An Illawarra dance studio encouraging parents to join their children's online dance lessons at home is getting a huge response.
Jodie-Lee Vogel, who runs JLDance Company studios in Dapto and Vincentia, wanted to stay connected with her students and keep her dance teachers in their roles during lockdown.
Like other dance studios across the region, she introduced classes via Zoom for her students.
"We stuck to our normal timetable for classes to keep the children in the same routine so they are a little less affected by this whole situation," Ms Vogel said.
But then she took it a step further and decided to invite other family members to join in at home.
The challenge was quickly accepted by parents and siblings alike.
"We had dads doing ballet and mums doing hip-hop classes," Ms Vogel said.
"It came at a time when I know some families were starting to feel the impact of being isolated at home."
In the Freebairn household, dad John attempted ballet while mum Rachel tried everything her daughter Maggie does, from jazz to contemporary and tap.
Their eldest son, Thomas, who plays rugby league for the North Sydney Bears, sweated through a technique, strength and stretch class with his girlfriend Kirsty McRae.
Thomas tried really hard to not let his little sister Maggie get the better of him, but to no avail.
Youngest son, Harry, who plays for the North Brisbane Devils, enjoyed hip hop and discovered how good it was for retaining his fitness. He also described it as great fun..
Mrs Freebairn said the whole family discovered dance was more challenging and physical than they had realised.
They all have a new appreciation for what Maggie does every week and are throwing out the challenge to other families to give it a go.
"It is really tiring if you ask me. I don't know how our daughter does it all," Mrs Freebairn said.
"Maggie thought it was great having everyone in the family try and follow her lead.
"I got some good laughs and took videos of everything. I will definitely be bringing those out on future birthdays and I might even send them to the football coaches."
Mr Freebairn said ballet was very hard and definitely not for him.
Maggie used everyone's participation and appreciation as inspiration for her creation for the JLDance Easter Hat Parade.
And as for who she thought the next best dancer in the family was, Harry definitely had the most fun.
Ms Vogel said the participation of families such as the Freebairns had also been really uplifting for all the teachers at JLDance.
"It has been an emotional time for us but our team has united together to step up to the challenge and rise above this," she said.
JLDance generally closes for the school holiday break but the teachers are busy preparing new experiences and challenges for Term 2.
Families who used their time together over the long weekend to contribute to the dance school's annual Easter Hat Parade are being encouraged to post photos and videos on Facebook.
Some of the students were sad about not being able to do their regular parade at school so JLDance decided to run a virtual parade online and offered a prize.
"It has been a fabulous bonding experience for all," Ms Vogel said.
"We know at times like this it is tough for everyone and we believe it's important to stay connected with our dancers and their families".
The JLDance team is also looking forward to families posting videos of their dance experiences together in the lead up to Term 2 when the Dapto and Vincentia studio timetables have been amalgamated to allow more students to meet, form friendships and motivate each other.
"It is important as a dance community to support each other and create normalcy in our students' routines, to keep our teachers in their roles and to keep the studio alive," Ms Vogel said.
"And we have asked international and nationally recognised choreographers to create video tutorials for our dancers so they can learn from some of the best in the industry while they are home.
"We are looking forward to using this time to create some opportunities of a lifetime for our young dancers. We want to create some inspiring moments for them".
The Illawarra Mercury has launched a Taking Care of Business campaign.
Each day we will highlight a local business who is adapting or evolving to be able to keep operating under these trying times.
If you know of a business adapting, please send us an email titled Taking Care of Business to email@example.com.
We have also put a call out and will run a list of cafes, restaurants and clubs who are offering takeaway or delivery on our Facebook page. If you know of an outlet now offering home delivery or takeaway, please let us know and add it to the list.
Here is more about the campaign:
- When COVID-19 forced one family business to close they made 5000 meals for the homeless
- Country Grocer says thank you to health workers with free coffee
- New same day contact-free alcohol delivery starts
- Facebook foodie group 'Illawarra Menus' racks up 20,000 followers in six days
- Liquor and Gaming Authority allows Grill'd to deliver beer or wine with meals
- How to plan a wedding in 23 hours because of COVID-19
- Wollongong's Deli and Dine on Market offers grazing boxes
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