What to expect during Concert Season.

So we’ve hit the second half of the year, which means in the dance world, it’s officially #CONCERTSEASON! For some of our first-time parents and students, this might sound a bit scary or daunting. For our more experienced families, you probably felt a shiver of excitement shoot down your spine. If you’ve been with Main St Funk for the better part of this year, you may have caught on that we do things a little bit differently to other dance schools and concert time is no exception. Or, maybe, this is your first time ever being involved in an activity like dance and performance and you have ZERO ideas of what to expect. That’s ok! We’ve put together a little bit of a guide to help you brace yourself for what’s bound to be the highlight of your child’s year.

1.COSTUMES

Main St Funk holds a reputation for being grounded and down to earth and for the most part, we are pretty casual. However, when it comes to concert season, Main St Funk pulls out all the stops. Expect bright and funky hip hop costumes, gorgeous and glittering jazz and ballet costumes. The cost of these is included in your term fees and require no sewing on your part. We aim to keep cost and hassle low, so all costumes are creatively sourced and created in a way to suit our budget. This means that you might receive a costume that is not your exact size, or requires a slight alteration (by the MSF team) or maybe, it’s just simply not your style and not what you would pick when you head out to the shops. Trust that the MSF team are professionals and know what looks good on stage. We would never let you on stage in a costume that didn’t match our high standards. So, when trying on your costumes, if it doesn’t seem right at first, remember that the MSF team know all of the tricks of the trade to make it work and please be patient, remembering that your child’s costume is one of the hundreds that require our attention.

After your child has been fitted into their costumes, they will be taken home. The costumes will become your responsibility from then until concert day. Please look after them, to ensure your child looks fabulous on stage. Missing or damaged items may incur a replacement charge. All costumes will be returned to Main St Funk on concert day after your child has performed.

2.THE SUPERMODEL LIFE

Every year Main St Funk hold a professional in house photo-shoot with a professional photographer. Every child is given the opportunity to pose in single photos and group photos in their dance costumes. These make gorgeous keepsakes, thoughtful Christmas presents for relatives and they are the perfect way to keep the memories of a beautiful dancing year. Participating in the photo-shoot comes at no extra cost and all photos will be available to purchase in hard copies and digital formats.

3.DATES AND TIMES 

Now that the fun is amping up, so are the commitment levels and opportunities for your children. We run many optional performance opportunities, the photo day, a compulsory rehearsal and annual concert in the second half of the year. If your child is participating you will need to know call times, venue addresses and important dates. Often at these events, we are running to a strict timeline. So being late may mean that your child misses out on their opportunity to dance, even on concert days! Check out our events page to ensure your child doesn’t miss out: https://mainstfunk.com/dates-events/

4. COMPULSORY THEATRE REHEARSAL

As mentioned above, and in every newsletter released this year, Main St Funk only hold one compulsory event throughout the whole year! The theatre rehearsal, held in the week prior to the concert, is a strict requirement for all students who wish to participate at the end of year concert. Why is it compulsory? The rehearsal is the only opportunity the students have to practice their routines on stage, before the big show. A theatre can be a big and daunting place for a little person. The rehearsal ensures all students feel safe and in familiar surroundings when they arrive on the concert day. Professional theatres cost thousands of dollars a day to hire and our students having access to the theatre prior to their performance is an absolute privilege that comes at no extra cost to our students.  At Main St Funk our priority is to give every student a positive experience on concert day. This compulsory rehearsal aids us in doing so.

5. HAIR AND MAKEUP

When you perform on stage, it is important that you look the part. Stage make up is a requirement of all students (all ages and genders) who perform on concert day. The MSF Team understand that putting makeup on young people may feel uncomfortable for some parents. The purpose of stage makeup is to enhance the dancer’s natural features on stage. On concert day, the MSF kids dance under professional stage lighting. This can make the performers face appear “washed out” or blurry from the audience and on the video footage. Wearing the required amount of makeup ensures that you will be able to see your child’s smiling face from the audience. Main St Funk does not use makeup for glamour purposes but rather to highlight the child’s features. We ask parents to use neutral tones and natural colours, to ensure our students do not look “overdone” or “made up”. Makeup is compulsory for concert day and optional for photo day. As well as makeup, each age group will have an allocated hairstyle. You will be required to do your child’s hair on photo day and concert day. You can expect to add “Hairspray. Gel. Hairnet. Bobby pins. Bobby pins. And, bobby pins.” to your shopping list. Slick and neat hair ensures each student looks uniform, presentable and groomed on stage.

6.EXPECT TO WORK HARD

As your moment on stage draws closer, choreography will be finalised, positions will be set in stone and performance skills will be refined. Your teachers will be pushing you to dance bigger, work harder and to take responsibility for knowing your work. You will be expected to be trying your best, to be working as a team player and to take pride in your craft and especially as you get older, you will be held accountable for missing class, being late or not pulling your weight. The MSF teacher’s see your fullest potential and it is their job to draw the best out of you! Once again, our priority is to ensure that every student has a positive experience on concert day. Arriving to the show underprepared can leave the students feeling even more nervous and overwhelmed than what is expected on such a special day. We want our students to be able to put their best foot forward and to walk off stage with their head held high, knowing that they gave it their all and have put in the work to give their best performance.

7. THE MSF BUDDY SYSTEM

During concert season, you can expect your child to act independently and confidently without mum and dad! Main St Funk has a “no parents backstage” policy. All of the younger students are buddied up with an older student who looks after them backstage on concert day and during the rehearsal. We are pretty proud of this buddy system. It teaches independence, responsibility and teamwork and ensures that every single parent gets to sit in the audience and see their child shine on stage. The theatre rehearsal is a parent free-zone as well which keeps the performance a big surprise for our mums and dads and is great practice for concert day. If your child (or yourself!) may take some time to get used to the idea, it would be a good idea to practice attending dancing independently by dropping your child off for their weekly class and coming back to pick them up. You can build up the amount of time you are away from the studio each week. This will help to further build yours and your child’s trust in their teachers and the MSF team and help them to feel comfortable and safe when they attend dancing events.

8.TEARS

Expect tears. Tears of joy! Nervous tears. Tears of frustration. Tears of pride! Tears from laughter. Tears when you say goodbye to your dancing friends, your favourite routines and beautiful costumes. Tears from mum and dad who are blown away in the audience. Tears of pride from your teachers, who see you dance every week but can’t help but feel SO PROUD when they see you on that stage. Concert season is a beautiful and emotional time and like all things that we are passionate about, will have its highs and lows. Dance is an art form. It’s for the big-hearted, not the faint-hearted.

9. BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES AND FOREVER FRIENDS

Whether your child will dance for years to come or never again, the memories created at dancing and during concert season will be cherished for a lifetime. Years from now you and your grown-up dancer will look back on your dancing photos and concert videos with love and fondness. You won’t remember all the emails you had to read or all the rushing to and from the theatre you had to do. You will remember squeezing their little nervous hand as you walked them to the dressing room. You will remember tucking in laces for tiny feet and hair spraying back little baby hairs. You will remember the goosebumps you felt sitting in the audience waiting to see your child on stage. You will remember thinking “I’m more nervous than they are!” and feeling like you could burst with pride. Years from now, you won’t be able to bring yourself to throw away their old, tiny dancing shoes because they hold such treasured memories.

Your child will make beautiful friends. Concert season has a way of bringing people together. The experience bonds children in a way that only “dancing people” understand. Dancing friendships are famous for lasting a lifetime, even years after you stop dancing. 

As a grown-up, your son or daughter won’t be able to help themselves but dance when they hear old “dancing songs” on the radio.  They will remember the hard work, the butterflies in their tummy, the itchy costume that looked gorgeous on stage and the teacher that believed in them more than they believed in themselves.

You will both remember one thing, “it was all worth it.” 

The MSF Team know that concert season is super exciting but can also be daunting, overwhelming or stressful, especially if you are new to the dance world. We will always do our best to ensure you are kept in the loop and will give your child every opportunity to have the best time in the studio and on stage. All information will be provided to you and available on our website but we also always welcome questions. If you are ever not sure, just get in touch by email or phone. 

IMPORTANT DATES: https://mainstfunk.com/dates-events/

LATEST NEWSLETTER: https://mainstfunk.com/2019/07/11/july-2019/

mainstfunk@gmail.com 0433220973

It’s OK to Make Mistakes.

As dancers and creatives we all have a little streak of perfectionism running through our DNA.

What’s that you ask? It is the act of striving for flawlessness and in small doses it can be a blessing but, it can also be a curse.

It means that we usually hold ourselves to a high standard, have a strong work ethic, an eye for detail, an insatiable drive to continue to do better and obviously, a passion for our chosen field.

But it can also mean that we often pick ourselves apart, over analyse the details, feel defeated (even after a win!). It can be so destructive that “not trying” becomes the safest option because it feels better not to try than to achieve something “less than perfectly” on the first attempt.

Who has ever kept quiet in class when the teacher has asked a question, even though you are 99.9 percent sure you know the answer? It’s much easier to be quietly right than to be so outwardly and confidently wrong.

These dancers and students will often hide behind a “I don’t care” and “I can’t be bothered” disguise until eventually, someone who was once thriving, falls behind. The pressure of catching up and of not being “the best” is too much, leading a once passionate and dedicated dancer to quit.

The reality is, nothing in life will ever be perfect, there will always be mistakes! You mustn’t them beat you. Mistakes are proof that you are trying, that you are growing and that you are human. Making mistakes teaches us to be resilient and strong. They teach us how to survive in a not so perfect world and when we are not perfect ourselves, we are more forgiving and understanding of our equally imperfect peers.

As someone who is your dance teacher, you will often hear me making corrections, telling you to work harder, encouraging you to practice and being well, a nag. I can see why you would assume  that I am perfect (I mean, look at me *flicks hair*) but the truth is I am very much NOT. Despite the perfectionist gene running hard and fast through my veins, I make mistakes, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Some, I think about for days, weeks, months after they happen. Others, I brush off, acknowledge the lesson learned and move forward.

Here are few not-so-perfect dancing moments that I have lived through and survived to tell the tale. Some of them hurt, some of them ate away at my brain (some still do!), some of them are just plain hilarious but all of them were a lesson that I needed to learn and have made me the strong, resilient, driven, creative person I am today. *flicks hair again*

  • I have forgotten my dance on stage (yes, an entire dance)
  • I have made mistakes on stage (every dance, every performance)
  • I make mistakes in every class I participate in. When I am a student and even when I am teaching!
  • During my first concert, I fell asleep in the change room and missed my last dance of the show and the finale. Side note: I was also so nervous, I threw up before I even arrived at the theatre.
  • During my second concert, I was late on stage and missed about 30 seconds of my dance.
  • I have fallen over on stage.
  • I have cried in class, on multiple occasions, out of sheer frustration.
  • I have shown up to photo day without my costumes.
  • I have shown up to rehearsals with out all of my dance shoes.
  • I have participated in competitions and not placed first. I have even participated and not placed at all.
  • I have participated in dance exams and “only just” passed.
  • I auditioned for an elite full time dance course and got sent home after the first round.
  • I auditioned for a hip hop crew that I love and admire and didn’t get a call back.
  • I have been lectured, yelled at and “told off” from teachers for not working hard enough and not practicing.
  • I have “talked back”, argued and given attitude to my teachers. Whoops. #teenagechloe
  • I have been late to class.
  • I have been removed from choreography because I didn’t know it well enough in time.
  • I have been removed from choreography even though I did know it!
  • I was once in a dance that went for 3 minutes and 25 seconds. I was only in 4 counts of 8 out of the whole dance and half of that time was standing in a pose that was facing the back!
  • I have fallen over on stage.
  • My headpiece has fallen off on stage (multiple times)
  • I have forgotten my positions and where I was travelling to on stage.
  • I have had many, MANY, costume malfunctions on stage.
  • In the year 2000 I cut my own fringe. Ok, not dancing related but I did have to perform on stage with my new “do” and my mum did still buy that year’s dancing photos. My sisters called it my “tufty bits”.
  • I have shown up to comps, rehearsals, photo days and concerts at the wrong time because I didn’t read the notice properly.
  • I have torn my dance tights right before I was supposed to enter the stage.
  • I have spilled food on my costume!
  • I once gave my mum strict instructions on where on my costume she needed to sequin, only to arrive to photo day and it was completely wrong. Sorry mum!
  • I have misplaced costume items.

The list goes on and on! And to think these are ONLY SOME of the mistakes or “failures” I have made on my dancing journey and doesn’t even include my day to day activities as a frazzled twenty-something millennial. Think; forgetting doctors appointments, somehow burning the chicken but also leaving it raw on the inside, that time I got my car stuck on a large concrete pillar – that’s a story for another day. The point is I survived or, I am surviving.

So, the next time you make a mistake or something feels less-than-perfect; take a deep breath and a step back. Was it important? Was it in your control? What have you learned from this? Are there any consequences? And instead of BEATING yourself up about it, BUILD yourself up. Congratulate yourself for taking a chance,  acknowledge your strengths, have a moment of despair and then dust yourself off.

Mistakes are proof that you are trying, that you are learning and that you are human. Remember, it’s ok to make mistakes but it’s never ok not to try. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. YOU ARE A SURVIVOR.

By Chloe Jobson – A Serial Mistake Maker.

My dance teacher is picking on me!

Uh oh… Your son or daughter, who absolutely loves dancing, has come out of class looking frustrated and upset. You ask them what’s wrong and they mutter the words no parent wants to hear…

“My teacher is picking on me!”

Your heart sinks. Your mind races and your inner mama-bear gets ready to roar and jump to your child’s defense.

Well hang on a sec, hold your horses. Let’s think logically and figure out exactly what your darling dancer means. In the playground at school, if someone is being “picked on” it generally means that another individual is going out of their way to annoy or tease or bully this person. This kind of behavior is deliberate with the intent to upset the other person.

In my years of dance teaching, I am yet to come across another teacher or principal who has taken such a dislike to a student that they would put so much time and energy into making that child upset.

A dance teacher is generally somebody who is very passionate about dance and who equally loves working with children, they may even have their own! Dance teachers are joyous, energetic people. They have taken an active interest and invested their time and energy into the growth and development of your child and the hundreds of children that they will meet in their dance teaching career. They are one of the lucky few whose passion and career came together. It would be a bit out of character if they started “picking” on children now, wouldn’t it?

What your child probably means is, they often hear the teacher say their name in class. This is actually a positive thing and great teachers make a conscious effort to say every single student’s name multiple times a lesson so they feel included in the class and important to their teacher. Your child might feel like their name is the only one being called out but that is likely because they are only tuned in to hearing their own name and not their classmates.

But why do they keep getting called upon? Here are some reasons your child might be being “picked on” by their teacher.

  1. CORRECTIONS: It doesn’t matter if your child wants a career in dance or comes to class for fun. A teacher’s job is to TEACH dance. This means correcting mistakes so that your child, the student, can LEARN. It is important the teacher corrects mistakes so that your child can progress and make improvements week to week. It also helps to reduce the risk of injury when your teacher makes a correction on your child’s technique. Often, it would not be safe for a student to continually perform something incorrectly. Sometimes these corrections can be generalized to the whole class however, often children are progressing at different rates and need and deserve individualised attention from their teacher. They also pay attention and remember corrections more when they are directed to them and not the whole class.  An example of what your child might hear is: “Stretch those feet Sally”, “Don’t forget to bend your knees before you jump Tess” OR “Mary, keep in time with the music”. If your child says they are being “picked on” they are probably just receiving corrections which is a positive thing and means they are learning. If your child’s maths teacher asked them what 2+2 is and your child answered 5, their maths teacher is going to correct them. Are they being “picked on” or is Mr. Maths doing his job? 
  2. “MY TEACHER YELLS AT ME”: There is probably some truth to that. Sometimes the teacher will give their students corrections in a quiet and gentle manner. Other times they need to be firm and direct, so that the students understand the importance. Being loud or changing their tone of voice will emphasise the key points they want their students to remember. In general, dance teachers are loud and excitable people. If your dance teacher yells, it is because they are extremely passionate and they are trying to get all of the energy, excitement and joy they feel  out of their bodies and into their students! Also remember that quite often in a dance class environment, the teacher will be competing with loud music, chatty kids, the air-con or fans and even tap shoes, so they may yell or talk loudly because they want your child to hear and understand them. A dance teacher who yells is a dance teacher who cares. The important thing to remember is that they are not yelling AT your child but out towards the whole class so that everybody can hear them.
  3. POTENTIAL: Perhaps your child is progressing just that little bit faster than their classmates and has moved beyond the generalised corrections that are given to the whole class. Perhaps their teacher recognises your child’s potential and wants to give them a challenge. Your child might say “Miss Chloe keeps telling me to kick my legs higher and keep my back tall but she never tells my friend Alice!” Well, Alice might not be up to that. Alice might still be focusing on stretched feet and knees and your child has already shown improvements in that area and is ready for more. If your child isn’t given corrections or being “picked on” in their words, they might become bored at dance because they don’t feel challenged.
  4. YOUR CHILD IS DISTRACTED: There is so much stimulation in the dance room; loud music, their favourite songs, their dance friends, pretty pictures on the wall, students coming and going. Your child might get caught up in a conversation with their classmates or be thinking about what’s for dinner or how much homework they have to do when they get home. A good dance teacher can always tell when a  student isn’t focused or not listening. The teacher might say your child’s name or speak to them directly to bring their focus back to the dance class.
  5. POOR BEHAVIOR: Yes, maybe your child’s behaviour is not perfect all the time. This doesn’t mean that they are a bad kid, a terrible dancer or that their teacher doesn’t like them. While dancing is fun, it comes with a set of rules and disciplines. Respect needs to be shown to the teacher, the dance room and their classmates. This means being polite, not talking while the teacher is addressing the class or the music is on, not “playing” during class and wearing the correct uniform. Dance class is about so much more than just learning steps and tricks. Your child will learn social skills, work ethic and the importance of teamwork. When your child misbehaves or doesn’t adhere to the classrooms set rules, their teacher will pull them up. They might say “Lisa, where is your uniform today?” “Please don’t speak while I do Matthew” or “Erin, the dance studio is not a playground, please don’t run around.” The teacher may say these gently at first but if they need to remind your child repeatedly, it may be necessary to be firm. Dance class is a structured activity that can take children a little while to adjust to. It is quite normal for kids to slip up and forget the rules and get carried away having fun with their friends, so don’t stress too much if you think this might be the case. If the dance teacher believes your child’s behaviour has become too disruptive or dangerous for dance class, they will have a private conversation with you about addressing this behaviour at home. Until then, just leave it to the pros.

When I was a student, I like many others, complained that I was “picked on” by my teachers. Every class there was correction after correction, nothing was ever perfect. I viewed this as a negative thing. That was until I entered a class where I was completely ignored. Made to feel invisible for 1.5 hours a week, every week. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just negligence but now when I take class, I appreciate every correction directed to me and the whole class and I ask for more if I feel like I’m not getting enough. When I’m teaching, I attempt to make sure every student knows that I can see them and that I care by giving encouraging, constructive and individual attention to each of my students. This principle is instilled in each of the Main St Funk teachers. Without it being actively enforced, the MSF team are naturally invested into every single student that walks through our studio doors.

It is well-known that dancers are some of the most mentally strong and resilient athletes and it all starts at their very first dance class. So next time your child thinks that they are being picked on, dig a little deeper. They might just be super lucky and have an awesome dance teacher. Someone who is passionate, someone who cares and someone who believes in your child because behind every great dancer is a dance teacher who picked on them.

By Chloe Jobson.

How to be a Team Player at Dancing.

Dance; while the very word triggers images of solo dancers fleeting across the stage and the art of perfecting your performance and technique takes a lot of independent and individual discipline and drive, dancing is actually very much a team sport.

Producing a fabulous group performance takes equal drive, dedication and passion from every single dancer and being a great team player a part of an even greater team will soar your dancing to new heights.

Let’s think about what happens when you play a team sport.

  • You don’t get to play in the footy grand final if you haven’t been to training all year.
  • You don’t get to be in the starting 5 in the basketball game if you haven’t been pulling your weight.
  • You don’t walk down the netball court while your team mates sprint past you.
  • You don’t question your soccer uniform or get to choose your team colours. You get what you get and everyone wears their team colours with pride.
  • If you are late on game day, you don’t get to play. 

    So, here’s how to be a team player at dancing.

  • If you plan on participating in the concert you need to be prepared by coming to class.
  • If you want to stand out on stage, you need to give it your all.
  • Don’t let your class mates dance harder than you. Match their energy and drive.
  • Be proud and patriotic. Your dance uniform is important. It promotes unity and a strong work ethic. Wear it with pride.
  • Be punctual. If you are late to class, rehearsal or concert days, you miss warm ups, important information and on busy event days, you could even miss your turn to dance!! Being on time is vital to having a positive experience dancing.

    Did you know that in our code of conduct (agreed to upon enrollment) it states:

    “Main St Funk believes that a dance class should feel like a team where everyone is treated equally and works equally as hard. No one student is the star and no student is left behind.”
    This is because we endeavour to raise hard-working, team players who love to dance!
    As we settle in to preparing our performance day routines, let’s keep thinking of our dance class as our team. Let’s keep being patriotic and proud. Let’s keep encouraging and cheering on our team mates and let’s SOAR together to new dancing heights.

GO TEAM MSF!

How To Practice For Your Upcoming Performance.

Teacher at the end of class: “Make sure you practice!”
Student: “Yeah, right. When?”

“Practice” – It’s a daunting word. What comes to mind when your dance teacher suggests that you practice at home? A montage of sweat and tears? A marathon of turns and leaps that never ends? Hours upon hours of hard work that leaves you feeling sore and defeated? Actually, when your teacher suggests that you practice at home, that’s not what they mean.

Most dance teachers recognize that students, just like them, have a life full of action and activities outside of dance and trying to fit in yet another responsibility in your week can be stressful. Your dance teachers are also well-educated and passionate about the benefits that can come from practicing at home. Students who practice are generally more confident in class and on stage. It means they can have a more progressive year of dancing because instead of having to “re-learn” what they learnt in the previous class, they can move forward, on to the next step or skill. They can work on refining their technique and performance skills instead of spending class time trying to remember the choreography AND the more you practice, the faster your muscle memory develops, meaning you will pick up new dances quicker and remember them more than if you weren’t practicing at all.

So, how can we fit dance practice (outside of our scheduled class time) into our weeks?

  1. TIMING:

    If you can practice every single day of the week that’s great. But, not realistic or sustainable and actually, not really beneficial as our bodies and brains would soon become burnt out and fatigued. Sit down and look at your schedule and decide on a realistic expectation that you can set for yourself. Perhaps you can practice three times a week? A Sunday afternoon when you have lots of free time, after school on a night when you don’t have to rush off to another activity and maybe one night right before bed? Remember that you don’t need to spend hours at a time practicing. Think about how much time you actually spend on your routine in class. Once you take away a warm up, technique work and skills, a cool down, that leaves about 20-30 minutes for choreography. So if you can manage three 20 minute practices a week, you are already doing an extra hour of dancing! It’s a good idea to squeeze in a quick practice right after your dance class, while the choreography is fresh in your head and right before dance class, so that you can progress on to the next block of choreography quickly.

  2. BREAK IT UP: 

    Practicing a whole routine, remembering every step and finding corrections for yourself sounds like a daunting process. Why not break your dance up into sections and practice one bit at a time? Perhaps there is a part of your dance that is particularly challenging for you, focus on that until you feel confident with it and only then, move on to the next section. You don’t even have to practice specific choreography. Perhaps there is a tricky turn, skill or just one transition that you need to work on. It’s amazing how everything can fall into place once you have jumped over one hurdle.

  3. VISUALIZE & LISTEN:

    This one is especially good for those weeks when your body is sore and exhausted from all of your other activities. Or perhaps you are run down and not well enough to exert all of your energy dancing. Pop your headphones in and listen to your song. Close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the steps. Also, imagine your classmates with you so that you can remember your choreography and formations in relation to your teammates. Visualizing yourself performing on stage in costume and under the lights is a great way to reignite your passion for a piece of choreography that might be becoming stale or “boring” as you have been working on it for a few months. Picture what you want to look like when you are on stage in front of your family and friends. What does your performance face look like? Practice this in front of a mirror! Or a friend if you are feeling brave. Just listening to your song over and over without any added distractions can help you understand the musicality better, which is important for timing and unison in a group dance. Next time you’re in class, ask your teacher for a copy of the music or the title and artist so that you can have it at home. You can listen to your song on the way to school, while you are doing chores or just in your down time.

     

  4. WRITE THINGS DOWN:

    It’s understandable if from time to time you get home from dancing and think “What did we do??”. Take a notebook into class and write down keywords or new things that you learn so that when you are practicing you can jog your memory. Make note of any corrections your teacher gives to you personally or to the whole class. Ask the teacher if there is anything specific they think you need to work on. Write it down in a way that you will understand. Write down the things that you think you are awesome at as well and practice those too!

  5. WATCH:

    So now that you can remember all of the steps to your choreography. That means there is no point to practicing right? ….Wrong! There is always something to work on. Why not film yourself performing your choreography and then sit back and watch. Sometimes dancing can look so much different than what it feels like. You might notice you aren’t fully straightening your legs and stretching your feet and ankles even though it feels like you are. Or if you’re a hip hopper, maybe it’s the opposite and you are not bending your knees and dancing into the ground as much as you thought. Make some notes about what you see. What do you do well? What can you work on? Imagine you are the teacher and you are correcting your student. What would you tell them?

  6. PRACTICE PRACTICING:

    Like any good habit, practicing will take time to work into your routine and the more you do it, the better you will get at it. Everybody has a different learning process so find the method that fits your lifestyle and learning style best. When you practice, tell people! The encouragement and good feedback you will receive, will fuel you to keep practicing AND that energy is contagious, it will encourage your teammates to practice too.

There is no right or wrong way to practice your dancing at home and your dancing can only get better if you give it a go! We challenge you all to apply these 6 tips to your practicing schedule and get ready to watch your dancing sky rocket! What have you got to lose?

By Chloe Jobson: A chronic nagger who can often be found rocking back and fourth uttering the words “please practice” over and over. 

How to “Dance Mum”

5 Key Words Every Dance Parent Should Remember.

In 2018, Main St Funk have welcomed a record number of new enrollments. Lots of little people and lots of big people too, who are either new to the dance world or at least new to the world of Main St Funk. And of course, these gorgeous people wouldn’t exist without their parents. A new dance class (a new environment, new people, learning new skills) can be daunting for young children but it can also be overwhelming for new dance parents. While your child is finding their dancing feet you also need to find yours so we’ve put together a short and sweet article to help you be the best dance mum (or dance dad, grandparent, aunty, guardian) and no, we don’t mean THAT kind of dance mum.

1. READ

If you are reading this article, good job, you are familiar with our first key word…READ! At Main St Funk we believe that communication is key. We put all important pieces of information in writing via email and our website. This is the most effective way to feed you everything you need to know. While it may seem simpler to you for us to simply TELL you all of the information, with over 100 parents to talk to each week, it is much easier for us to type it all out once. We know how busy you are, so we only include things that we think you absolutely need to know. Therefore, the rule of thumb should be “there are words on my screen from my dance school, I definitely need to read this.” When you skip over important newsletters or emails you miss out on information about rehearsals, concert dates, special events, uniforms, class rules – you being familiar with these things are VITAL to your child having a fulfilling and successful year at dancing. Don’t let them be the kid who shows up without their correct costume or shoes or who misses out on the concert because you didn’t make a note of all of the important dates. Be informed – READ!

HOT TIP: If you receive an email from us and think “I haven’t got time to read this” – flag it in your inbox and set a reminder on your phone for a time when you will be able to sit down and take it all in. 9pm? The kids are in bed, dishes are done. Set yourself up with a cup of tea (or something stronger) and get to reading!

2. RESPOND

So, you got through step one and you’ve read everything you need to know. Give yourself a pat on the back, you’re already ahead of the game. The next thing you need to do is “Respond”. Newsletters may often include a quick form you need to fill out. These could be order forms for new uniform items or a participation form for upcoming events. Fill it out then and there while it’s on your screen, then you don’t have to remind yourself to come back to it later and your teachers will appreciate your prompt reply. If there are no forms to fill out, simply replying to let your teachers know that you received their message and relevant information would be appreciated. This is also a great opportunity to ask any questions you have or to confirm any points that you are not sure of. We LOVE answering questions at Main St Funk, it ensures we are all on the same page. So please, ask away!

3. RESPECT

Dance studio owners all over the world put their heart and soul into their work –  we are yet to meet a fellow dance studio owner who doesn’t give their job absolutely everything they’ve got and the MSF team are no exception. What is just a 45 minute dance class to you has taken years of training on our behalf, hours of planning and lots of late nights choreographing. Our studio, is not just a venue to run a dance class. It is a dream come true and our second home. Your classmates and fellow dance parents are cherished members of our dance community, just as much as you are and our staff are beloved members of our family who we handpicked to provide classes to your children. So, RESPECT:

  • OUR DANCE SPACE: Keep it clean and tidy, keep noise levels down, don’t treat it as a play area or babysitting centre, share the space with others.
  • EACH OTHER: Main St Funk are a bully free zone and dancing is our happy place. Talk to each other with kindness and encouraging words, greet each other with a smile, make friends, help each other.
  • OUR TEACHERS: Do as they ask, don’t interrupt while they are teaching or talking, say please and thank you.
  • THE CHOREOGRAPHY: Our teachers will make choices about music and choreography based on age, skill level, concert themes, appropriateness and artistic choice. Never suggest changes or make negative comments. Dance is an art form and our teachers are artists who make lots of considerations when creating their dances. The are very proud of their work, as they should be.

4.TIME

We know you will remember this one because as busy parents, you probably don’t have a lot of it….TIME. The perfect dance parent is never late, in fact they are probably 5 or 10 minutes early. Punctuality is important to ensure a smooth class free of disruptions. Coming early is even better because it gives your child the opportunity to settle in before class starts. Children are often affected walking in to class late, it can be daunting arriving in the middle of an action packed class. It is also important for your child to participate in the entire class. Warm ups at the beginning of each session are important in preventing injuries and our little debriefs at the beginning of class are a great way to get to know fellow classmates. Don’t forget that you have paid for a full 45 minute or 1 hour class as well. Get your money’s worth AND your child will get the most out of their training, win win. Seperate from class, during rehearsal and performance season, you may have call times specific for your group. Be familiar with what they are, aim to get there early to allow for traffic and travelling to a theatre you may not be familiar with. To summarise, our 4th keyword is “time” and we want you to be on it.

5. RELAX

Sit back and relax and let your child go at their own pace. It may take a while for them to find their feet. They may not be the most confident or the most capable in the class. They may find themselves in the back row where they can see and copy the more experienced kids. That’s ok! We could’ve titled this paragraph “trust” as well. Trust in your teachers that they are making the right decisions for their students, this might mean not pushing kids beyond their limits. Trust in the process, good things (like awesome dance moves) take time, trust in your child’s ability to itch away at something until they master it. At Main St Funk we raise hard working, determined dancers. So sit back and relax (enjoy a coffee in our parent’s lounge) and if your child comes out of class smiling, you can trust that their time at dancing is fulfilling and positive.

So there we have it. The perfect dance mums (and dads!) do exist. They read every newsletter and email and respond promptly. They are respectful and always on time (or early!) and now they can relax while their children reap all of the benefits in dance class.

We appreciate all of our dance parents and are so thrilled to have each and every one of you on board. If, after reading this, you feel inspired to ensure you are up to date with all the MSF info. Check out our latest newsletter and important dates + events page on our website.

By Chloe Jobson; not a dance parent but an observer of sorts.

A few of the lovely dance mums we are lucky to have at Main St Funk.

4 Reasons Hip Hop Dancers Should take a Ballet Class.

When you think of hip hop and ballet, you might imagine them on opposing ends of the dancing spectrum. They are apples and oranges. They are north and south. They are black and white and there is no grey area. As dancers it is our duty to identify with only one and not the other.

I can hear the chant of young hip hop dancers way off in the distance… “Yo, I’m just a hip hop dancer. Ballet ain’t my thang.” Or something to that effect. Once upon a time I shared that attitude and would have fully had your back bro. However, ballet has since won me over.

When I was growing up, dancing was a consistent part of my life but there was little room in my schedule or my heart for ballet. I took class for a year or two here and there but never with the consistent and disciplined attitude of an A+ ballet student. I was a self proclaimed “anti-ballerina”, leotards and tights made me feel self-conscious and I was often heard telling people “I wasn’t built for ballet.” No, I didn’t (and still don’t) have amazing feet or great turn out and I’m not super flexible. Nor do I possess any of the ideal physical traits of your stereotypical ballerina. But, I have a new mantra now. “Nobody was built for ballet. Ballet was built for us.”

In 2012, I began my Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management course. One look at the timetable was enough to give me nightmares. Three 1.5 hour classes of ballet a week for two years and no hip hop! I walked into that ballet studio tentatively, frightened and admittedly a little bit “too cool” for this. 2 years later I walked away as a changed dancer and student. It’s now 2017, I am training in hip hop and urban dance styles full time but I still take at least one ballet class a week and I encourage you, young hip hopper, to do the same. If you can’t take my word for it, read on for 4 reasons why.

1. Body Alignment

One of the first ballet classes I had at TAFE was unlike any dance class I’ve ever had.  For the first half of the class we just stood. There was no dancing. My ballet teacher walked around correcting and adjusting and talking us through what correct body alignment should look and feel like. “Who knew I had been standing wrong for the past 19 years!?” I remember muttering under my breath. But I had been “standing wrong” and had I not taken that class that year, maybe I would have never known. Body alignment is the optimal placement of the body that ensures our muscles aren’t working unnecessarily hard to achieve everyday movements like walking and lifting as well as dancing. Injuries, headaches and soreness often originate from a misalignment. My alignment has since improved but is a work in progress and re-training your body is something that takes time and focus and strength! When we are young and still growing, our bodies are easier to mould and re-train. This is why I always recommend my young dancers start ballet as soon as they can.

2. Strength

“Dancers are the athletes of god.” Yes they are. They are fit, fierce and strong, and when I started taking ballet I noticed my strength and fitness levels gradually improving over time. Thanks to our good friend the plie, my legs became stronger and I could jump higher and dance lower into the ground – how many times a class do you hear your hip hop teacher remind you to bend your knees? I found new strength in my arms, I could hit cleaner lines in my choreography and I had a better understanding of the muscles involved in holding those positions. The feedback I received from my hip hop teachers was that I was hitting their choreography harder than ever. My core strength improved which meant I could turn faster, balance for longer and I had better control. For the record, my ballet teacher never asked me to do a sit up or hold the plank position. Mentally I was stronger too. It took some time for me to learn to not take corrections so personally and to train my mind to embrace each correction as a positive and a chance to improve. Once upon a time a teacher’s critique would have left me feeling low and defeated but ballet has given me a thick skin and the mindset to take on board constructive feedback in dance class and in life.

3. Focus and Discipline

When I was a younger there was no better feeling than learning a new set of choreography and smashing it out from to start to finish. Picking up steps came easy to me and I rarely felt challenged. But that was because I was missing a crucial point. The challenge was right in front of me, I just couldn’t see it.  I didn’t understand the concept of perfecting each step in a way that would mimic the choreographer’s demonstration or vision with technical precision and correct technique and so each correction or suggestion that I should practice or go over the steps was met with frustration. “But I know it!…” My focus, not unlike many eager hip hop dancers I come across, was the choreography and not the mechanics behind the execution. A ballet teacher once said to me that dancing will never be easy and if it feels easy you are probably doing it wrong. It was in her class when I discovered she was right. I remember walking into her class one day feeling extra confident. I had finally memorised a particularly difficult Rond De Jambe exercise at the barre and I stood at the front of class determined to prove myself. At the end of the exercise she was frustrated and listed all of the things that needed work. It was a long list. At the time I was convinced she was nit-picking and she was out to get me. I had after all “remembered” the whole exercise however, I hadn’t given any thought to straightening my supportive leg, or maintaining my turn out, or keeping my hips facing the front when rotating my legs to the back and the list goes on and on. Now I understand that each dance step, no matter how simple it may seem, requires effort from the body and mind. I limit talking and laughing during class (although we are allowed to have fun, it is dancing after all!). I try not to just copy the movements of the choreographer, I listen to the way they describe each action and what muscles they are using and where their weight is sitting. I try to apply each correction given to me and my peers and I go over things so my mind and my body can remember what to do. Even the simplest warm up exercise deserves your full focus and it was ballet that taught me that.

4. Choreography and Performance

Ballet opened up a whole new realm of movement for me and my “made of wood” body. My sharp and somewhat linear dancing was contrasted to the round and continuous movement I had to adapt to in ballet. My body learned to extend, to be soft and gentle, to turn and to jump and to use the floor. Suddenly, I had so much more material to use when I was choreographing routines for me and my students. Ballet taught me to embrace dynamics, to go from smooth to sharp and from long extensions into short and snappy movements. Choreography became more fun for me and I’m sure (or I hope) more interesting for my audience to watch. As far as performance goes, ballet played a huge part in squashing the “competition kid” smile out of me and taught me instead the importance of presence. A great performer can just stand on stage and have the audience enthralled. It’s the eye line, the jut of the chin, the sly smirk, and the connection with the audience. Plastering a smile on my face and glueing my eyes to the lighting box at the back of the auditorium was a habit that was hard to break and one that, admittedly I still need to work on, but  my ballet teacher’s constant sing-song reminder of “head and eyes girls!” still rings through my head when I’m in class, on stage or teaching.

It’s now 3 years since I graduated from that course. Ballet, hip hop and all genres of dance continue to challenge me and even though I am a teacher, there is still so much for me to learn. I maintain that “ballet was built for us.” It really is the foundation of all dance, designed to push us, inspire us, break us at times and allow us to be the best versions of ourselves whether you are a dancer in training or not. In short, ballet gave me the big kick up the butt I needed and I am forever in debt to that wonderful ballet teacher who gave me some much needed tough love.

Thanks for reading, I’ll see you at the barre!

By Chloe Jobson – Main St Funk.