Maclean Scottish Town Dance Centre owner Janet Gray gives lessons over the internet after closing face to face lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Maclean Scottish Town Dance Centre owner Janet Gray gives lessons over the internet after closing face to face lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Janet teaches to empty studio, but appreciative audience

JANET GRAY admits it’s been an emotional time for all concerned as she closed the doors on her Scottish Town Dance studio in Maclean.

Even pushing on, providing lessons to her students over the internet, she’s admitted to almost shedding a few tears.

“I have to admit it’s an awful feeling teaching to an empty studio,” she said.”

“The first couple of nights I nearly cried but I’m getting better, and the kids are right onto it, they just get it.

“It’s a bit confronting when you first get on there, but the kids are great at, they are so much more adaptable than we are.”

Ms Gray has been providing lessons over Facebook Live and messenger and will work on further lessons over Zoom next term, compelled to help out her students despite her own predicament.

“I felt this term had to be finished, I didn’t want to leave everyone high and dry,” she said.

“My biggest concern is for the kid, about their mental health and being stuck at home.

“I wanted to give them something that they normally do every week, and give them that social outing.”

In a heartwarming moment for Ms Gray, she said the parents of two of her five-year-old students, connected through the meeting software, left the live broadcast on for another half an hour following the lesson, reading and talking to each other.

“The parents said it was the best thing, and they didn’t even know it was an option,” she said.

Despite what shows like Dance Moms may show, Ms Gray said the connection between studios was stronger than ever, with her studio joining with Studio One Dance Academy in Grafton, Waves Dance Studio in Evans Head and Valley Performing Arts in Macksville to form what they termed Studios Unite 2020.

“It just happened one night, it’s more of a support group, just to tell each other what we’re doing,” she said.

“All the studios will do their own thing, as we know our own dancer, but it’s just something to help us get through this as well.”

Ms Gray said her new lesson procedures had been received well by her parents and students, and said it was the culture she set that helped the transition.

“When you have a culture where they know you’re not going to not provide them the service, I think that comes through,” she said.

“I don’t don’t know how long it will go for, but I think it’s important just to keep going.”



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