Local Dance Studio Feeling Economic Impact Of Coronavirus
OREM, Utah – One local dance studio in Orem is proving even a pandemic can’t stop the beat.
Studio 1 Dance Center has taken its courses online to meet social distancing regulations.
“It’s social dis-dance-ing at its finest,” owner Steviee Stilson said. “This isn’t just our hobby – it’s our livelihood. We dance because we are passionate, and because we’re a studio family.”
Stilson dropped off Social Dis-Dance-ing shirts to all her students so they could feel emotionally connected.
Many small businesses that embrace the arts are struggling to survive during Coronavirus restrictions. Spring is often the busiest for dance studios, but for seven weeks now, competitions, recitals, and in-studio dance classes have been cancelled.
“I was standing in the parking lot, ready to walk into our biggest competition of the year in mid March, when I received the call that it was all shutting down,” Stilson said.
The LA Dance Magic Convention, held in Provo, came to a screeching halt after Gov. Gary Herbert announced mass gatherings were prohibited.
“There would have been 700 performers in that building; our students were dressed and ready to dance,” Stilson said. “But it came to an abrupt end as many of them were about to walk inside the doors.”
“There were lots of tears,” she added. “The kids have worked really hard. Some dance 16 – 18 hours a week, and this was a big letdown.”
As this economic distress unfolds, Stilson has students dropping out and others are unable to pay.
Only half her students paid tuition for April.
“It’s going to take a long while to get back on top financially,” Stilson, who has owned Studio 1 for eight years, said. “I was one of the first students who danced here. This was my second home growing up. I believe in this dance family. I am concerned for my studio and so many other studios fighting to stay afloat.”
She said if class size limitations go long term, fewer children will be allowed in a dance room. That will make it difficult to cover payroll and overhead expenses.
Stilson applied for PPP Funds, only to discover the money went to bigger businesses.
“The Entertainment Industry is taking a hit,” she said. “Dance studios are just one element. The competition industry, costumers, Broadway, choreographers, commercial dancing, and halftime shows are all feeling the weight, too.”
In a time of much uncertainty, child psychologists recommend providing healthy expression and normalcy for children.
The Royer family said dancing at Studio 1 checks that box for their 12-year-old daughter Bailey.
“It’s cool we can still dance, even through all of this,” Bailey Royer said as she perfectly executed a piqué turn in her living room. “We worked really hard to make it to nationals. We probably won’t be able to go this year, but I love dancing – even if it means seeing my teacher through a screen.”
Utah County Commissioners announced May 4 as the soft open date for small businesses. Commissioners said only 10 people will be allowed in the same space at the same time.
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