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Highland dance teacher asks Scottish Government for coronavirus route map back to reopening

By Louise Glen

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Suzanne Innes from Street Struck Dance.
Suzanne Innes from Street Struck Dance.

A dance teacher from Inverness has signed an open letter to the First Minister asking when classes might be able to start up again.

Suzanne Innes who runs Street Struck Dance, which meets in Inverness, Nairn, Dingwall and Alness, said she and almost 500 other businesses across Scotland have been left in the dark about when they might be able to reopen as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Dance classes have not been identified for reopening on the Scottish Government's route map out of lockdown.

Street Struck Dance in action.
Street Struck Dance in action.

Ms Innes said: "There are lots of activities that are getting back up and running again, and yet I don't know when we will be able to reopen.

"The children I work with are really keen to get back to dance class, not only to take part but also to see their friends."

The letter sent to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and signed by 140 Scottish dance classes states: "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 majority of our businesses work with children – the lowest risk people in this pandemic. Many of our classes can be run in a contactless way, 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 and processes to allow us to resume business with increased hygiene as is being considered in the sports industry.

"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.

"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."

A performance by Street Struck Dance.
A performance by Street Struck Dance.

The letter demands a clear indication of when dance classes might be allowed to resume, what would be expected of dance teachers and the availability of funding if classes are unable to restart.

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