Weston woman Lisa Mathieson is dancing to her own beat, with Soul Dance Studio.
Mrs Mathieson had always wanted to be a dancer, but could not find the right classes in Oamaru to suit. So, she taught herself from the internet, and is now sharing what she is learning.
‘‘Dancing on your own is all good, but when you’ve got a group of people, and they’re all in sync and doing the same thing, and everyone’s got their own unique energy that they bring into it and stuff, that’s the vibe that I like.’’
The mother of three started her studio earlier this month. She held two group classes on a Tuesday evening for teens and adults, at Weston Hall, and also offered the option of extra lessons or catch-up classes at her home.
There was a beginner-level class, and a level for those with a bit more experience, or who were wanting to try something harder.
‘‘I just think it’s so much fun.
‘‘The whole reason that I named it Soul was because you kind of learn the skeleton of the dance, and then you’ve got to put the soul in it, and everybody does it quite uniquely.
‘‘The benefits are limitless. So I’m hoping I can get anyone who has the same interest as me.
‘‘It’s fitness, it’s good for your mental health, there’s not really any down sides.’’
Mrs Mathieson had learned ballet for six or seven years as an adult from Oamaru dance teacher Victoria Cooper, while eldest daughter Tahlia (15) was also learning.
She began teaching herself from home at the beginning of this year, when her youngest daughter, Wyatt, started school. She signed up to DNCR Academy online, found dance videos on the internet, and taught herself.
‘‘It’s mainly hip-hop and a wee bit of shuffling, which I’m into.’’
She said she found a lot of ‘‘random’’ videos online, and if they contained something she liked, ‘‘I’ll try and learn it, or find a tutorial for it, or just video it and slow-mo it until I can get it down’’.
When she and husband Blair were building a sleepout on their property, Mrs Mathieson saw the chance for her own dance studio.
‘‘I was like, we need to have cushion in the floor, because I feel like I want to dance out here a lot . . . So since I’ve had this, I come out here a lot, and both my girls are hugely into dance.’’
Tahlia was now leaning more towards hip-hop, and the two enjoyed learning off each other.
Wyatt also got ‘‘so much joy’’ out of dancing, but did not need her mother’s help.
‘‘Whenever we come out here. . . she’s the dance teacher.’’
Numbers at Soul so far had been quite good, especially for the beginner class, but going into winter, Mrs Mathieson knew it would be trickier to get people to leave their homes.
‘‘But you warm up so fast, and you can’t stop doing things that you love, just because the weather gets in your way.’’
She was still hoping she would find a few more takers for the harder class.
‘‘That’s the stuff I’m more into, so I’d love to find even just a small group who is as keen as I am to do that sort of thing.
‘‘I think I’ll give it to the end of term, and see if the right people find me.’’
She was also considering the prospect of a children’s class.
For those who were considering the classes, but were nervous about stepping out of their comfort zone, Mrs Mathieson urged them to give it a try.
‘‘I have to put myself out there, doing this, which is really huge for me, because I do like to stay out of the public eye, so that’s hard . . . but as soon as you start pushing yourself, things just kind of snowball.
‘‘Every time you take a little chance, you get something good out of it, and you’re always really proud that you did it afterwards. If you go and do it, no matter how it turns out, you can at least be proud you got up and went.’’