‘Dance studios not the same as gyms’
Call for classes to resume to keep children active
A dance studio owner in Perth has appealed for the Scottish Government to avoid “lumping in”performing arts and dance schools with gyms when it comes to deciding when it is safe to welcome young students back.
Brooke Robertson began Inspire Dance Studio in 2012, which is currently based in Victoria Street, Perth.
She is anxious that in the timeline for reopening after COVID-19, her sector will be last in the queue due to ministers not noting the difference between youngsters meeting to train and “sweaty” fitness gyms for adults.
“I’ve no problem with being closed for now, I’m not asking to reopen just yet and I think the right time would be resuming lessons after the summer holidays, but I do object to being put in the same category as gyms,” Brooke told the PA.
“It’s not about money, wages or being able to pay the rent, it’s about our children’s mental health in having something they love and a way to express themselves freely taken away from them.
“It’s shocking to see how many youngsters are stuck in their bedrooms. For many kids, dance is their life.”
She spelled out her position online recently: “So many people are complaining on social media. We’ve been severely overlooked, a dance school is not the same as a gym.
“To start with, our kids don’t get profusely sweaty, they don’t need to touch each other and are very good at spatial awareness, so social distancing is not a problem.
“Class numbers can be reduced and time made between classes to thoroughly clean studios/toilets before the next set of kids arrive.
“One-way systems can be implemented in larger studios, not to mention all classes are prebooked, making the track and trace system easy.
“It’s ridiculous that you can go to the pub or shop surrounded by a bunch of strangers, be with 59 other kids at the local park all touching the same swings, but our kids can’t be back in the studio.
“Contact sports will be allowed outdoors but don’t dare think of dancing in a room with your friends.
“Everybody with dance schools or who teaches performing arts is in the same boat.”
Perthshire North MSP John Swinney replied to Brooke after she sent a plea for his support.
And on Monday he told the PA: “As Scotland continues to transition out of lockdown, we can all hopefully look forward to more facilities opening up.
“The Scottish Government’s main priority is the safety of the public, and to that end our decision making will continue to be guided by science.
“However, it is also vitally important that we take seriously the views and concerns of the public, who have sacrificed so much to ensure that we can suppress COVID-19.
“To that end, I have raised Ms Robertson’s views with the relevant Scottish Government minister.
“The Scottish Government will reflect carefully on these views – and the views of all who contact us – as we continue to respond to this pandemic in a responsible and measured way.”
The PA asked the Scottish Government for comment but had not received one by the time we went to press.