Well, with nearly all of us confined to our houses, I bet you are just about sick of hearing about online subscriptions, at-home workouts, and “our response to covid-19”. But, I am going to test your patience here and keep talking to you about online dance classes. I know I am on thin ice but don’t worry, I promise not to mention the words “unprecedented times”…
Last week Main St Funk announced the launch of our brand new online dance program “MSF Live Online”. As far as small-businesses-adapting-and-moving-to-the online-platform-during-a global-pandemic goes, you could say that we were a little late to the party. This is because we wanted to be sure this was the right move for our students and for our business. We wanted to be sure we could deliver an online dance program that was safe, effective, worthy of your time and money, and mirrors the culture and community of our school.
Whilst we have had a lot of interest and support from our community, we also know, that with the current information overload we are all experiencing, we wouldn’t blame you if you briefly glanced at the information about online classes and thought “ugh, this all too hard.” We can understand why you might feel overwhelmed and under enthused about adapting and changing yet another aspect of yours and your child’s life. Trust us when we say we understand and that we feel exactly the same way. We even considered for a minute, not offering online classes and instead, waiting out this storm and returning to the studio to teach when it was safe to do so.
When we decided to push aside our own doubts and fears, which were mostly personal and not related to the school (so likely what you are feeling now) we explored what the benefits of providing online classes would be. Yes, for us as a business but mostly how we would be impacting our community. So if you’re unsure, just like we were, about pursuing a dance education online, here are just a few reasons to give it a go.
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: This one is the most obvious and probably doesn’t need to be said but exercise and staying active is important for not only physical health but mental health and emotional wellbeing too. The department of health recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day for children aged 5-17 years of age. We know lots of our students usually participate in weekly swimming lessons, sport games, and training, gymnastics, and P.E class at school, all on top of their weekly dance classes. Children who are usually so active will need to maintain as much as their routine exercise as they can to ensure they don’t lose their fitness or skills.
- A SENSE OF NORMALITY AND ROUTINE: Children thrive off routine and structure and in fact, so do many adults. Whilst in isolation, it’s important to maintain as much structure as possible, and scheduling your usual weekly dance class will help with this. You may also find when the social distancing directives are lifted and we can return to the studio, that your child is more mentally prepared to return to dance class then they would be if they had spent months not participating in a class.
- IT ENSURES THEY WON’T FALL BEHIND: While Main St Funk won’t be working on concert work, we will continue to build on our technique, skills, musicality, and confidence. Dancers are known for their determination and work ethic. They owe it to themselves to not only continue with their growth and improvement but to also maintain the skillset they have already built. Not participating in the class does not only mean they miss out on “what’s next” but an extended period of time without dance can mean a loss of strength, flexibility, and technique. Just think how you feel when you miss a week or 2 of going to the gym.
- THEY WILL FEEL CONFIDENT RETURNING TO CLASS: Missing class for an extended period of time can dampen confidence and self-esteem. Returning to the studio after weeks or months of not dancing can be daunting or stressful. If your child participates in online classes they will feel ready to return to the studio, knowing that they haven’t missed out.
- IT TEACHES THEM TO BE ADAPTABLE: It is such an important life skill to be able to say “the show will go on!” when life throws you a curveball. Our students will come out of this situation strong, versatile, and adaptable, knowing that there is always a plan B.
- IT TEACHES THEM TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING: What a great opportunity to take ownership of their motivation and energy. Dragging yourself off the couch and switching from “free time mode” to “dance mode” takes real strength. Being a self-motivator is a great skill to have and one that builds up over time. After this experience, your child will be further motivated to practice dancing at home because they are familiar, comfortable, and well-practiced in doing so.
- IT KEEPS THEM CONNECTED: We hold a strong reputation for the community and family feel that runs throughout our school. Every student is valued, special, and is an important member of our dancing family. The friendships created in the studio are their own kind of special. Dialing into class each week will help your child feel connected to our community, will further develop their sense of belonging, and will help them maintain the beautiful friendships they have built at dancing as well as their relationship with their dancing teacher.
- DANCING IS THEIR HAPPY PLACE: Dancing brings joy! Our students have already sacrificed so much of what makes them happy already, birthday parties, school, seeing friends, visiting family and grandparents, trips to the movies… by providing online dance classes we are ensuring there is just one less thing they have to give up. We hope that not only will we be assisting in continue your child’s growth and education, but that we will be supporting their happiness too.
It is hard to believe that we ever considered not offering online dance classes as an option when the benefits of doing so are undeniable. In this trying time, offering online dance classes at an affordable, discounted rate is our way of supporting our community and our students. We understand that you might find this new concept a little overwhelming, so we are here to help you through it. If you have any questions or need help setting up your tech or dance space. Please get in touch so that we can continue to support you and your children. Dancing is our happy place and that doesn’t have to change. The studio may be closed but our school is still open! We are working harder than ever to keep delivering the joy of dance.
To sign up to an obligation free trial class of our online classes, click here: https://dancestudio-pro.com/online/mainstfunk
P.S We know that participating in our online classes will not be a possibility for all of our students. If you just read this blog and are now worried because your child will be missing out, don’t worry! We understand and we haven’t forgotten you. We have a series of free pre-recorded practice videos available on Vimeo and we will continue to keep your child engaged with free and fun online activities. There are benefits in taking time off too, so please make a decision that is best for your family. We look forward to welcoming you back to class at the studio, with open arms, when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
Attention all little MSF kids with itchy feet and ants in their pants…
Our gorgeous and clever assistant teacher Summer (who is only 11 years old!!!) has created an online dance tutorial just for you!
This class is suitable for all Petite, Mini, and Tiny dancers.
We recommend setting it up on the tv or a large PC screen, making sure your dancer has lots of space and we encourage mums, dads, and siblings, to join in too.
We would love to show Summer some photos or videos of the MSF kids taking her class so please send them through OR why not write Summer a thank-you letter or draw her a picture.
We are so very lucky to have such clever, innovative and thoughtful students like Summer, a dance teacher in the making!
P.S Please note the youtube links are set to “private” so you will not be able to search for these videos on Youtube. Make sure you save the links in case your little dancer wants to dance with Summer again and again.
Have fun everyone! xx
EPISODE 1 – BALLET PART 1: https://youtu.be/XG3BxugIDSo
EPISODE 2 – BALLET PART 2: https://youtu.be/Ox1kZg6iz-E
EPISODE 3 – HIP HOP PART 1: https://youtu.be/7QPL7p4d3k4
EPISODE 4 – HIP HOP PART 2: https://youtu.be/G1Dj1J2rRsc
Hi Dance Fam,
We hope you are well and staying safe (and sane!) and are adjusting to our new normal.
As promised, we have a range of activities planned to help keep The MSF kids active, engaged and dancing away the boredom.
Please find attached our Active April calendar. There is a different challenge or activity planned for every day of the month!
Feel free to print it out and get the whole family involved.
We would love to see your kids having a blast and trying new things so please take photos and videos and tag us when posting to Facebook, Instagram, and your stories, using the tag @mainstfunk #MSFathome. If you don’t have social media, please feel free to email us instead.
The first challenge is “re-design the MSF t-shirt.” Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox for a t-shirt template coming your way.
This is just the beginning, we have MUCH more planned and while we are missing our gorgeous students, we are excited to stay connected with you all and to keep the fun going.
Dancing is our happy place and with the studio temporarily closed, that does not have to change.
Keep dancing dance fam, keep in touch and keep looking after each other.
The MSF Team xx
What does it mean when we call you our “Dance Family”?
Over the years, or weeks if you are brand new, you might have heard us refer to Main St Funk as our “Dance Family”. This might mean a lot to you, to know that you are so valued in our community that we consider you, family, or, maybe you’ve just signed up and the phrase doesn’t hold much meaning yet. But why are we a “dance family”?
Back in 2007, when MSF was first opened by sisters Kristie and Carla, we were a small school with about 50 kids. Classes were held in one big room, separated by just a partition. Kristie would teach on one side and Carla on the other. Little sister Chloe was a student and an assistant teacher. Everything we did, we did together.
Routines were choreographed and practiced in the lounge room, weekends were spent shopping for costumes, late nights were spent editing music and staff meetings and brainstorming happened around the dinner table. Our family members jumped on board to volunteer their time and get involved with every new project we started; Photos and DVDs (which we used to shoot and edit ourselves, what!?), costume sewing and performance days. Everything was a family affair and it still is! Our mum, dad, sister Bianca, our partners, and our children, all live and breathe Main St Funk, almost as much as we do.
It has always been about teamwork. It didn’t matter who taught what class, we were always stepping in to help each other with new ideas and advice. Like sisters do, sometimes we disagreed or told it like it was but we knew that we always had each other’s back and best interest of the MSF kids at heart. That kind of love carried over to our “studio” and classes.
We didn’t hide behind a professional face. We were always genuinely and proudly ourselves, three sisters working together. We treated our students with the same respect, kindness, and honesty that we gave each other. Sometimes that meant being a should to cry on, sometimes that meant giving out some tough love.
The feedback that we started to receive was that MSF students felt so included and welcomed, that we had created such a safe space and that we were “different” from the other activities that the kids participated in each week.
But why were we different??
It was only years later that we could put our finger on what it was. It was because we are family. Our students and the entire school, are an extension of us. You are our “dance family”.
So much is different now, 14 years later and you might have noticed our family members now far exceed that right-knit little group of 50 we once were. But please know, our sentiment is still the same. We are still that shoulder to cry on, that little dose of tough love when you need it, voices of reason if you ask for it and we are always here to listen. We will continue to be genuine, honest and grounded. We have learned a lot over the years, but we are still those same three sisters.
Whether you are an OG member or you just signed up today, we hope you know that you are so valued, that we welcome your conversation, we care about your wellbeing and even though we are welcoming new family members every day so far these holidays, you are more than just a number to us.
So when you hear or read us referring to MSF as our dance family, please know that we don’t take that phrase lightly.
It is not a marketing strategy, it is not a “slogan” and it’s not something that dance schools say, just because!
It is the culture of our school, the backbone that has driven us this far and will continue to do so, it is a feeling amongst our students that grew organically over time and with a bit of TLC and a lot of hard work, it grows stronger and more prominent every year.
Past and present students, as we say goodbye to another year, we thank you for being apart of our journey and hope to see you in 2020.
With love to you, our dancing family, forever and always!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
For more trips and tricks about being an epic dance parent, have a read here: https://mainstfunk.com/2018/05/09/how-to-dance-mum/
By Chloe Jobson – Co-Owner at Main St Funk Dance School Epping
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
- Healthy muscles and bones
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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!
- 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.
Concert season is here and with it comes costumes, glitz and glam, many many emails and pre-performance butterflies! To ensure your experience is a positive one, it’s important to be organised. Here are a few life hacks to take your concert day organisation to the next level and help your time at the theatre run smoothly.
- CHECKLISTS: Main St Funk will send you a concert day kit list shortly (most dance schools will do this but if they don’t, make your own.) It should include absolutely everything you will need on concert day from costume items, stockings, hair pieces and more. Print this off and cross off each item as you pack them. Pack everything the night before or even a few days before to ensure the morning of your concert is not a mad scavenger hunt. It’s a good idea to have a list of your dances in order, refer to this as you pack and take it with you to the theatre so that you always know what you’re doing next.
- PACK YOUR COSTUMES IN A TUB, IN SEPARATE SNAPLOCK BAGS AND IN ORDER: Buy a box of extra large snaplock/sandwich bags next time you are at the supermarket. Neatly pack each costume (in its entirety) into its own snaplock bag. Once you know your concert dance order, label each bag “1, 2 or 3”. Stick a checklist (more lists!) of that costume on the front of the snaplock bag so that you know what needs to go in there and what needs to come out. Use a tub instead of a bag to store all of your costumes. This will mean you can neatly pile your snaplock bags into the tub in order of the show. Your last dance will be on the bottom and your first dance on top. This will save you from emptying and rummaging through your bag during the backstage rush!
- SPARES: You can never have too many spares! Have a backup of everything where possible but in particular; dance stockings/tights. These tear easily, especially when you are in a rush so make sure you have an extra pair. Check that your spare does not have any holes or rips before you pack them – don’t waste time putting on a pair of tights only to have to take them off again. For younger students, it’s a great idea to pack a spare pair of underwear as well. Nerves can do funny things to our bodies and minds, so it is good to be prepared for little accidents. Even if little accidents are not typical of your child!
- PIN + UNPIN: Safety pins and bobby pins are your best friend on concert day. Buy them in bulk and pack them ALL. Then pack some more! You can never have too many. Most costumes include a hat or headpiece that will need to be securely pinned to your head. Before packing your headpiece, attach about 6 bobby pins to it. This will mean you won’t be rummaging around for pins between dances. Do this for ALL of your headpieces. If there is an item of your costume that needs to be safety pinned, such as an accessory or a strap, pin it into place before concert day. This means you can just get dressed without needing to fiddle and adjust your costume. When you come off stage, start unpinning headpieces, straps etc. as you walk calmly back to the dressing room.
- SHOES: Firstly, don’t forget to pack them! It is both laughable and frightening how easily performers forget about their shoes. Wear your hip hop sneakers to the theatre, one less thing to pack! Replace your laces with black elastic, this means you can easily slip your shoes on and off quickly. For little kids, label shoes left and right to save confusion. BONUS TIP: Ballet dancers, clean your ballet shoes with pink calamine lotion (yes, the stuff you use for chicken pox) to make your shoes look brand new and scuff free for the concert.
- STAY CALM AND STAY IN YOUR ZONE: On concert day we need to move quickly, quietly and calmly. The dressing room can become a crowded and noisy place so it is important to stay focused and move with a sense of urgency. Panic is contagious, so if one person starts to yell or run, soon the whole class will be in a flap. Don’t waste your energy on getting worked up about finding your shoes or costume item or headpiece, you know that it is packed into your allocated snap lock bag. That square on the floor where you’ve placed your tub is your zone! The minute you start overflowing into someone else’s zone, that’s when things get lost. Keep your items contained and pack up as you go. What comes out of a bag must go back in. This means that you will be just as organised and prepared for your second concert as you were for your first AND it will make for a quick exit at the end of a long day.
- TIME: Always know what your call time to the theatre is and then aim to be early. Allow time for traffic, accidents, getting lost on the way to somewhere new and finding a park.
- RELAX, BUT NOT YET: Even if you have a long time between dances, don’t sit down until you are ready and organised for your next item. This will allow for little mix-ups, like if you have misplaced an item or you need help to pin something. You don’t want to be doing those things in a mad rush right before you hit the stage. Also, you never know what could happen on concert day. Your dance teachers may need to you to take to the stage earlier than expected, always be prepared!
- WORK AS A TEAM: At Main St Funk we use the buddy system to promote teamwork, independence and to help take the pressure off. Never think twice about helping your friend into or out of their costume and never think twice about asking for help. Be there for each other. Team work makes the dream work.
- PRACTICE: Practice your choreography before you hit the stage to ensure you are performing with full confidence! You can also practice your stage makeup and concert day hair leading up to the show. Each time you do it, the better you will get.
At the end of the day, performing is supposed to be fun and a celebration of all of your hard work. While preparing and organising yourself before the show might seem tedious and boring it will ensure that you have a fabulous time at the concert. We don’t want to taint your time at the theatre with the stress of a forgotten costume or arriving late. Also, remember that no matter how prepared you are, sometimes things happen that are out of your control. Take a deep breath, shoulders back and know that the show will go on.
Main St Funk wishes you the most wonderful concert season full of checklists, snaplock bags, sparkles and lots of smiling faces.
Stay tuned for your concert day kitlists and call times, thank you for being organised!
By Chloe Jobson – MSF Co-Owner.
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.
Uh oh… Your son or daughter, who absolutely loves dancing, has come out of class looking frustrated and upset. You ask them what’s wrong and they mutter the words no parent wants to hear…
“My teacher is picking on me!”
Your heart sinks. Your mind races and your inner mama-bear gets ready to roar and jump to your child’s defense.
Well hang on a sec, hold your horses. Let’s think logically and figure out exactly what your darling dancer means. In the playground at school, if someone is being “picked on” it generally means that another individual is going out of their way to annoy or tease or bully this person. This kind of behavior is deliberate with the intent to upset the other person.
In my years of dance teaching, I am yet to come across another teacher or principal who has taken such a dislike to a student that they would put so much time and energy into making that child upset.
A dance teacher is generally somebody who is very passionate about dance and who equally loves working with children, they may even have their own! Dance teachers are joyous, energetic people. They have taken an active interest and invested their time and energy into the growth and development of your child and the hundreds of children that they will meet in their dance teaching career. They are one of the lucky few whose passion and career came together. It would be a bit out of character if they started “picking” on children now, wouldn’t it?
What your child probably means is, they often hear the teacher say their name in class. This is actually a positive thing and great teachers make a conscious effort to say every single student’s name multiple times a lesson so they feel included in the class and important to their teacher. Your child might feel like their name is the only one being called out but that is likely because they are only tuned in to hearing their own name and not their classmates.
But why do they keep getting called upon? Here are some reasons your child might be being “picked on” by their teacher.
- CORRECTIONS: It doesn’t matter if your child wants a career in dance or comes to class for fun. A teacher’s job is to TEACH dance. This means correcting mistakes so that your child, the student, can LEARN. It is important the teacher corrects mistakes so that your child can progress and make improvements week to week. It also helps to reduce the risk of injury when your teacher makes a correction on your child’s technique. Often, it would not be safe for a student to continually perform something incorrectly. Sometimes these corrections can be generalized to the whole class however, often children are progressing at different rates and need and deserve individualised attention from their teacher. They also pay attention and remember corrections more when they are directed to them and not the whole class. An example of what your child might hear is: “Stretch those feet Sally”, “Don’t forget to bend your knees before you jump Tess” OR “Mary, keep in time with the music”. If your child says they are being “picked on” they are probably just receiving corrections which is a positive thing and means they are learning. If your child’s maths teacher asked them what 2+2 is and your child answered 5, their maths teacher is going to correct them. Are they being “picked on” or is Mr. Maths doing his job?
- “MY TEACHER YELLS AT ME”: There is probably some truth to that. Sometimes the teacher will give their students corrections in a quiet and gentle manner. Other times they need to be firm and direct, so that the students understand the importance. Being loud or changing their tone of voice will emphasise the key points they want their students to remember. In general, dance teachers are loud and excitable people. If your dance teacher yells, it is because they are extremely passionate and they are trying to get all of the energy, excitement and joy they feel out of their bodies and into their students! Also remember that quite often in a dance class environment, the teacher will be competing with loud music, chatty kids, the air-con or fans and even tap shoes, so they may yell or talk loudly because they want your child to hear and understand them. A dance teacher who yells is a dance teacher who cares. The important thing to remember is that they are not yelling AT your child but out towards the whole class so that everybody can hear them.
- POTENTIAL: Perhaps your child is progressing just that little bit faster than their classmates and has moved beyond the generalised corrections that are given to the whole class. Perhaps their teacher recognises your child’s potential and wants to give them a challenge. Your child might say “Miss Chloe keeps telling me to kick my legs higher and keep my back tall but she never tells my friend Alice!” Well, Alice might not be up to that. Alice might still be focusing on stretched feet and knees and your child has already shown improvements in that area and is ready for more. If your child isn’t given corrections or being “picked on” in their words, they might become bored at dance because they don’t feel challenged.
- YOUR CHILD IS DISTRACTED: There is so much stimulation in the dance room; loud music, their favourite songs, their dance friends, pretty pictures on the wall, students coming and going. Your child might get caught up in a conversation with their classmates or be thinking about what’s for dinner or how much homework they have to do when they get home. A good dance teacher can always tell when a student isn’t focused or not listening. The teacher might say your child’s name or speak to them directly to bring their focus back to the dance class.
- POOR BEHAVIOR: Yes, maybe your child’s behaviour is not perfect all the time. This doesn’t mean that they are a bad kid, a terrible dancer or that their teacher doesn’t like them. While dancing is fun, it comes with a set of rules and disciplines. Respect needs to be shown to the teacher, the dance room and their classmates. This means being polite, not talking while the teacher is addressing the class or the music is on, not “playing” during class and wearing the correct uniform. Dance class is about so much more than just learning steps and tricks. Your child will learn social skills, work ethic and the importance of teamwork. When your child misbehaves or doesn’t adhere to the classrooms set rules, their teacher will pull them up. They might say “Lisa, where is your uniform today?” “Please don’t speak while I do Matthew” or “Erin, the dance studio is not a playground, please don’t run around.” The teacher may say these gently at first but if they need to remind your child repeatedly, it may be necessary to be firm. Dance class is a structured activity that can take children a little while to adjust to. It is quite normal for kids to slip up and forget the rules and get carried away having fun with their friends, so don’t stress too much if you think this might be the case. If the dance teacher believes your child’s behaviour has become too disruptive or dangerous for dance class, they will have a private conversation with you about addressing this behaviour at home. Until then, just leave it to the pros.
When I was a student, I like many others, complained that I was “picked on” by my teachers. Every class there was correction after correction, nothing was ever perfect. I viewed this as a negative thing. That was until I entered a class where I was completely ignored. Made to feel invisible for 1.5 hours a week, every week. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just negligence but now when I take class, I appreciate every correction directed to me and the whole class and I ask for more if I feel like I’m not getting enough. When I’m teaching, I attempt to make sure every student knows that I can see them and that I care by giving encouraging, constructive and individual attention to each of my students. This principle is instilled in each of the Main St Funk teachers. Without it being actively enforced, the MSF team are naturally invested into every single student that walks through our studio doors.
It is well-known that dancers are some of the most mentally strong and resilient athletes and it all starts at their very first dance class. So next time your child thinks that they are being picked on, dig a little deeper. They might just be super lucky and have an awesome dance teacher. Someone who is passionate, someone who cares and someone who believes in your child because behind every great dancer is a dance teacher who picked on them.
By Chloe Jobson.