Victorian Dance and Performing Arts Industry on Verge of Collapse

Australian Academy of Dance

Victorian Dance and Performing Arts Studios are lobbying the Victorian Premier for urgent funding support to protect its 1000 studios across Victoria that are in varying states of financial distress.

Many studios are ineligible for JobKeeper and the State Government grants because of the structure of their business. For those studios who have been lucky enough to obtained funding support, the State Government’s one-off payments of $10,000 and $5,000 are not enough to curb the mounting expenses they are facing.

A recent survey of 142 Victorian Dance and Performing Arts Studios has shown during the first lockdown, the industry lost over $17m in turnover – a second lockdown for Melbourne, and a nervous customer base across the state is compounding this loss and is having a devastating effect across the industry.

Industry support from the Victorian Government is being provided to sport, tourism, hospitality, and education; yet the Dance and Performing Arts industry – which trains 150,000 Victorian children each week – has been left to fend for itself.

Dance and Performing Arts studios were forced to shut their doors on 23 March. Since then, businesses have been either teaching online to deliver their classes, or remained closed. Those in Melbourne were able to open for one week (22-28 June) and now are closed again until at least 19 August.

– Dance is the second most popular after-school activity for girls in Victoria (source: Australian Sports Commission 2017)

– Over 150,000 children attend a dance and performing arts studio each week (source: ABS 2016)

– Dance provides physical and mental health benefits. Even one dance class can help reduce depression (source: The Arts in Psychotherapy 2011) and increased levels in happiness from dance can last up to a week after class (source: University of Hertfordshire 2012)

As noted by Director of Australian Academy of Dance, Mike Harrison-Lamond

‘Anyone who danced when they were growing up, or currently has a child enrolled in a dance and performing arts studio needs to contact their local MP today. With no support, there is a good chance your studio will not be reopening after this’.

‘We provide professional training, yet we aren’t classified as a school, we are a team training industry, yet we aren’t classified as a sport, and we provide pathways into the arts industry, yet we aren’t classified in the arts sector. We miss out on funding and support because we fall through the cracks in classification’.

/Public Release.