By Shelby Brooks

REGIONAL dance students have the support of their local MPs to return to the studio before the end of the year.

As reported by the Sentinel-Times in the article ‘Let us dance – Regional dance studios band together to get back on stage’ on September 19, dance studio principals across regional Victoria are fighting to be reclassified on the COVID-19 roadmap.

Lisa Pellin with Nationals MP Melina Bath and Danny O’Brien today, Wednesday, September 23.

Dance studios want to be reclassified as a ‘creative studio’, which would allow them to reopen now – in line with Step Three.

Currently, regional dance studios have been classified with gyms, set to reopen on November 23 – but that’s not a guarantee.

Nationals MP for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath and Nationals MP for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien told Lisa Pellin, of Lisa Pellin Dancers in Leongatha, they had taken the issue up with the Premier on Monday.

The local MPs have called on the Premier to allow students to get back into dance schools, particularly in regional Victoria.

Danny O'Brien at Lisa Pellin Dancers in Leongatha

READ ARTICLE HERE: MPs Danny O'Brien and Melina Bath visited Lisa Pellin Dancers in Leongatha today to hear the concerns surrounding regional dance schools being classified with gyms and brothels on the COVID roadmap.

Posted by South Gippsland Sentinel-Times on Tuesday, September 22, 2020

“To not be able to operate in Gippsland, when we have so few numbers – virtually zero cases – is just unfair,” Ms Bath said today (Wednesday, September 23).

“One of the joys of life, often, for many young people is movement and dance is one way to do that.

“We’ve heard from Lisa Pellin today that many of these young people actually go on to have careers in dance or performing arts… it’s really important for them to perpetuate their dreams.

“For others, it’s a social interaction and it’s really important physical activity.”

Nationals MP Danny O’Brien and Melina Bath with students of Lisa Pellin Dancers in Leongatha.

Lisa Pellin said over the weekend, dance schools were reclassified as ‘creative studios’ for two hours before having it taken back and again put under the same umbrella as gyms.

Mr O’Brien said it wasn’t good enough that current restrictions had dance schools aligned with gyms and brothels.

“The government initially didn’t know where they fitted and made it very difficult for dance schools to get the information to know whether they could open or not,” Mr O’Brien said.

“When you look at the precautions they have in place where the students, the girls mostly, are spaced out – where you have cleaning between each class – when you compare that to what happens in schools or outdoor contact sports for kids, it doesn’t make any sense that dance schools can’t open.

“It just seems to be silly.”