28 Sept 2022

Tipperary dance schools to gather in Nenagh over decision to leave them shut

Tipperary dance schools to gather in Nenagh over decision to leave them shut

Students from Musical Theatre Academy Nenagh with Ryan Tubridy when they appeared on the Late Late Toy Show

This Thursday, December 2, at 12pm outside Leinster house, dance teachers will gather for a silent protest.

This is to highlight the fact that dance classes are being prohibited under Level 3 Covid restrictions.

Dance teachers from all over Ireland feel that dance has been completely discriminated against, as other indoor activities including Gymnastics, Martial Arts, indoor Playgrounds, indoor trampolines are all permitted to open.

Due to travel restrictions. Local dance school owner Stephanie Browne is organising a local dance schools meet to support the teachers protesting on their behalf in Dublin says: ‘We as dance schools are being kept closed under level 3 government restrictions. We have been closed for 7 months of this year due to these restrictions, despite having proved that we are capable of running socially distanced dance classes in a safe and Covid friendly manner. We need answers:

-How do we differ from Gyms, packed shopping centres, restaurants, that are all getting to open under level 3 restrictions

-How do we differ from other indoor sports including gymnastics, martial arts that are all opening under level 3 restrictions.

-At present it is basically just dance schools and wet pubs that don’t get to open under level 3 restrictions, every other type of indoor activity seems to have gotten the go ahead.

Funding has been announced for wet pubs that are staying closed, but nothing has been even suggested for all dance schools in the same situation.

All we are looking for is fairness and a level playing field. This situation is too serious now, many dance schools will start to close permanently if this situation doesn’t change. We are representing our country at the Worlds Championships in 2021, we need the support of our government.

For the majority of our students, their way of expression is through dance. We are asking to note the importance of our classes on our students’ mental and physical health and well-being. We have complied with every guideline given to us, including outdoor classes, back to indoor classes of 15, classes brought down to 1 pod of 6; and all of this done with the absence of government guidance. We have invested hugely in PPE gear and have introduced a rigorous cleaning regime after each class as well as putting on extra classes to accommodate pods.

After the announcements on Thursday, Michael Martin told the country to take happiness from the Toy Show. All of the performers seen on the show have been trained in dance and stage schools. I know my own students who had been on the show last year, sat watching this year in sadness, as they have not been able to get to class in months.

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