THE owner of Lochgelly's highly successful Zodiac Dance School fears that they have been forgotten on the Route Map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

The dance school, which caters for 200 people ranging from the ages of 3 to the mid 20s, has been closed for five months due to Covid-19, but over the past few weeks Stacey has seen most of the business community of Lochgelly spark back into life, apart from her base at the Main Street Miners Welfare Institute

Stacey and her team of dance teachers, who over the years have produced several British and World Champions in many forms of dancing, have been able to keep their eager students active through outdoor and online sessions, but the person to person tuition in their designed to suit dance studio, has been missing and she, and over 100 other dance school owners in Scotland, are concerned that the longer time goes on without being able to re-open, the more pressure is being put on the purse strings.

Said Stacey: "We really are concerned that dance and performance schools are the forgotten sector as the country comes out of lockdown.

"As I drive up Bank Street and onto Main Street, I see the barbers back open, along with the pubs and other shops and, I say to myself are we the only business still not allowed to get back into action?

"There are another 139 dance schools in Scotland in the same situation as us and I know that so far six have have had to close due to not being able to get their studios open.

"The problem is that the bills are still coming in but we have not been able get our students into our specially designed studio at the Miners Institute and it is putting severe strain on our finances."

Stacey and her coaching team, are desperate to get back into the studio on Main Street, but so far there has been no indication of when that is likely to be, and the lack of direction is frustrating all the dance and performance schools owners, who have all signed a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and members of her cabinet, and also to Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing, and MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Neale Hanvey.

The letter asks: "How many of your children or children you know attend a dance class, drama class, singing lessons or musical instrument tuition? Did you realise that all of these are local businesses? Businesses that currently have been given no mention in any of the route map plans to re-open by ScotGov.

"We do not have a governing body like other sectors that can help with guidance. 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.

"We ask 1 we would like the Dance & Performing Arts Sector to be clearly acknowledged in the plans for the re-opening route map. 2 we would like clear guidance on what would be expected to re-open to allow planning for this, working with children and/or adults if different. 3 additional funding/reliefs to be made available to our sector if made to wait for a prolonged period over other sectors (e.g. further grants, VAT reliefs as introduced to the Hospitality/Tourism Industry)."

Stacey added: "A large number of our students are children who love to dance and the camaraderie that goes with working together, and we have been fortunate that we have been able to hold sessions outside which have worked reasonably well, but can be something that the weather has a lot of influence on.

"Also we have been able to hold sessions online but inevitably it is not the same as working in the studio and we would like to get back into the Miners Institute to hold classes sooner rather than later."

The indoor aspect of dance classes seems to be one of the issues which is holding back getting studios re-opened and Stacey concluded: "If we were to be given a target date to aim for then that would be a major breakthrough.

"The thing is the kids are really dedicated and when we are going full steam ahead at the studio many are dancing three or four times a week and it is great for their health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally.

"We need to get back into action in the studio to ensure that we are able to keep the facility going in Lochgelly."