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Planning for a fresh start

So that is June done then! Remarkably, the time keeps on whizzing pass, despite it feeling like Groundhog Day. Hopefully some of you are now starting to return to a semi-normality, but I know for so many, it will still be very far away from your usual routines. We hope that you are all keeping well.

We have been very busy over the past few weeks, trying to devise a plan for a return to physical dance classes from September, depending on government guidelines and providing that any social distancing measures can be safely implemented within our classes. We hope that you are as eager to return as we are! We will obviously be doing our upmost to continue providing for as many of you as we possible can in a variety of ways, however, it is inevitable that we are going to be seeing some changes when we return. This will begin with a change in premises...

As many of you know, we have been trying for several years to find either a plot of land, rundown unit, community centre...anything really, that we could buy and transform into a purpose made studio. You are probably thinking, "what is taking so long?" But, when you start looking into buying commercial properties, you will see that Milton Keynes is the worst possible place to make these dreams a reality. Most of the development in MK is residential or industrial warehouses and it is extremely difficult to get planning permission that is anything other than this. We have looked down an enormous array of avenues and have also been in contact with different top business people from the area, who are very enthusiastic about our plans, but admit that MK is a nightmare for this type of goal. What is more frustrating is that we had some potential new leads just before lockdown, but now that has all come to a grinding halt. Therefore, this is yet to become a reality, but we shall keep on looking, enquiring and researching.

In the meantime, we have felt that over the years the level of service and facilities offered by our current premises in Bletchley, has progressively declined. It seems hard to imagine that we have hired the premises for approx. 14 years and when we first arrived the school was the perfect location and has let our dance school expand and maintain flexible to continuously provide an accessible service to many children and adults from across MK and further afield. We are very grateful for this.

Sadly, in more recent years, the facilities have been the cause of great stress for the teachers and volunteers involved and we do not feel that we can pass any percentage of the increased hire fee, that has been recently proposed, onto our customers, as we do not feel the facilities provided are reflecting the increase. I have discussed these issues with the school directly. Therefore, we have taken much time to deliberate our options and arrive at a decision that we hope is the right one for everybody involved in the school. We understand that it may cause some shock and some initial concern, but we have taken the decision to move premises and we are on track to make this happen for when the school relaunches in September. We are in the process of drawing up an agreement with another school at the moment and this has almost been finalised. Once the contract has been confirmed, I will of course pass all these details straight on to you.

Although it may mean for some of you that you will have a slightly longer journey to class, we hope you appreciate that we have tried to find a location that is central for all areas of the city. We hope this will mean that the majority of you will not find too much difference in the travel times, as MK has a very accommodating transport infrastructure and many of you already travel from outside the immediate area. We do appreciate that this may not be the ideal situation for you and your family on first glance, but we hope that you shall take the time to take a broader perspective and see this as a positive change, that will provide the dancers with better facilities.

This is not actually the first time that we have relocated, we started off in our infancy at New Chapter Primary School on Coffee Hall and moved approx. 18 months later to Bletchley. The majority of our pupils were able to follow us then and we sincerely hope that this shall be the case again.

If you have any queries regarding this announcement or any other topics, please do get in touch. If you could also look out for an email over the next week or so that will include a survey; we would much appreciate it if you could complete the questions and return it to us. This will enable us to devise a timetable for the autumn term, that will accommodate all our customers, whilst respecting social distancing and the safety of our dancers and their families.

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