2020... What a year!
We started off the year with Professional Development. Our Team travelled to Melbourne for an action packed day of dancing at READY SET DANCE & READY SET BALLET Training. Then I travelled to Melbourne for ATOD Training and learnt all of the latest updates from examiners. Before classes commenced, we had our Team Training to bring it all together for the term.
We started the year with LOTS of preschoolers coming to our studio with their parents for Taster classes of READY SET DANCE & READY SET BALLET. All our hard work getting brand awareness was starting to pay off! We launched our concert theme and poster. Dancers were excited to prepare new routines and learn new syllabus.
In March I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the last few weeks of term I was watching the news closely and trying to navigate Covid updates for my business and attend appointments before I commenced treatment. Everyone’s world changed but one thing that didn’t’ change was cancer treatment and I was blessed with VIP Treatment.
We stayed connected to our SSD Family and tried to keep our students connected with tutorial videos, activities & a trivia night.
The work continued throughout lockdown while we prepared to re-open and create Covid Safe plans before they were a requirement.
In Term 3 we counted down to re-open and re trained staff on our new requirements. We were so excited and we had the BEST time back in the studio! Enrolments were down, but preschool classes continued to grow. My TEAM did an amazing job, we had to work as a team more than ever and employ extra staff to ensure our students were safe. We were SO PROUD of our dancers and GRATEFUL of our parents who all complied so well to all of our new policies and procedures.
3 weeks later we were shutdown again and I CRIED! I was ok with the breast cancer diagnosis (well there were a few days of tears but I knew it would be ok) and I was ok with the first lockdown (I had bigger things to deal with). But this time, I hit the wall and could not see any light at the end of the tunnel for a day or so. Our dancers were SO HAPPY to be back at the studio and to take that away from them again broke my heart! I started to doubt the future viability of my business. Onwards and upwards though, I was able to attend a Convention in the USA virtually as everyone switched to online! There was plenty of opportunities to learn.
During the first lockdown, many of my friends pivoted straight to zoom classes but I had my health to focus on. This time, I decided we need to start Zoom classes for those who wanted them. We had a great response from our preschool parents who loved watching their child doing READY SET DANCE & READY SET BALLET at home! Hannah keeping them entertained was a huge win for them. Annaleise was a pro at Zoom as she had been teaching on zoom in Melbourne since March. She was the perfect person to teach us the ropes and run zoom classes for our school aged children in a variety of styles. The kids loved dancing but they loved talking to their teacher and dance friends. We all needed each other’s support!
During lockdown we watched the news updates daily and the Dance Industry was not being recognised. Our Dance Industry united to form Dance Arts Alliance and have a voice in government. We wrote to every member of parliament, lobbying media and made sure our voices were heard! I was undergoing chemotherapy and had no ambition to be in the media but if that was what it took to save my business and let kids dance again that is what I had to do! We made progress and the Premier actually mentioned dance schools and we were added to the road map to re-open earlier than previously listed with brothels!!!
This time for re-opening a Covid safe plan was a legal requirement. We were ahead of the game and already had our systems in place. We needed to update them with the latest government requirements, hold another Team Training and we were ready to go! We were so relieved to be able to re-open for 7 weeks. It meant we almost spent Christmas with our dance friends for the first time which was fun! Theatres were still closed so we created performance videos for each class to give dancers something new to work towards and a memory to keep as a gift to our parents who stuck with us.
One thing is for sure, we will never take dance classes and our SSD Family for granted again!
Personally, I completed my 10 months of treatment and I want to thank everyone for their wonderful support. I was very lucky to have a good prognosis and no illness or extra visits to hospital throughout my treatment. A special mention must go to our parents who supported us without you we would not have this wonderful community! Thankyou to my colleagues who banded together to give advice, share resources and be there for each other during the most challenging time for their business. My Team of teachers who adapted amazingly, with a smile and brought the studio back to life! My students, for those who didn’t return this year, we missed you and really hope to see you next year. For those who danced, thankyou! We can’t wait to see you again in February!
2020 was certainly memorable for us all. Let’s hope & pray that 2021 is much smoother and we can celebrate our 30th Birthday with students returning to the SSD, continuous classes, a joy filled studio & the BEST CONCERT EVER at Ulumbarra Theatre in November!
Much love, Sharon xx
And that's a WRAP on 2020!!!
After our most challenging year both personally and as a business owner, we're taking some time out to refresh and prepare to celebrate our 30th Birthday together in 2021!
Our Office will be closed from 5.00pm today until Monday 11th January 2021!
Online enrolments remain open with our timetable and full details available on our website and by registering for an information pack for our after school classes or READY SET DANCE program.
Term 1 commences on Monday February 1.
Stay tuned for booking details for Free READY SET DANCE & READY SET BALLET taster classes on January 31.
Wishing you all a safe and merry Christmas
ANNOUNCING THE AUSMUMPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS!
Tonight READY SET DANCE won 4 major awards in this prestigious competition, celebrating mums in business.
1. Best Customer Service Award
2. Best Product Award
3. Business Excellence Award
And the big one ....
4. AusMumpreneur of the Year Award!
Thank you to all who voted for us and for the support of our STUDIO OWNERS & TEACHERS who deliver our program every day to preschoolers across Australia and New Zealand!
A huge thank you to our musical wizard Sean!
Enormous gratitude to Des, who helped us take our business to the next level!
To Ben, Hugh and Jaq, who believed in 5 mumpreneurs and helped us turn our class program into a TV Show that shares the magic of dance with girls and boys every day on Nick Jr., 10 Peach and soon 10 Shake!
Thank you to Katy and Peace for giving mums a wonderful platform to celebrate their business wins and success. To all the finalists and award winners tonight, congratulations! You are all so inspiring!
To our amazing families; thank you for all you do and for your unconditional love and support.
To our children; you are our WHY, and our inspiration to start this business.
Bel, Jade, Nat, Glenda, Cil x
Collaboration is the new competition
January saw us preparing for an action packed year as a Team. Firstly, I flew to Sydney for the day to escort 5 of our preschoolers who were chosen to dance on TV screens throughout the world on Nick Jnr! Then I headed to Melbourne for READY SET DANCE training with Jo. The day is always a highlight and we are so lucky to be a valued member of the RSD community who are so supportive and motivated to deliver the best classes possible for the next generation of dancers! Jo attended RAD Conference, Shaping Bodies, Shaping minds which looked deeper into teaching ballet and individual needs of students. Then I headed back to Melbourne for ATOD Training which is always a wonderful day learning from examiners and teachers. Our teachers then met for Team training as we do each term to ensure we are all delivering the best experience we can and creating memories for families but most of all having a positive impact on student’s lives.
Term 1 started with lots of joy and excitement and lovely weather. It was wonderful to see so many returning students and new families who settled in beautifully. My teachers did a fantastic job and all students gained new skills and confidence. We launched our 2020 concert theme - Step Back in Time and had fun dressing up as always.
How quickly life can change! Now is the time for us all to spend time with families and slow down for a while. Life gets too busy and I am sure we are all going to come out the other end with a whole new perspective and appreciation for the things we currently take for granted. Simple things, like seeing your dance friends each week are so important.
As per government guidelines our studio has closed until further notice. During that time we will continue to connect with our SSD community through our RSD Parents Facebook group and our Band app (for school aged classes). Please make sure you are in those groups as we are sharing many free resources to students which include dance classes to keep them active. None of us know when we will be able to resume business and we may need to adjust our plans along the way but know that as always we will work behind the scenes to prepare and we will keep you informed. We can’t wait to hear the sounds of families back in the dance studio!
As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with Breast cancer recently and am recovering from surgery. I will commence treatment soon. I guess I am lucky the break will give me more time to focus on my recovery and heal. Thankyou all for your love and prayers, they mean the world to me and my family. Please take care of yourselves and keep me smiling by sharing your photos and videos on our Facebook page or in our App.
Sharon Saunders Dancers were finalists in the READY SET DANCE Awards at their Conference in Sydney on the weekend.
They were thrilled to be finalists in 3 Awards chosen from over 200 Dance Studios throughout Australia & New Zealand.
READY SET DANCE Regional Studio of the year
READY SET BALLET Studio of the year
READY SET BALLET Teacher of the year (Hannah McBain)
They didn’t win any of their categories but Principal, Sharon Saunders was announced the recipient of the Gold Twirl Award which was a people’s choice award chosen by her colleagues. READY SET DANCE is a pre school dance program. Their aim is to get preschoolers moving and focuses on the 3 C’s- Coordination, Creativity & Confidence.
Photo: Sharon Saunders with ‘Freeze’ & ‘Twirl’ from Nick Jnr. TV show READY SET DANCE.