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

My Baby’s First Dance Class – What Do I Do?

So your little girl or boy (or big girl or boy) has been asking to start dance classes? You know how much they love music, you see that they have an uncontrollable urge to move when their favourite song comes on, you’ve watched them obsess over dance related tv shows and movies and try to copy the dance steps in front of the TV. You would love to sign them up to dance class and make their dreams a reality but just as going to a new dance school can be daunting for your child, often it can be as equally daunting for you, a first-time “dance mum” or “dance dad”.

Never fear! Your guide to your child’s first dance class is here to help you get through the process; before, during and after.

BEFORE CLASS.

  1. Do your research. Google Maps is a monopoly board of dance schools in your local area. Each one of them will be different and have something that makes them special. Their “special” might not fit you and your child though. There are many factors to consider when picking a dance school; location, price, the culture of the school and qualified teachers to name a few. Think about what your ideal dance experience will be; do you want a high level of commitment and elite level performances? Do you want a recreational class for fun? Check out each dance school’s website and social media pages to find a school whose vision matches yours. Ask questions! Call up and inquire. Don’t be afraid to inquire at a few different schools until you find what you’re looking for.

  2. Book in. Just as you and your child need to be prepared, so do your teachers. Make sure that they know you will be attending class. Some school’s have an online booking system and others will take your booking via phone or email. Booking is important to ensure that there is space in that class for your son or daughter. Nothing is more disappointing than building up the excitement of dance class only to arrive and be told that that class is full. It is also a good opportunity to tell your teacher a little bit about your child. Maybe they have learning difficulties or a language barrier or are just generally very shy. A good teacher will take this on board and be prepared to create the best experience possible for your child.

  3. Talk about dancing. Often a dance class environment can be quite daunting for first timers, especially younger children. A dance class is a structured activity and while heaps of fun, is very different to just dancing around in the lounge room at home. Children who haven’t yet participated in a structured activity like school, kinder or lessons will take more time to grasp the concept of following directions in a group. The environment itself can be quite daunting too, a big echoey studio, loud music, other children and a new grown-up telling them what to, Talk to your child in the weeks leading up to class so these things will be less of a shock to them. Some things you can say are:
  • “Your dancing teacher’s name is Kristie and she is so excited to dance with you.”
  • “I’m so excited to take you to see your special dance room,  are you?”
  • “There are going to be lots of other little boys and girls dancing with you today, that’s exciting isn’t it?”
  • “Your dance teacher, Kristie, is going to teach you lots of special things. Try to copy and listen.”
  • And the most important one: “Don’t worry if it’s tricky. Just try your very best and have fun”
  • You could also show them photos or videos from your school’s social media pages of dance routines, the studio or even their teacher.

4. Be early. Arrive about 10 minutes early to give your child time to settle in, meet their teacher, go to the toilet, become familiar with the space, put their dance shoes on and relax. Arriving late or rushing in creates a stressful experience for the child who is most likely already feeling a little bit unsure. It is also disrupting to the teacher and the other little people in the class. When a child arrives late they miss out on class introductions, a comforting and settling chat from their teacher and the warm-up. All of these are essential to a well-rounded class.

DURING CLASS.

  1. Stick around. Depending on how old and how independent your child is, it’s a good idea to wait for them during their first lesson. Check with the teacher to see if it’s ok to watch their first class, every school will have a different policy. If you are allowed to watch, this is a good opportunity for you to get a feel for the school, see how the teacher engages with your child and to make sure they’re having fun. If you will be waiting for your child in the parent lounge, you could show them where you will be sitting to assure them that you aren’t too far away.

  2. Don’t take photos or videos. This is a policy most dance schools have in place as part of their Child Safety Policy and Code of Conduct. It ensures the safety and comfort of all students and parents. Imagine you as a 4-year-old, in your very first dance class, looking up to see a grown-up you don’t know taking your picture. Or imagine you as an adult, looking across the room to see another adult you don’t know filming your child’s dance class. From a copyright standpoint – it is actually against the law. Dance schools pay lots of money to be able to use and reproduce music in class, concerts and social media videos. What’s more, it is very awkward for you, the teacher and the other parents when the class has to be stopped so that you can be asked to stop filming. If you would like to capture the special moment, a photo before or after class is a better idea.

  3. Try not to discipline your child. It can be so tempting to call out “Mia – listen to Kristie” or “Sienna – are you concentrating!?”. It is expected for little people to get distracted during class and your teacher will be prepared for it. If it’s your child’s first dance class, they need to learn that for the next 45 minutes their dance teacher is the boss, not mum or dad. It is confusing for them to have instructions coming from all different directions and often will have the opposite effect. Remember, your teacher is a qualified professional. If they think your child is particularly disruptive or not quite ready for dance class, they will have a conversation with you about it. Sit back and relax and leave it to the pros.

  4. Don’t be disruptive. Switch phones off and refrain from a catch-up session with the other parents. Chatter can be really distracting for students AND the teacher. If possible, ensure your other children are looked after and entertained, not disturbing the class. Younger siblings, in particular, can be a point of distraction for big sisters and brothers who want to look after their younger sibling or want them to join in the class.

AFTER CLASS.

  1. Ask your child what they thought. Did they have fun? Would they like to come back? Was it scary? What was your favourite part? Often what you watched in the classroom can be different from what your child feels. There are many factors that determine where you send your child to dance but your child’s happiness should be high up on your priority list.

  2. Chat with the teacher. You might have questions or concerns or you’re not sure if that was the right class for your child. Voice these with the teacher. He/She may ease your concerns or they might know of a class that would be better suited to your child.

  3. Try again. For many little boys and girls, it can take a few classes to settle into the dance school environment. As mentioned earlier, it is a structured activity with many variables; loud music, lots of other children and parents, a new place, a new grown up, all of these things can trigger nerves and emotions even in the most confident of children. If your child loves to dance but struggled with their first lesson, it may be worth persisting for a few more classes. Every child is different and like with all things, each child will take to dance in their own way and in their own time.  

  4. Relax. Remember not to expect too much from your little dancer. Dance is a progressive art form and the skills involved take time to develop. They won’t be turning, leaping or performing cartwheels in their first class. Remember it’s not just about the dance steps. It’s about developing the whole person. From social skills to confidence, musicality and counting, healthy muscles and bones and making friends!

And the last thing; cut yourself some slack. Signing your child up to dance can be stressful. It means more bills to be paid, more uniforms to buy, more emails and newsletters to read and yet another after-school activity to get to on time. It may take you a while to find your own dancing feet but if you are feeding your child’s passion for dance, you are already doing a wonderful thing. Just take a deep breath, do your research and trust your instincts.

By Chloe Jobson – Co-Owner at Main St Funk Dance School Epping