'Not sustainable' - 140 dance schools write letter to Scottish Governement asking when can they reopen

Dance and performance schools across Scotland signed the letter and labelled themselves the “forgotten sector”.

Dance classes are currently closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Dance classes are currently closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Dance and performance schools across Scotland have written to the Scottish Government asking why they have not been allowed to reopen following the lockdown imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an open letter addressed to Nicola Sturgeon, John Swinney and Jeane Freeman, the schools blasted the government for having not provided the sector with an indicative opening dates.

Highlighting a lack of direct support for dance businesses since the end of this month, the letter states that many businesses operate facilities which “generate large overheads” and said they are “not sustainable without further financial aid”.

Outdoor contact and non-contact sport was given the green light to restart on July 13 while indoor gyms are set to open in August if Covid-19 remains suppressed.

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The letter states: “We do not have a governing body like other sectors that can help with guidance.

"We are not a school, we are not a gym, we are not a sports club, we are not a hairdresser or nail technician, all of which have been given guidance and/or indicative dates of when they can/may be able to resume some form of business.”

The letter adds that dance schools across the country are being “failed by the powers that be”, labelling the situation “unfair” given the majority of the businesses work with children, known to pose the lowest risk for spreading Covid-19.

It states: “All business funding to support those with premises ended in July and most run large sports sized facilities which generate large overheads. The thousands of vocational businesses are not sustainable without further financial aid or clear guidelines to return. Our businesses are being failed by the powers that be and it is wholly unfair.

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“The majority of our businesses work with children - the lowest risk people in this pandemic.

"Many of our classes can be run contactless (not all but most) or with minimal interaction; physical distancing can be achieved and where we have studios of our own we can plan for systems & processes to allow us to resume business with increased hygiene as is being considered in the sports industry.”

The letter adds that children who prefer non-contact sport are also being let down by the lack of guidance.

It continues: “Our students are missing out greatly on the health and mental wellbeing benefits of attending our classes. Many of us would have put on summer workshops and camps, something that could have helped bridge the gap over the summer prior to starting school in August.

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“If outdoor ‘contact’ sports for children can resume now then why aren’t indoor non-contact activities being considered now with adequate guidance and dates? Why are those sectors being favoured over ours.

“Children who engage in contact sports currently have routes to better physical and mental wellbeing but those children who prefer to engage in other non-contact physical activities are not being considered.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director

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