Break it down in a joyful dance class that’s truly dedicated to beginners
Rock up to 107 Projects in Redfern on a Monday or Tuesday evening and you’ll find activewear-wearing folk seeking out one thing: a soul-soaring dance session. Follow the low thrum of music until you reach a small hall lit by a multi-coloured disco ball and you’ll have made it to Groove Therapy.
This is the ultimate drop-in dance class for wannabee groovers who have been too self-conscious to shake it in a structured setting before. And the structure at Groove Therapy is pretty free and loose, enhanced by the fact that there are no mirrors to confront you with imperfect poise.
Your energetic teacher for the evening, Amy Zhang, 24, kicks things off with a welcome to country and a brief explainer of what you’re in for.
“We teach street styles, so anything that was born outside a studio. That sometimes means hip hop but it could also mean [Jamaican] dancehall, Afrobeat – it can be a myriad of styles,” says Zhang.
Each week there’s a fresh combination to learn, and for our first beginner class (they also offer a choreography-focused session), Zhang instructs us in a basic ’80s hip hop party groove. “It was created in clubs, on dancefloors, so it’s less about being perfect and more about having fun with your friends and vibing off them.”
Our group of about 20 dancers spends the one-hour class following Zhang’s effortlessly cool movements, going from a gloriously freeing warm-up of grapevines and stretches to head-bopping, toe-tapping isolations that puts you in touch with each part of your body. The soundtrack is a mix of old-school rhythms and modern crowd pleasers – it’s like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five meets Missy Elliott and Anderson .Paak at a house party.
Once we’re all gleaming with sweat, Zhang takes us through a few specific moves, like the leg-wobbling butterfly and the jump-and-kick party machine – real OG hip hop stuff.
“What makes these moves super sick is when you just start fucking with it: switching up directions, start doing double legs or moving different parts of the body. It’s just how you put your groove or flavour on it.”
We then work these classics into a simple combo. Don’t stress if you’re stumbling, just bop along to the best of your ability.
“The whole idea is that we want to bring dancing to all walks of life, which is why [Groove Therapy] is a social enterprise at the same time,” says Zhang.
“So we have these amazing classes for the everyday person who has just always wanted to dance and has maybe been too scared or intimidated, and then we take the profits and put them into our community project classes.”
These extra projects include classes dedicated to refugee and migrant girls or at-risk youth, accessible dance workshops, programs for people living with dementia and pop-up events supporting mental health awareness.
You can be part of this action around Sydney, and also find Groove Therapy conquering the dance world with love in Melbourne and Brisbane. Book a space on the dancefloor or swing by when the rhythm moves you.
|Venue name:||107 Projects|
107 Redfern Street
|Opening hours:||Thu-Sun noon-5pm; extended days/hours for various exhibitions - check website.|