My journey with the Hub started through a conversation I had with a close friend suggest I take private dance lessons with the “Dance Monkeys” to work on my Salsa technique. So off I went and contacted one of the “Monkeys” and organised my very first private with Nathan Thorneycroft.

I still remember my first lesson, it was a crazy hot summer’s day and I was lost (typical me) and finally locating the studio after a frantic phone call I was greeted by a warm and friendly face followed by an hour of fun, technique and dancing. In the following weeks not only did we concentrate on my footwork but Nathan also acted as a life coach, building on my confidence and encouraging me to social dance and even suggesting joining a dance crew, “Epic”.

What?? Perform?? umm… no I’m not a dancer or good enough to be in a “crew”…Are you crazy?” and without any hesitation Nathan smiled and said “You will be fine, give it a go!” and so I thought about it, took a deep breath and said “what have I got to lose?” and joined my first Tuesday class.

Not only did I not lose anything, but I gained a whole lot and then some. I was introduced to a friendly and enthusiastic group of Hub students that were mostly new dancers (who have since become good friends), different dance styles, including Hip Hop, Cha Cha, Rumba, Urban style Salsa, Bachata and Contemporary and two other equally as talented dance instructors – Monkey No. 2 – Brooke Gittings and Dumpling loving, Hip Hop dance choreographer extraordinaire – JC Reyes.

Though the first few dance classes were intimidating, I was encouraged by my fellow crew members and teachers to continue dancing and to enjoy this learning process and not shy away from it. Many times during the course of my first couple of weeks in training, I struggled, cried (privately) and thought of giving up, but luckily I never did because all the months of training finally paid off at the 2012 Melbourne Latin Festival with the loud clapping and cheering from the audience and words of praise by friends from other schools.

Since then, I also performed in the 2013 Sydney & Melbourne Latin Festivals and most recently just debuted my first Cha Cha shines with the newly formed Las Cha Cha Chicas team at the Dance 4 Kids charity, choreographed by Brooke. I am also ytraining with JC Reyes’ newest dance development project – ‘El Comienzo’ by Blaq. A Latin Fusion rouitine for the 2013 Australian Salsa Solo Competition.

I would encourage anyone who wants to perform to give it a good go, if I can do it, so can you 😉

Here are a couple of tips for someone who is interested in dancing or performing:

  • never give in to your fears and don’t be afraid of the unknown, always give something new a chance
  • have faith in yourself that you can dance, your teachers will always be there to support you
  • stay hydrated before and after a performance/ class
  • if performing – listen to the music daily if possible
  • eat healthy on the day of the performance, stay warm (it’s ALWAYS cold and there is a lot of waiting around pre performance) and be well rested the night before
  • if you look in the mirror and you think you have too much makeup on, put a little more on (the lights on the stage will take all the colour away), and finally
  • ALWAYS wear false lashes! (males – optional)

Thank you Nathan, Brooke and JC for your ongoing support and encouragement, it has been amazing and a BIG THANK YOU for welcoming me into the Melbourne Dance Hub family!! Xx

Stefanie Wong

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