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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
The word “no” is usually associated with negativity and disappointment. However, at Main St Funk there are ten “no’s ” that help create a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that makes MSF a little bit unique.
So, here are the “Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Know About Main St Funk And They All Start With ‘No’”. (Try to say that ten times fast!)
NO ADDITIONAL COSTUME FEES: We understand that the cost of kids’ activities can add up, so we endeavour to make participating in dance as accessible as possible. At Main St Funk, all costume fees are included in your term-by-term tuition, so you don’t pay anything extra at the end of the year. This is great for big families, students who want to take lots of classes and anyone who likes to plan their budget.
NO SEWING: All embellishments, sequins and altering is done by the MSF team.
NO AUDITIONS: Main St Funk are proud to be inclusive – the only prerequisite is that you must LOVE to dance! We do have a committed competition crew and while it is common practice for dance schools to hold auditions for their comp teams, Main St Funk welcome any keen students to join their crew as long as they can be a dedicated team player.
NO FAVOURITISM: Main St Funk dancers work hard and while some students may display more natural talent, it is important to acknowledge the hard work and effort of ALL of the dancers. All of the MSF kids are given a turn in the front row and a moment to shine.
NO PARENTS IN THE CONCERT DRESSING ROOM: Yes, you read that correctly. Main St Funk have a “no parents backstage” policy. Don’t worry though, all of the younger students are buddied up with an older student who looks after them backstage. MSF are pretty proud of this buddy system. It teaches independence, responsibility and team work and ensures that every single parent gets to sit in the audience and see their child shine on stage.
NO EXCLUSIVITY: Main St Funk attend a number of community events throughout the year. These are always a fantastic opportunity for the MSF kids to gain experience dancing in front of an audience and in a casual environment. These events are always an open invite to all of the MSF kids. It is a great way for the students to bond with their classmates and to feel like they are an integral part of our dancing community (which they are!).
NO BULLYING: Main St Funk prides itself on the friendly, family & inclusive nature of its classes. Main St Funk have a ZERO TOLERANCE for bullying. MSF teach their students about respect, team work and treating their classmates as equals. We are all friends at Main St Funk – dancing is our happy place.
NO EXAMS: While learning a syllabus and completing a dance exam definitely has its benefits, the aim at Main St Funk is to provide a quality dance education where students progress at their own pace without the added stress of deadlines, exam scores and report cards.
NO INAPPROPRIATE MATERIAL: Main St Funk have a strict policy on ensuring that all song choices, choreography and costume designs are appropriate for the age of the students in their classes as well as the members of the audience. MSF is a family orientated dance school and work towards a standard that ensures that all students, whether they are minis, teenagers or adults, feel comfortable in what they are performing and wearing. Main St Funk keep up with the latest trends without crossing any boundaries. It is all good family fun (or FUNK!) at Main St Funk.
NO WORRIES: At MSF we LOVE dance, and all of these “no’s” are in place so all of our students can experience the joys and benefits of dancing. It’s as simple as that. Come and experience why all of these “no’s” are why so many kids and parents say “YES” to dancing at Main St Funk.
Well, the world has just said goodbye to one year and welcomed in another. The celebrations are nearly over which means that we barely have time to get over our food comas before we have to start getting organised for 2017. For many of us this means settling back into work while juggling the countless trips to and from the stationary and uniform shops to get the kids ready for another year of school.
On top of that, at some point about three weeks ago, your son or daughter looked up at you with big puppy dog eyes and said “I want to start dancing.” It has been at the forefront of their imagination and nag-ation (that’s not really a word but it means constant nagging) and now you’re convinced that it’s what they really want to do. So, you sit down and google “Dance Classes Northern Suburbs” and BAM! You’re hit with more than 15 dance schools in your area and that’s just on the first page. It all seems too overwhelming and you’re wondering if you can plonk your child in front of the TV watching reruns of Dance Academy instead.
No, you can’t and you don’t have to. All you need is your 5 senses and if you like everything you see, hear, smell, touch and taste, then you’ve got a winner!
Make sure you sit in and watch your child’s first lesson. It is important that you see what goes on in the classroom. Things to look out for are; is the class structured? Does the teacher have control of the room?
Take in your teachers’ body language – is he/she warm and inviting to the students?
Most importantly look at your own child. Are they comfortable and are they actively being included by the teacher and the other students?
Look at the other students coming and going to class. Are they leaving the studio elated, smiling and laughing? Or do they seem defeated and down?
Is it safe? Would you feel comfortable leaving your child there for an hour or more each week?
Are they using safe dance practices i.e. warm ups, cool downs and teaching the correct technique to prevent injuries?
Listen for positive reinforcement and encouragement. Remember that corrections are a good thing but if you hear criticisms that aren’t constructive, it might not be a very positive environment.
Listen to the music. Are you comfortable with what’s coming out of the speakers? Is it age appropriate? Are the kids engaged? Do they enjoy dancing to it?
Ask around! Pop your head into the parents room and hear what the other mums are saying. Ask them why they picked this school. It pays to be nosy!
Now it’s just as important to take note of who’s hearing you. Did the staff at the school listen and acknowledge all of your questions or concerns?
Is your child being heard? Will he/she feel confident to put her hand up and ask questions in class?
This one is a little abstract but I think it’s one of the most important. When investigating dance schools you need to get physical. I would never recommend a child to sit and observe their trial class. They need to be up and giving it a go. It may seem like throwing them in the deep end but watching a class is usually more intimidating and leaves them feeling even more nervous about coming back the following week (that’s if they want to come back at all). Remind them that it is normal to feel nervous and that being the beginning of term, they probably aren’t the only first timer in the room.
This may seem a bit silly but smell is important.
When you arrived did the studio smell clean and looked after? While this is good for hygiene and preventing the spread of germs that kids bring in from childcare and school, it also shows that the staff care about the studio and its patrons. Clean and tidy is a reflection of a great work ethic and that’s what you should be able to expect from your dance teachers.
Now I’m not going to suggest that you literally go and lick the floor of the dance studio. Unless you think that would help then by all means…
It is so important that you get a real taste for the school before you pay any fees or sign any forms. Go to as many free trials and open days as you can. Ask to watch classes or even go along to any upcoming performances the school might be having. Trust your instinct here. Usually, if it feels right then it is right but don’t forget to find out how your child feels about the school too. While something might seem logical because of the price and the location it still might not be the right fit for them. Your child’s happiness and well being should always be the priority.
By picking the perfect dance school you are the picking the place where you will watch your child’s confidence grow and where they will meet their best friends. You are picking their solace, the place they look forward to going to after a long day of school. You will have your dance school to thank for all the years of blood, sweat, tears, laughter, fond memories and that cupboard full of childhood costumes that you won’t be able to bring yourself to throw away. So use your 5 senses wisely and pick the perfect dance school for your child.