Publication: The Age newspaper
The Go-Go Dancing Teacher
Go-go protege Maryanne Bridges has been shakin' it like a Polaroid picture at Anna's Go-Go Academy in Collingwood since classes started two years ago. A blend of funk, disco and groovy '60s podium dancing, this 90-minute class gets those knee-high boots bopping to everything from Elvis' Jailhouse Rock to AC/DC's Jailbreak.
Bridges, a year 3/4 teacher at West Lalor Primary School, attends one "official" go-go class each week, then hits the town with friends to put her new moves into practice on the dance floor. After all, what's the point of knowing how to do the Pony if no one sees it?
"It's like going to church with a brilliant teacher each week," Bridges, 30, says. "The classes are so inspiring. It makes you want to get out there and practise every night. Anna wears a pedometer to class and it's extraordinary the work-out you get from an hour of go-go dancing. More than that, you get a real endorphin high and it's fun and you laugh and you're hanging out with your friends."
For Bridges, who drives a 1964 Holden and loves fossicking through op shops for retro gems, go-go also satisfies her passion for things vintage.
"You don't have to get dressed up, but it's part of the fun," she says. "Go-go has kind of crept into my everyday look, even in the classroom. It's a whole way of life."
Her go-go mentor, Anna Achia, is also a burlesque dancer who goes by the name, Muffy Manhattan. For Achia, who grew up on Elvis movies, Countdown and disco, dance has always been her first love.
"It was my ambition to be a solid-gold dancer, then go-go became my passion because it's kind of rebellious and unstructured and fun," she says.
Achia says her classes offer an attractive exercise option for gym-haters, which could explain why they have doubled in size over the past year.
"I find aerobics boring and I hate the gym, but people recognise they need to be fit and healthy," she says. "Dance is the only exercise I've ever kept up. If it speaks to your creative side, you're more likely to keep going."