Melbourne goes au go-go

Do you hate the gym, but still want to get fit? Do you enjoy retro music by The Jacksons, James Brown, Blondie and the Bangles? Have you always wanted to learn to dance but worry you are too uncoordinated? Then maybe go-go dancing is for you.

If you’re too young to remember what go-go is, please don’t Youtube it. You’ll find a different sort of dance that may not be appropriate for viewing in your workplace or school.

In Melbourne, go-go dancing is sixties-style dancing and Anna Achia is your go-to woman for go-go lessons. Anna has been running go-go classes in Melbourne for the past four years and is steadily achieving her aim of expanding her go-go empire.

If the idea of dance classes conjures up scary images from Dancing with the Stars, don’t turn away. As Anna says, “Even self-proclaimed uncos can go-go dance with great entertainment value. My only tip is to come along and have a crack at it, go-go is so easy that anyone can do it, seriously.” Dance steps include some you may have heard of such as the Swim and the Pony as well as the lesser known Kevin Bacon, the Freddy and the Hully Gully.

Anna’s interest in go-go can be traced back to growing up watching Elvis movies on TV on Saturday afternoons. The inspiration to start the classes came when she was go-go dancing with a friend for a local surf band, and started using it as an alternative for the gym, doing it regularly at home- just for fun and exercise. Anna figured there must be other people out there who would prefer an enjoyable way to exercise that didn’t involve going to the gym and “having to wear gym clothes and look at yourself under fluorescent lights in a huge mirror, that’s not fun!”

She says her classes are about “having fun and feeling the joy that you feel when you just pump up the stereo and dance, in fact, the sillier it is the more fun it is. All those crazy fad dances are hilarious fun, and you get a top workout almost by accident. The music is awesome too, we do lots of classic soul, funk, rock and pop.”

Lest you think that the class is going to be filled with Ann Margaret look-alikes, Anna says she tries to make her classes as inclusive as possible so that everybody feels comfortable and welcome. She admits that the crowd is mostly women, but says “there are men too, we have teenagers right up to retirees and everything in between, professionals, artists, students, mums, dads, you name it!”

Anna is a very entertaining teacher whose passion for go-go is infectious, which combined with great music and kooky dance steps, means that you laugh as much as you dance and getting fit is just a helpful side-effect.

Check the Go-go Academy website for details of classes.

Anna performing the Maddison. Courtesy of Anna's Go-go Academy

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