Getting Funky in Epping

Children and Teens in the City of Whittlesea are discovering the relaxed and fun vibe at Main St Funk dance studio in Epping.

Run by three sisters who grew up in Epping themselves, Main St Funk welcome anyone who loves to dance, no matter their experience.

Kristie Hocking, co-founder said “Back in 2007, we saw that there weren’t many options for kids who just wanted to dance for enjoyment, so we started a few Hip Hop classes with a simple vision of being relaxed, fun and inclusive.  “We find that kids really progress and get the most out of themselves when they feel supported and encouraged to give it a go without fear of failure”

Last year, after over a decade of running classes in Thomastown and Lalor, Main St Funk opened the doors to a brand new studio located in Epping.

Word quickly spread and soon nearly of all their classes were at capacity. In September 2018, they added a second studio to accommodate their growing community of enthusiastic and passionate kids from all over the Northern Suburbs.

In just one year, the Main St Funk dance family doubled, as local families embraced their unique combination of high energy, quality classes, with a focus on teamwork and at an affordable cost.

“The response from the community has been amazing. Our existing students are loving having our own space and all the extended class options, and so many new students have discovered us and are settling right in”

Students joining Main St Funk in 2019 can expect a high energy class in a friendly atmosphere. They can choose from Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary classes available for students as young as two and a half.

They offer an obligation free trial class to all new students, so book in and experience the joy of dancing for yourself.

April 2019

Wow! Hasn’t term 1 just flown by? In a jam-packed 9 weeks, we have started learning new skills and techniques, made new friends, performed at two events and have now started our concert work. We are so pleased with how everyone has settled into their classes and the happy and positive vibes you bring into class each week.

CONGRATULATIONS….

  • To our fantastic tiny, littlie, junior, inter and teen hip hop students who performed at the Lendlease Aurora Meet Your Neighbours event. We received fabulous feedback about how amazing you all were, not just performing but your behaviour and the energy that you brought to the entire event.
  • To ALL of the students who performed at the Whittlesea Community Festival, there were over 90 of you!! You tackled tricky conditions and still represented the black and orange tribe so perfectly. We are very proud of our performers and our big supportive community.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

These school holidays Main St Funk are running danced based activities. It is a great opportunity for our students to get to know their classmates in a fun and relaxed setting. There is something different for each age group and further details have been emailed out. You must book online prior to the day (for catering purposes) and bookings close on Tuesday, April 9th at 4 pm.

ENROLLMENTS STILL OPEN

Enrollments are still open for 2019. It’s not too late to tell your friends about Main St Funk or to try another class. If you’re thinking about taking on an extra class, please get in touch with the MSF team to discuss your options and your multi-class discount.

BIG GROUP HUG – DONATION DRIVE

This Winter Main St Funk are holding a donation drive through the organisation Big Group Hug’s campaign; “Pj’s Singlets, Socks and Jocks make for warm & happy, Kids & Tots”

Big Group Hug wants to be able to provide brand new pyjamas, singlets, socks and underwear to disadvantage kids and struggling families in our community. We are asking for donations of brand new items sizes 2 to 16 for both boy and girls. Please drop off your donations to Main St Funk by Wednesday May 1st. We know our big and generous dance family will go hard and make a difference in our community.

MUMMY JAM – MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATION AT MAIN ST FUNK

MSF Mamas get ready! In the week leading up to Mother’s Day, we want to celebrate YOU! From Monday the 6th- Saturday the 11th of May, you’re invited to come and join in the last 15 minutes of your child’s class. We’ve got some awesome and fun, dance based activities planned for you and your little one (or big one). Kids, don’t worry, if mum can’t make it you are welcome to bring one other significant grown up or just come on your own. You will still get a great class.

MID YEAR CONCERT

Every year we hold a casual and laid back mid-year performance. This year’s mid-year concert is called “In The Making” and it is a great opportunity to see what the kids have been working on all year and is a great chance for them to practice performing in front of an audience before they hit the “Big Stage” in December. This year, we are excited to have secured a venue that will accommodate a WHOLE school performance. Afterwards, you are invited to the “Main St Funk Mingle” to enjoy coffee and afternoon tea with your dancing family. Tickets will be sold prior to the event and seating will be allocated. Ticket sale info coming soon. If your child can’t make it, please ensure you inform the MSF team so that they can plan their choreography accordingly.

WHEN: Sunday June 23rd 2019

WHERE: St Sava Serbian Orthodox Church. 212-226 Diamond Creek Rd Greensborough

DANCERS ARRIVE: 11.00am

AUDIENCE DOORS OPEN: 11.45am

SHOWTIME: 12.00pm

MINGLE: 1.30-2.30pm

DANCING DAYS – END OF YEAR CONCERT

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s end of year concert, “Dancing Days”, will follow the theme of a calendar year. The MSF Kids will take you on a journey from one new years eve party to the next and will highlight every special holiday, celebration and milestone in between. Think Valentines Day, Birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day, First Day of School and much much more. Each class will perform two routines highlighting two special events that occur each year.

Don’t forget, our whole school has been split into two casts. Please ensure you are familiar with which cast you are in and which rehearsal/performance dates are relevant to you. Make sure your family and friends know as well, so they know which concert to come to when they want to cheer you on. This has been emailed out to you but can also be found below. If your child will not be participating in the end of year concert/s, please inform the MSF team asap as we begin planning choreography and costumes.

CAST 1: Seniors, Teens, Inters, Monday Junior Hip Hop, Monday Littlie Jazz, Monday Littlie Hip Hop, Tuesday Littlie Hip Hop, Tuesday Littlie Ballet, Tuesday Tiny Ballet, Tuesday Tiny Hip Hop, Monday Mini Ballet, Monday Mini Hip Hop, Saturday Mini Ballet, Saturday Mini Hip Hop.

CAST 2: Seniors, Teens, Inters, Friday Junior Hip Hop, Friday Junior Jazz, Wednesday Junior Hip Hop, Saturday Junior Hip Hop, Saturday Junior Ballet/Contemporary, Friday Littlie Hip Hop, Friday Tiny Hip Hop, Friday Tiny Ballet, Saturday Tiny Hip Hop, Saturday Tiny Ballet, Wednesday Tiny Hip Hop, Friday Mini Hip Hop, Friday Mini Ballet.

DON’T FORGET THESE IMPORTANT DATES

COMPULSORY THEATRE REHEARSAL: The rehearsal is the one and only compulsory event we run throughout the year and attendance is mandatory for all students who wish to participate at the end of year concert.

CAST 1: Wednesday 20th of November


CAST 2: Thursday 21st of November

END OF YEAR PERFORMANCE:

CAST 1: Friday 29th of November


CAST 2: Saturday 30th of November

Our important dates page and google calendar are updated throughout the year to include things like; term dates, performance opportunities and mid-year concert. Check it out and sync your google calendar to ours so you never miss a reminder: https://mainstfunk.com/dates-events/

FRIENDLY REMINDER – MSF IS NOT A PLAY CENTRE 🙂

Please ensure your children are fully supervised when they are at the studio but not participating in a class. The lounge and foyer are not to be treated as a playground. Please do not run, cartwheel/flip, play on the stairs or climb on the furniture in our foyer and waiting areas. Over the past few weeks we have noticed a number of studio items damaged or missing as well as an increased mess (cushions have been thrown, water and soap spilled all over the bathroom, food scraps and rubbish over the floor) and the noise levels, from children playing and squealing, have increased to a level that is distracting our students and teachers. While we are pleased to offer you a comfortable place to wait, please treat our dancing home with the respect you have for your own home and remember that it is a shared space and is intended for comfortable waiting, not adventure.

STUDENT SAFETY

Please ensure you are walking your child from the car to the studio door when you drop them off and pick them up. As outlined in our child safety policy, students are not to walk through the thorough fair/car park on their own. Teen and Senior students, please walk together as a group to the gate and wait in the studio until you know your parents have arrived. Parents, we suggest you text your children when you are there. We don’t want students waiting outside in the dark. Thank you.

Wishing you all a fantastic and safe school holidays. We hope to see you all at our school holiday program, otherwise, we will see you all when classes resume on Tuesday, April 23rd.

Kristie, Carla and Chloe x

Please don’t ever hesitate to contact the MSF team should you have any questions.

E: mainstfunk@gmail.com PH: 0433220973

Make sure you’re following MSF on social media for daily updates, inspiration and friendship.www.facebook.com/mainstfunk | www.instagram.com/mainstfunk

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

January 2019

Hello and welcome back to another fabulous and funky year at Main St Funk. We are so pleased to see so many returning students and as equally excited to meet so many new students and their families. We are ready and roaring for a big year of dance and hope you are too. Here a few things to note as we kick off 2019.

When do classes commence for 2019?: We start back on Monday, Feb 4th.

What’s new in 2019?

  • A brand new age group! We now cater to children as young as 2.5 in our new Petite classes. Spread the word!
  • We welcome Tiana Lay from our Teen classes to the assistant teaching team. She has been dancing with MSF for nine years and makes a fabulous role model.

Location: Our address is 6/13 Lydia Court Epping 3076. We are located behind Bunnings on Cooper St.

Parking: MSF Students and parents are not permitted to park inside the complex. There is ample street parking available. We appreciate your co-operation with this as it helps us maintain a good relationship with our neighbouring tenants who need access to their car spaces at all times. When you park in their spots, we get in trouble. It is also a safety hazard for our students who walk up and down the thoroughfare, to have cars pulling in and out.

Uniform: Over the next few weeks please ensure your child is equipped with the correct dance attire and shoes as outlined on our uniform guideline here: https://mainstfunk.com/uniform-guidelines/

Parents:  Main St Funk do not allow spectators in the classroom except in the case of it being a child’s first class or if the teacher specifically invites the parents in. Please make use of our comfortable lounge area and tea and coffee facilities while you wait for your child to finish their class or you are welcome to drop and go. During your child’s first class with us you are welcome to watch but please ensure other siblings are supervised, phones are switched off and talking is kept to a minimum to limit distractions.

NO PHOTOS OR VIDEO POLICY: As per Main St Funk’s Child Safety Policy and Code of Conduct; parents, guardians, siblings and/or friends are not permitted to take photos or videos while class is in process. You are welcome to take photos of your child before or after class. The MSF code of conduct is agreed to upon enrollment. Please ensure you have read this: https://mainstfunk.com/code-of-conduct-child-safe-policy/

Fees: Term fees are due in the third week of each term and payable by online transfer, cheque or cash in a clearly labelled envelope. If paying online, ensure you put your child’s last name in the description.

Enrollment:  We are still accepting enrollments from new and returning Main St Funk students. If you haven’t enrolled or booked in for an obligation free trial class please do so asap on the parent portal. Many classes are already full with waiting lists but there is still lots of room for all of you. Enrol here: https://dancestudio-pro.com/online/mainstfunk

Important Dates: We are pleased to have locked in The Magis Theatre Loyola College (Watsonia) once again for our end of year performance and compulsory theatre rehearsal.  This year we will hold two concerts and two rehearsals. The school will be split into two casts – so each class will only perform in one concert ( and will be required for one rehearsal).  We will split the school later in the year when everyone has settled into their classes so please pencil in both concert dates and both rehearsal dates for now before we confirm which cast your child will be in. Senior and Teen students, you will perform in BOTH concerts. Petites will not perform in the concerts.

COMPULSORY THEATRE REHEARSAL: The rehearsal is the one and only compulsory event we run throughout the year and attendance is mandatory for all students who wish to participate in the end of year concert.

CAST 1: Wednesday 20th of November

CAST 2: Thursday 21st of November

END OF YEAR PERFORMANCE:

CAST 1: Friday 29th of November

CAST 2: Saturday 30th of November

Our important dates page and google calendar are updated throughout the year to include things like; term dates, performance opportunities and mid-year concert. Check it out and sync your google calendar to ours so you never miss a reminder: https://mainstfunk.com/dates-events/

Comp Crew: We are still taking expressions of interest to join our friendly and inclusive competition team. No auditions required. More info here: https://mainstfunk.com/crew-competition-team/

Social Media: Make sure you are following Main St Funk on Facebook and Instagram. We love to post daily to give you inspiration, a sneak peek into our classes and to stay connected with our dancing family.

www.facebook.com/mainstfunk

www.instagram.com/mainstfunk

The most important thing to remember this year is that Main St Funk students dance for fun and because they love it. We encourage an inclusive, harmonious environment where our students are dedicated to their class and committed to working to the best of their ability, as a team. We are proud of the way we have mastered the balance of working hard and having fun and we are happy to have each and every one of you on board for 2019.

We are so looking forward to seeing you in the studio for a big year that’s all about dance! If you have any questions please shoot us an email!

Kristie, Carla and Chloe. x

#BOYSDANCETOO – Why we choose to provide co-educational dance classes.

A wonderful thing is happening in suburban dance schools around Melbourne, and the world…more and more boys are taking dance classes! This is fantastic for the ever-growing dance industry but more so for the young males who will receive all the benefits that learning to dance has to offer. If you’re not sure of the benefits of dance here is a super quick summary:

  • Fitness and agility
  • Strength
  • Healthy muscles and bones
  • Confidence
  • Self-expression
  • Mental Strength
  • And more! The list is never-ending.

Slowly but surely the “girls do ballet and boys do football” stigma is being squashed and many parents are embracing dance as an engaging and beneficial way for their sons to release their never-ending energy, express themselves and have fun.

Once he has voiced an interest in dance and music, mum and dad usually set out on a hunt for a “Boys Only Hip Hop Class” and “Dance Classes for Boys”…. but why? In 2019 when the fight for equality is high and there is a strong push for embracing every individual and all of their quirks, and all stereotypes and stigmas are being thrown out the window, why do boys need a dance class all to themselves? At Main St Funk we say, they don’t. We pride ourselves on providing co-educational dance classes to boys and girls of all ages and experience levels, not just because we aim to be fair and equal but because there are clear benefits to both genders in a co-educational dance class environment.

So what are they?

  1. It builds trust, respect, and boundaries and prepares them for the future.
    Upon leaving the dance studio, your child will re-enter a world that is 50 percent female and 50 percent male. They will interact with the opposite gender for the most part of every day of their lives; school, work, friends, family, playgrounds, the shops…what benefit is there in separating them at dance class? Learning together in an intimate environment such as a dance studio allows both parties to gain a better understanding of each other. They will know how to speak appropriately to each other, they will learn to understand each individual’s boundaries and it will teach them to be more empathetic to the opposite gender. Learning together builds trust between the two genders and diffuses the idea that we should be wary of people who are different to us; no more “cooties” or “boy germs”. Dance class can often be a “hands on” environment, boys will learn how to treat and respect women, which is such an important quality today and one that all boys should be learning. 

  2. A career in dance means a career with girls.
    If your son’s love for dance develops so strongly that he decides to turn his passion into a career, he will have no choice but to dance with girls. Tertiary level full-time dance courses are typically not gender specific. Which means if your son was to further his training on a more professional level he would be spending close to 40 hours a week in a dance studio, with women. That would be a pretty big shock to the system for someone who has only danced in a male-only environment. What’s more, a lot of professional dance gigs are diverse in gender and if your son is not capable of working with female dancers, it could cost him a job, his reputation, and even his career.

  3. Partnerwork.
    As mentioned above, most performance opportunities, whether it be a  corporate gig or a role in a show, are co-gender. Many choreographers love to feature partner work and lifts (think the famous lift in Dirty Dancing). Older boys, in a co-educational dance class, will have the opportunity to learn partner work and add lifts to their lists of skills. If you can tell an audition panel that you are confident and familiar with safely performing lifts and stunts and dancing with a partner, you are already at an advantage and will stand out amongst dancers who do not share the same skillset as you.  This is also an advantage for female dancers. If there are males in your dance class, you have the opportunity to learn new skills and tricks that might not typically be available in an all-girl environment.

  4. Boys and girls learn from each other.
    Throughout my years as a dance teacher, I have experienced both co-ed and boys only classes. Generally speaking, the boys only classes were rowdier and less structured. Girls, on the other hand, are more naturally adapted to the structure and routine of a dance class, it’s in their nature. Even though the boy students so needed and would benefit from structure and routine, it was harder to implement into a class environment where the pack mentality was “it’s playtime”. In a co-ed environment, the students are influenced by the other children in the class. In particular, the boys gained a quicker understanding of the way a dance class is structured and why it is structured that way. When the rest of the class is following suit in warm up and activities and remembering choreography the boys caught on and did the same. They were still having fun but receiving the benefits of dance class much quicker! In the same way, girls are also influenced by male students. Boys bring the energy up and create a positive vibe in the studio, which as you’ve heard MSF teachers say before “energy is contagious” Boys are naturally brave and will give new steps or activities a go without much hesitation, this “go for it” attitude rubs off on the other students. Lots of boys love the opportunity to lead by example and be a role model. In a co-ed environment, they often rise to the challenge by setting a great example and encouraging their classmates. Voila! Now we have a high energy, productive class where kids are having fun and trying new things. Thanks, boys and girls!

  5. It promotes equality and fairness.
    Whether your child is male or female, young or old, beginner or advanced, at Main St Funk we treat all of our students as equals. We don’t want to tell boys that they can only participate in one particular style of class a week. We don’t want our female students to just accept that boys are entitled to a class that is exclusive and special just for them. Boys and girls, you are all important to us and we want you to feel comfortable in all of the many classes and opportunities we have available to you. And really, in 2019 when everyone is fighting for equality and acceptance, why are dance schools moving backward and continuing to segregate boys from girls? A good dance teacher should be able to cater to all of the individuals in the classroom and create a dynamic learning environment that benefits every student. It doesn’t matter if the class is co-educational or not, there will always be a variety of learning styles and personalities that the teacher needs to adapt to.

And so, the short version of this blog: “Why Should You Enrol Your Son Into A Co-Ed Dance Class?” A co-educational dance class will encourage your son to be a team player and to have a strong work ethic. Not only will he learn some killer dance moves but he will grow into a respectful, approachable and trustworthy young man who has an open mind and is prepared to live, work and dance in a diverse world where both genders play an important role.

During my time as a dance student I made many friends, lots of whom were male. So at the very least, a co-educational dance class might mean your child makes a few extra friends that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to.

Right now, your son is probably just dancing for fun and to let off some of that after-school steam but at Main St Funk we see the bigger picture.

By Chloe Jobson – Co-Owner at Main St Funk Dance School and dance teacher to boys and girls for over 12 years.

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.

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. 

10 Life Hacks To Stay Motivated During Winter (For Dance Kids and Parents!)

Winter is here! Tis the season for hot chocolates by the fireplace, early nights in, flannelette pajamas and electric blankets. Tis’ also the season when typically our enthusiasm for dance class, exercise and commitments in general begin to falter.  To ensure you get the most out of your dancing this year it is important to stay on top of things, even when a night in under the heater with mum’s best soup recipe is calling your name.

Here are 10 simple and easy life hacks to help dance students and dance parents stay motivated about coming to class during winter.

  1. CAR POOL: Just like having a gym buddy, if you’ve got a friend relying on you and keeping you accountable you’re less likely to be tempted to stay home under the blankets. Take it in turns with your trusted dance parent friend so that every second week you get the night off but your dancer still makes it to class.
  2. DON’T GO HOME: Pack all of your dancing clothes and shoes in the morning and leave them in the car. Head straight to dancing after school. This cuts out some travel time too!
  3. HOT FOOD: Snacks before and after dancing (or during if you’ve got a long night of classes) are important to fuel our bodies. Hot food like steamed veggies and soup are great ways to warm you up from the inside out and are super healthy. Cook up a big batch, label it “dancing food” and pop in the freezer, ready to heat up each dancing night. This is great for students and parents and siblings that might be waiting around at the studio.
  4. HOT DRINKS: Probably not suitable for during class but great for before and after. Herbal tea or hot water with lemon will warm you up, keep you hydrated and give you a natural energy boost before class. Mums and dads who wait around, treat yourself to a take away coffee or hot chocolate, fill up a thermos from home OR help yourself to the tea and coffee at the studio. Re-fills are encouraged!!!
  5. LAYERS: You can wear lots of layers and still be dressed appropriately for dance class. Fitted is best for ballet, contemporary and jazz AND it being close-fitting to your body, is actually warmer. EG: ballet stockings, leotard (long sleeve leo if you can!) leggings, ballet crossover or fitted long sleeve top, woolly ballet shrug, leg warmers! You can always remove layers as you warm up in class AND why not wear your track pants, ug boots and Main St Funk hoodie over the top for to and from class!? Little people, could even bring their pajamas to pop on after class. Then you can jump straight into your nice warm bed when you get home.
  6. BLANKETS: Dance studios are typically pretty cold if you are not the one dancing and working up a sweat. Mums, dads and kids that wait around, leave a little blanket or rug in the car to pop over your knees while you’re sitting at dancing.
  7. HOT SHOWERS: Yes, before class!! It will refresh your body and mind after a long day at school or work and warm and relax your muscles. Put your dancing gear on as soon as you get out of the shower.
  8. HEAT PACKS/WATER BOTTLES: Keep your hands, feet or wherever warm with a heat pack or hot water bottle while you are sitting around the studio. These are also great for relieving sore muscles and joints.
  9. DON’T BE LATE, BE EARLY!: Warming up at the start of class is always important but particularly during winter when our muscles have tightened in the cold and our bodies take a little  longer to warm up. If you can get to class early, start your own warm up. Star jumps and jogging on the spot are great ways to get to the blood pumping and spinal rolls to mobilise the spine.
  10. THINK AHEAD: Think about what missing a class might mean for you and your team. Typically, when a dance student starts to fall behind on choreography or work they start to become even less motivated to come to class and eventually it all becomes too much to try to catch up. Dancing is a team sport!!! Encourage each other, hold each other accountable and be a team player that your team mates can count on. We are all in this (crazy Melbourne weather) together! 

Looking forward to seeing you all in class, dancing away the winter blues. Do you have a life hack that keeps you motivated during winter? We would love to hear it and I’m sure our dancing family would too! 

By Chloe Jobson – Chronically “feels the cold” but has danced through many winters.

Dance VS Study

Why can’t we have both??

It’s a tale as old as time and it goes a little something like this: “I have decided to take a break from dance this year because I need to focus on my school work.” At first glance it appears this young student is making a wise, mature and grown up decision, one that I am sure would not have come lightly.  

Maybe this is a thought that has been niggling at your brain, maybe this is a decision you have already made or one that you are considering strongly. But who is it that made you believe that you couldn’t continue with dance while being so focused on your schooling? Your parents? Your school teachers? Your peers? Whoever they are, they have your best interests at heart. However, if you dig a little deeper you might find that if you decide to stick to your extra-curricular activities, it can only benefit you in the long run.

We all know the physical benefits of staying active rather than being cooped up inside, studying all day – and the psychological benefits of taking a breather and a moment to escape the stresses of senior level schooling by doing something creative and fun. But what else?…

It is said that VCE and high school are preparing the youth of today for the “real world”. A mythical place that secondary students are repeatedly told about and apparently only comes into existence when you finish Year 12. I have been living in this so called “real world” for 7 years now and it saddens me when I hear teenagers say that have been discouraged from continuing dance so they can focus solely on their studies, in preparation for what we think happens outside of the school grounds.

I wish more people were telling you what you CAN do, what you’re capable of and of the mountains that you can (and inevitably will one day have to) climb. Tackling school whilst staying committed to something you love is just a small mound compared to the obstacles you will jump in your lifetime.

The real world is an extremely exciting, wonderful place where dreams do come true if you work hard enough but it is also a place that is very, very, busy!

Deciding that you will pick one thing and one thing only to focus on forever, or for a year, is unfortunately not an option. The real world is quite the juggling act.

Upon leaving high school many of you will enter university or TAFE. Your new level of independence will mean that you will probably secure yourself a part time job. You might choose to move out of home to live closer to your new school. Your new group of friends means that your social calendar is booked out.

Suddenly, on top of your assignments and studying, you have to work and probably take on more shifts, you have to find time to cook, clean and pay bills and of course…exercise! Eventually you will land your dream, full time job, one that comes with this thing called “deadlines” and before you know it, you might be responsible for a family of your own, on top of all of that!

It sounds pretty daunting. But, if you’re someone who has decided to stick with your dance training or extra-curricular activities, you will be teaching your mind and body those awesome time-management skills that we so need to survive. You are well and truly ahead of the game.

You will be used to timetabling your week to include all of the important and fun things that you want to make time for. While your colleagues will tell you that they don’t have time to exercise or socialise, you already know that you are more than capable of putting aside a few hours a week to get moving and have fun.

The next time someone encourages you to quit something you love to focus on your school work “in preparation for the real world”, I want you to ask them what they do when they finish at their 9-5 job. My bet is that they have  families to look after, bills to pay, a hobby or two and a list of responsibilities they will tell you is a mile long.

Multi-tasking and time management are vital to our survival and they are not skills that magically appear when you step out of the school gates for the final time. They need to be taught and practiced (just like dance steps!)

If you love dancing and you want to continue with it and you want to smash your VCE scores too, you absolutely CAN do it all and if you put your heart and soul into it, in the passionate way that dancers are known for, you absolutely WILL succeed.

Just look at MSF co-founder Carla Jobson. Not only did she tackle VCE whilst staying committed to dance, she passed with a VCE enter score of 95.45 and was College Vice Captain, all in the same year.

Now Kristie and Carla share Main St Funk with their little sister (me) while they both maintain their passion for their “day-time careers” which they studied long and hard for (primary school teaching and digital consulting); they are both loving and committed mums and they still make time to stay fit and see their friends.

If they can do it, so can you! It’s ok to be passionate, driven and willing to succeed in more than just “one thing”. Who says you have to choose? Let’s show the real world what you’re made of!

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

P.S: If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed by your workload, why not chat to your dance teachers? They have been there and done that (and would probably do it all again if they were given the chance) and they are experts at making time, so they will always have time for you.

vcepic
A few of our gorgeous senior students. Some of  you have already completed your schooling and some of you are still going strong. Please know that no matter what choices you make or where life takes you, we will always be proud of you and there will always be a place for you at Main St Funk.