Meet Vanessa Varghese ~ dancer, choreographer, movement director and the founder of Groove Therapy {who is also really great at lip syncing ~ check out our TikTok!} Before we go live at home with Groove Therapy for a dance class we chat with Vanessa to hear her story…

Share your journey that has led to here…

Dance has always been my medicine whenever I had a rough day at school. I would come home, lock myself up in my bedroom and dance my little heart out to all the music that let me be my best self. I don’t know why we lose that child-like imagination and self-expression as we grow up, but I’m here to remind you of your roots baby. Let’s boogie.

Tell us all about Groove Therapy!

Well whenever I tell people I’m a ‘dancer’ they’re like ‘Ohhh I WISH I could dance but I can’t because I’m too old/curvy/uncoordinated/intimidated to step foot inside a studio.’ People seem to genuinely think that once you’ve grown up, it’s too late to learn. I think that’s rubbish! Dance is cardio, endorphins, a self-expressive art form and the best kind of mind-body connection ever! So Groove Therapy’s mission is to take the ‘scary’ out of the dance class experience. Our online courses let you pause, rewind and replay every single lesson and our live stream classes are all about fostering community and teaching you, first and foremost, how to take yourself a little less seriously.

What’s THAT one song that will always get you dancing no matter your mood?

Sade – Smooth Operator. It makes me feel like a WOMAN.

Your fav type of dance? Fav dance move?

That’s the equivalent of picking a favourite outfit. Sure there are the go-to favourites but overall it’s completely about your mood. Am I feeling feminine? Do I just want to bust out my masc side and throw my limbs around? Do I want to be a massive show off (probably yes) and just bust out the most complicated footwork ever? My go-to dance moves depend completely on that.

What inspires you?

‘Non-dancers’ dancing, but specifically masculine energies dancing. I think sometimes us dancers take this art form a little seriously and professional dance auditions and classes feel charged with a competitive energy and I’m like yuck get me out of here please. But then I’ll occasionally spot some construction workers just busting out some dance moves together and singing a song at the top of their lungs and I’m literally moved to tears. I love seeing grown adults tapping into that child-like inner self. I can’t get enough of it.

Talk us through the playlist you’ve created for our At Home With Spell x Groove Therapy dance class…

Well Groove Therapy has a mix of all genders coming to our classes so I always try keep the playlists and class vibe a bit more neutral. When the fam at Spell asked me to curate a playlist I was like YES! Let’s embody what it means to be feminine (irrespective of gender). Let’s explore the curve of our hips, the sway of a walk, the opening of our chests and the tossing back of our hair. There’s something so freeing about embodying the energy of a wild woman and these tunes really help me sink into that.
I realised in retrospect that a lot of those songs are about heartbreak, which is awesome because I’m not heartbroken about any man, but maybe just heartbroken about the state of the world some key patriarchal figures. 
So I say – let this playlist be a release from all that tension and weight we carry so we can go back to kicking goals and saving the world after we shake it all off.

What song do you have on repeat at the moment?

Catch Fire: Mother Mary –  It started with me working as the movement director for this band but now we’re friends because we just connected so well. The song is so CATCHY and these girls are so smoking femme and hot. I love the way they costume, curate and bring their whole selves to every rehearsal. It was a joy curating the movement for their live performance set…now we just have to wait for live performance to become a thing again!

Tune in tomorrow Thursday 30th at 6pm AEST for a Groove Therapy dance class on Instagram Live.