Dance school owner not giving up fight

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A groundswell of support for a popular Queenstown dance school’s given the owner renewed hope a new home might be found.

Last month Mountain Scene reported Anna Stuart had to shut the doors to Frankton’s Dance Evolution Studios – formerly Queenstown School of Dance – in the wake of a $25,000 rent hike.

After failing to find an alternative premises from which to teach her 400-plus students, she had to close the rebranded dance school before it even opened for the year.

That prompted Sarah Liddell, a dance mum, to launch a petition asking Queenstown’s council to either find a new location, or subsidise the rent.

By Wednesday afternoon, 1169 people had signed it – the petition’s now almost got 1700 signatures.

Stuart says the support’s been “absolutely incredible” and has motivated her to keep fighting for her school.

While she hasn’t got anything “completely substantial” on the table, she’s been inundated with calls from people wanting to try to help find a solution.

“It was really cool, that side of things, because I had actually given up hope until I got those phone calls, so that’s probably what made me go to fight this, we’re going to get there and make this work, some way, somehow’.

“It’s an incredibly hard town and there are no community amenities.”

Stuart’s hoping City Hall will consider subsidising small businesses that can’t afford commercial rents and is considering raising the issue during this coming Thursday’s full meeting.

“Families pay massive amounts of rates and I don’t see why their rates can’t go to things like performing arts and stuff that will help their children and make a more well-rounded child that doesn’t just ski or bike.

“Not every child wants to ski or bike, some kids want to sing and dance and act.”

The Change.org petition’s available at: bit.ly/3ahEUps

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz