South Shields dancers quick-stepping to raise hundreds so studio can reopen safely

South Shields students are going the distance to help them get back on the dance-floor after the pandemic.

Members of Spotlight Dance Academy have raised hundreds to make sure the school can reopen safely when further restrictions are lifted later this month.

The dance school, which has been operating from Trinity House in Laygate for almost a decade, had to close suddenly when the lockdown was imposed in March.

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Students from Spotlight Dance Academy take on 10 miles in 10 days.

This will mean reducing class sizes, introducing floor markings for social distancing and equipping the building with hand sanitiser, among other procedures.

Spotlight Dance Academy – which coaches around 80 students from three to 22-years-old – has challenged them to walk 10 miles in 10 days, to help fund the new equipment so they can reopen as planned in August.

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Spotlight Dance Academy owner Amanda Beaton said: “As with most businesses we had to close quite abruptly in March and have had no income for the last few months.

"Since the Goverment gave the go-ahead we’ve been looking at the guidelines to see what we need to do to make sure it’s safe – and it comes with quite a big price tag.

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Grace and Isabel Thoburn and Amelie Atkins.

"The kids are desperate to get back to dancing and to see all their friends. They have all been staying in touch but they are missing being in the studio.”

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From Saturday, July 11 around 20 students have been completing a mile a day either walking, running or via scooter or bicycle.

Their efforts have so far raised £850, which will go towards supplying essential items such as sanister, PPE and mats and equipment so the students can safely practice outside.

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“We have surpassed what we expected, everyone has been so generous it’s amazing,” said Amanda.

Lainey Stidwell gets her miles in.
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“The parents have been brilliant, they have been really supportive and it’s been a real team effort to make sure we can get up and running again.

"I’m really proud of them all.”

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Two-year-old Thomas Ward is the youngest fundraiser taking on the challenge.

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The dance school has been closed during the coronavirus lockdown.