Parents plead for dance school

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A petition to save a popular Queenstown dance school is well on the way to its goal.

Mountain Scene last week revealed Queenstown School of Dance owner, Anna Stuart had to shut shop after the rent on her new Frankton premises was unexpectedly hiked by $25,000 a year.

Despite exhaustive attempts to look for an alternative location, Stuart’s had no luck.

But a parent of one of Stuart’s students, Sarah Liddell, launched a petition last Sunday asking Queenstown’s council to either find a new location or subsidise the rent.

At time of writing, it’s received well over 700 of its 1000-name goal.

Liddell says she started the petition as a concerned parent, on behalf of other families affected by the closure who want to save the school.

“We don’t want the Wakatipu to lose Anna’s expertise. The physical, mental and emotional health benefits of dancing are endless.”

The council must have the wealth and resources to help out, she says.

“We need a space now so these classes can start back up as soon as possible, or funds to help pay the exorbitant commercial rent.”

Stuart’s school, which operated in Gorge Road, last year took 320 students for jazz, ballet, hip-hop and contemporary dance.

More than 400 students had enrolled this year.

Stuart says some of the “astronomical” rates property owners pay should be put back into the resort’s community so children get the chance to experience the arts.

“There are many of us that feel angry and disillusioned at the lack of community heart and support from council.”

Many families can’t afford to pay for their children to do “extracurricular activities”, she says.

“If we were to be subsidised, we would be able to drop our tuition rates.”

The petition will be presented to council when the 1000-signature goal is met.

To sign, go to: https://bit.ly/2uAAY40

ed@scene.co.nz