing – as hip-hop as you feel comfortable in,” says Amrita. “Or wear something really tight and fabulous. I’m totally open to you wearing heels,” she says, laughing.

“The kinds of people that come to our class are not the people you necessarily associate with a dance class,” adds Vanessa. “They’re mums, grandmas, students, mothers, daughters, dads…”

Amrita lays the smack down: “Whatever is in your head that has you feeling scared or nervous, throw that out of the window,” she says. “It’s completely beginner and you’ll get something out of it no matter what level you are.”

Hollaback Dance Classes take place on Mondays (6.30-7.30pm, At Ruben's) and Tuesdays (7-8pm, Umbilico). $20 per person.

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