Opinion: An open letter to François Legault from a dance studio owner

Mr Legault,

In March 2020 we did what you asked. We have closed our doors. We pivoted. We have innovated. We went online.

We did what we could with the help the government had to offer.

Then we saw dancers’ sanity decline. We have seen our teachers become discouraged. We have seen our beautiful artistic community begin to crumble.

We did everything you asked and barely survived.

It was the first round.

In August 2020 we did what you asked. We opened with a multitude of restrictions.

We have reorganized for social distancing. We have added time for disinfection and cleaning. We have added manpower for contact tracing. We have added masks for safety.

We spent money we didn’t have because that’s how important in-person dancing was to us.

We couldn’t pay our teachers. We couldn’t pay our rent. But we did what we could with the help the government had to offer.

We did everything you asked and barely survived.

It was the second round.

In October 2020, as we were starting to grow, we did what you asked.

We closed our doors a second time, more difficult. We got back online, but “zoom fatigue” kicked in.

Classes, workshops and training were offered, but dancers across the province were starting to drop out. Give up on their dreams. Give up their optimism. Give up our future.

Dance studios across the province have been forced to close not for COVID-19, but for good.

Owners have lost more than their businesses. Teachers have lost more than their jobs. The dancers have lost much more than their outlets.

All this, despite the help that the government was able to offer.

We did everything you asked and barely survived.

It was the third round.

In September 2021, we did what you asked for.

We did not take it for granted that we were still living in a pandemic. We stayed at reduced capacity. We continued to wear masks. We scanned the passports. We have lost a lot of our customers.

The government had no more help to offer.

We have done everything you asked for. We were far from OK but we were open, operating respectfully and safely.

It was the fourth round.

Dance studios are more than walls, floors and mirrors. They are the life force, the air that so many people breathe to survive. They are refuges for those who cannot return home safely. Spaces to grow for those who cannot be themselves at school or at work. Beacons of discovery for those who have lost their way.

Dance studios promote healthy bodies through movement, healthy minds through creativity, and healthy hearts through community.

For many, dancing is essential. We are essential.

Julie Tripoli

Now we’ve been asked to close again and it’s our turn to ask – How do you expect us to come back from this?

How do you expect us to continue to do what you ask, despite the destructive and detrimental impact it has not only on our financial well-being but also on our emotional well-being?

We follow the rules because we are part of society, but we are not allowed to perform our function in our society.

In 2022, we are ask for the reopening of businesses that have complied with the rules.

Businesses that will continue to operate safely. Companies that will continue to provide a safe space. Businesses that will continue to improve the mental health and physical strength of our community.

This is what the dancers ask of us. This is what we ask of you. We are barely surviving.

It’s turn five. Please do as we ask.

Truly,

Julie Tripoli

Owner/Director of Tripoli Studios Inc. and Co-Director of Workroom 5584


Source link