In the latest Getting to Know blog post, we chat with Charisse Parnell, Director of The Dance Collective. We talk about all things dance, community and managing the mental load as a busy mum.

Hi, Charisse. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your family and your business.

Hi! 😊 I am a mother of two boys (11 and 13) and wife to a Behaviour Specialist … definitely comes in handy raising a family! We moved to Melville from White Gum Valley in 2011 just in time for Finn to start kindergarten at Melville Primary School. 

Before starting The Dance Collective, I completed degrees in Marketing and Primary Teaching and worked in both fields, lived and trained in dance overseas, built a successful dance program at Rossmoyne Senior High School, taught at-risk students and simultaneously freelanced as a choreographer/teacher.

What inspired you to start The Dance Collective?

In the beginning it was something small and fun I created outside of my high school work hours to call my own and bring a community of dancers who I had been teaching together.    

What do you love most about what you do?

I love connecting people and making people feel part of something special. I love when people are surprised at how far they’ve come or how much they’ve grown, whether it be in dance or confidence. When I hear dancers are happier, their lives have changed, they’ve found new friends, or doing better at school or work because of what they are learning at TDC, I realise this is what I am meant to be doing.

I also love that I’ve been able to combine my marketing, education and dance experience into one role. All the knowledge and skills collected throughout my life has all come into one place. I get to use both sides of my brain – the creative and the analytical!

Finally, the people! TDC brings together the most beautiful humans. We operate and look after each other like family. We all love dance and that love is transferred to care, kindness and acceptance across the company. It’s very special.

Is there anything new/exciting coming up for The Dance Collective? 

We’ve got auditions soon for a huge event at Crown in April. It’s for Oasis Ball 25 Year Anniversary – Western Australia’s media and advertising awards night and our client wants dancers from all walks of life – all ages, all sizes and all ethnicities. It’s going to be a great vibe bringing our dancers together and putting such diversity onto a corporate stage. 

What are some of your favourite places or things to do in the local area?

We’ve just discovered a gorgeous dog beach at the river near Zephyrs. Our 1-year-old bull terrier Winston loves it there! Mai Thai is hands down our favourite place to eat as a family. My boys always order Massaman Beef and Scott loves the Red Duck Curry.

Do you have any advice for mums looking to start their own business?

Start small. Trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming. You can upskill as your business grows. I am forever learning new skills to improve the way I do things. 

Don’t always make choices for profit. Some of my best decisions are made because they need to happen. 

Choose something that is your passion. It can be become difficult at times but if you’re doing something your truly passionate about you will have the courage to push through.

Any other words of wisdom for our mums?

The mental load mothers are under is enormous. Two books I highly recommend which may help! 

1) Buddhism for Mothers (Sarah Napthali)

2) How to hold it together when you’re doing it all (Felicity Harley)

And nothing better than sharing how you feel with mothers or business owners in a similar position. You realise our challenges are universal. You are not alone!

To find out more about The Dance Collective, head to their website, Facebook page or Instagram feed.

If you loved this post, check out our Getting to Know… blog series, which features local business owners who share their stories with us.

Melville Mums
Author: Melville Mums