Dance school future in limbo

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Dance shoes across the region may be forced to be hung up as Hedland School of Dance faces closure because of the high costs involved in running the school.

After forking out more than $17,000 to rehearse and host their end-of-year concert at Matt Dann Theatre and Cinema last weekend, the local dance school is at risk of disappearing for good.

Hedland School of Dance president Emma England said as the school was not run as a not-for-profit organisation, all costs associated with the end-of-year concerts were charged at full commercial rates. “The cost just cannot be made through ticket sales alone as parents don’t want to pay $40+ per ticket after having paid for lessons all year,” she said.

“You can hire larger theatres in Perth for less than this.”

In previous years, the dance school has been entitled to a community rate to use Town services. However, because of changes in policy, the school is now considered a business despite volunteers not taking a wage.

Despite contacting the Town of Port Hedland, the Town was unable to provide financial assistance to the dance school because of the local government elections.

“As the council is currently in caretaker status, decisions on funding support cannot be addressed until after the election process is complete,” a spokeswoman said.

”Hedland School of Dance was advised to apply to council for support by staff in March 2017.”

The base commercial cost for hiring Matt Dann Theatre and Cinema is $110 for a four-hour rehearsal or $216.50 for a half-day performance hire, with community groups receiving a 75 per cent discount.

Additional costs can be incurred as services are added to the venue hire including audio-visual design and services, staff, ticketing and marketing. Ms England said the dance school had been charged the same as many big shows visiting the town this year.

“People that don’t use the venue don’t realise the ridiculous prices we have to pay — even parents in our school were blown away by the prices,” she said.

“We have been fundraising this year to try make up the cost, but if (the Town) doesn’t come to the party next year, we will have to shut.”

The dance school held its end-of-year recital last weekend, where more than 120 dancers performed well for hundreds of proud parents and friends.

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