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Fresh Funk Young Choreographer’s initiative Fresh Faced Funk. Tuggeranong Ars Centre Theatre 2018. Photo: Martin Ollman.

Twenty years ago, two university students with exceptional dance skills approached the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, equipped with an aspirational idea. 

Caroline Spry and Geza Szanto were friends, who had been dancing and choreographing together for many years. They were keen to teach a fresh dance style they had been learning from interstate and international choreographers. 

Initially offering one class per week, Leena and Geza introduced hip-hop/street dance to the Canberra dance scene. The program grew rapidly, as did the popularity of this style of dance and music Australiawide. 

Two years later classes were being offered for junior and senior girls, adults and a boys group. Each semester culminated in an energetic dance show for family and friends. 

By 2004 the program was teaching over 200 participants per week. Leena became a permanent staff member of the Arts Centre, to assist with the growing requirement for program administration and to lead the creative development of Fresh Funk. 

With such a large body of dancers now enrolled and the spectacular semester shows constantly gaining in popularity, shows were moved to larger venues. The program was receiving interest from local schools, and requests to perform at public events were rolling in. 

By 2009 Fresh Funk had reached a peak of 300 dancers enrolled in the performance program. Every day of the week saw class after class of excited children, teens and adults streaming into the dance studio. The Arts Centre was filled with music, while people were practicing their moves in every corner of the building. 

In 2015 Fresh funk expanded into Gungahlin and then Belconnen offering classes for littlies and juniors.