Dance and fitness studio ‘alive and kicking’ despite South Shields town centre upheaval

Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart with dance teachers  Alex Mullen (L) and  Rachel McMahon (R)
Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart with dance teachers Alex Mullen (L) and Rachel McMahon (R)

The owner of a thriving South Tyneside dance school based at the heart of a £100 million regeneration project is not planning to waltz off into the sunset any time soon, she has revealed.

Change is the byword for the Barrington Street, Coronation Street and Chapter Row area of South Shields.

Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart with dance teachers  Alex Mullen (L) and  Rachel McMahon (R)

Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart with dance teachers Alex Mullen (L) and Rachel McMahon (R)

Many of the buildings in those streets are to be demolished to make way for a new multiplex cinema, retail outlets and restaurants.

The former Shields Gazette building has already been flattened, the JobCentre is to follow and the former Cross Arms Hotel is one of the buildings also acquired by the council to help realise its ‘South Shields 365’ masterplan.

But not everything is changing.

And the TSB bank and the Act of Dance and Fitness building behind it in Coronation Street are to be retained.

Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart

Art of Dance building on Coronation Street is to stay as part of South Shields 365 regeneration plan's. Owner Suzanne Stuart

The owner of the dance school, Suzanne Stuart, is eager to let the borough public know that the premises is very much alive and kicking – although she admits to “mixed feelings” over the town redevelopment.

She said: “I own the freehold on the building and we are not part of the regeneration scheme. We’re not moving and things are great for us at the moment. I do have mixed emotions because my partner, David Burke, who owns Eddie Burke Motor Bodies in the town’s Franklin Street, is having to move his business as a result to the scheme.

“I think it is unfair that businesses which have been in the town for years are forced to move on.

“But, on the other hand, we’re going to have this new cinema and other developments on our doorstep which should be good for ourselves and the town as a whole.”

The school, which caters from youngsters of all ages, has professional teachers who offer their expertise in a wide range of disciplines, including everything from ballet and Latin to jazz and ballroom.

About 60 of the students are to display what they have learned with an Art of Dance Show at the Customs House in South Shields tomorrow, with performances at 2pm and 7pm.

Tickets are available from the Customs House on 4541234.