COVID-19: Parkes Dance Co owner now teaching classes online

Parkes Dance Co owner Breanna Grebenc (pictured) has pivoted her business to teach classes online. Photo: Supplied.
Parkes Dance Co owner Breanna Grebenc (pictured) has pivoted her business to teach classes online. Photo: Supplied.

A small business owner from Parkes has completely changed the way she delivers classes to her students after the government announced the closure of indoor gyms to help stop COVID-19 spreading.

In March, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the closure of indoor gyms, restaurants and cafes, other than for takeaway, and clubs, nightclubs and entertainment venues.

Galleries, museums, youth centers, swimming pools and community clubs also closed, as did churches and other places of worship.

For the past five years Breanna Grebenc has owned and operated Parkes Dance Co, but with the studio having to shut she pivoted the business and moved classes online.

Before the studio closed, Ms Grebenc was teaching about 200 students in Parkes, and at Condobolin through outreach classes.

Ms Grebenc said they kept a close eye on the government's updates when they started announcing the closure of venues and facilities earlier this year.

She and her staff at Parkes Dance Co were preparing to adhere to the new health rules and regulations at the studio when it was announced that they too would have to close.

Ms Grebenc said they were all "heartbroken" to have to shut the studio's doors.

"Since it's closed we've done a lot of work in developing our online platform so that we can offer a mix of pre-recorded lessons as well as some live lessons through Zoom," she said.

The Parkes small business owner said the online classes have worked really well for those students who want to continue dancing.

Ms Grebenc is hopeful they can open the studio soon, but in the meantime will continue to deliver the dance classes online.

"We're taking it week by week and our beautiful teachers create content for us every week so we can keep releasing new classes... we've also had an amazing range of guest teachers record videos for us...," she said.

"We've been able to have amazing industry professionals give the kids classes that just would not have been feasible for us to do face-to-face so there has been some silver lining to online."

Many of the students taught through Parkes Dance Co reside on rural properties and also face the challenges of blackspots, which was one of the reasons why Ms Grebenc decided to have both the live and pre-recorded classes.

"The kids have been absolutely fabulous and real troopers during this time," she said.

"The fact they've been able to adapt to online classes so easily has surprised everyone."

A new research released by accounting software provider Reckon reveals small business leaders who rank highly for resilience are twice as likely as those with low resilience to be financially successful.

The report also reveals that years of drought, recent bushfires and current COVID-19 pandemic have had a major impact on Australian small businesses, with nearly half (47 per cent) having seriously considered closing the doors of their current business.

According to the findings, 1.8 million (78 per cent) Australian small businesses are feeling additional pressure due to COVID-19, while 29 per cent are feeling the same due to the 2020 recession scare.

Despite this, the research suggests that Australia's small business leaders are highly resilient overall, with three quarters (74 per cent) saying they tend to bounce back after hard times and nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) saying it doesn't take them long to recover from stressful events.

Reckon CEO, Sam Allert, said that the findings were timely given recent challenges experienced by small businesses across Australia.

"Running a business is extremely rewarding, but success sometimes comes at the end of a bumpy road," he said.

"Things have been tougher than usual for Australian businesses recently - from drought, to fire, and a global pandemic. That is why it is more important than ever for us to talk about resilience and what it means for the small business sector."

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