Monica Julian & Simon Kolo’afa’i
Sponsor: Julians Berry Farm
Teacher: Jane Steane and Tania  Bamford King
Dance Style: Disco

What have you enjoyed about the Edge Realty Dancing With The Stars journey to date?
Simon: I’ve enjoyed getting to know my dance partner Monica more than just that lady who works at the Berry Farm, and learning from her. I’ve also enjoyed the dancing and acting. People enjoy watching great moments either on stage or in a movie, and it’s been invigorating to be a part of developing a fun and exciting dance for audiences to enjoy. There is, of course, many humorous moments when our team gets together which is always enjoyable. I love music, and the songs we have picked will be sure to engage the crowd. They were carefully selected and drives the drama and contrast in our routine.
Monica: I have loved trying something different. I enjoy being fit and healthy and I usually run for fitness. I have changed my exercise routine to include yoga and gym work to increase my stability, flexibility, muscles and core strength. I never thought I liked yoga but I have really enjoyed it and will continue to do it after this is over as well. Thanks Jane for offering complimentary yoga sessions!!

What have you found difficult?
Simon: As a Performing Arts Teacher I teach dance, so at times it was challenging to be the student and follow when I am so used to being the teacher in charge. Some of the choreography was intimate. Monica and I had to be quite close to each other in some parts of the dance which was a little awkward at first, but it became more comfortable as we got to know each other. I’m a pretty busy person (but not as busy as Monica) with family, school, church, study and audio-video production work and so it’s been a challenge to make time for dancing while at the same time not neglecting other more important priorities.
Monica: Getting a groove going!! I think my timing is ok but I don’t have the natural groovy moves!!

Any injuries or challenges faced to date?
Simon: I had injured my back early on and was unable to participate in the very first dance session where all the dance teachers were going to select their dance partners. So I felt like that last kid who gets picked for a team. In any case, I’m happy to have been paired with Monica. Also, there was this other time where Monica pretends to push me, but she actually did, and I lost my balance and collided with a nearby clothing rack. Monica is tough people! You should see her guns!
Monica: I really wanted to master the splits but I keep pulling a muscle in my butt so it’s not going so well!!

Tell me about your dance style, partner and how training has been going?
Simon: My dance partner is Monica Julian, and our style is Disco. She owns Julians Berry Farm, and I think she’s an Australian because she says ‘dence’ instead of dance. Monica is a strong, competent adventurous assertive, independent woman. Hence her signing up for this. She’s not had that much experience dancing, but she’s grown so much! She likes to laugh but is very focused as well, and she’s thoughtful. On a couple of occasions, she made our dance team dinner and lunch which was so kind of her!  She is organised, lives a hectic life running a successful business and her kids around to their various activities, but she likes it that way. Our trainings have been going well. We had our music mix cut quite early which helped us get onto learning the choreography sooner. Our dance teachers, Jane and Tania, have helped us immensely with our timing and execution of our movements especially the lift that we spent a considerable amount of time working (and laughter) on.
Monica: I have had a blast, it’s been great dancing with Simon he is a very talented performer so I feel very privileged to have him as my partner!! Jane and Tanya have worked well together to come up with a Disco performance that’s lots of fun and will hopefully be entertaining. I love the practises, it’s been great to have a laugh and hang out with Simon, Jane and Tanya.

How are you feeling about the big event?
Simon: It’s been a tremendous blessing getting to know more people in our community and to be a part of something exciting like this for a worthy cause. While the journey has at times been arduous, I think it will all pay off when we step on to that stage and own it! We hope you get to witness our performance as we take the disco genre to dramatic new heights!
Monica: Excited, I don’t really want this experience to finish!

Any other comments, funny stories, things you’d like to share?
Monica: Reading some of  the other dancers shenanigans and mischief has been hilarious. I can’t wait to see if they really are as good as they make out!!