A dance school forced to shut by the coronavirus pandemic has reopened with an entirely new look.
The team at Michelle Moss School of Performing Arts, in Longton, were devastated when lockdown meant they had to close their doors.
But they put the downtime to good use – giving the two studios a complete makeover.
Owner Michelle Moss renovated the studios with help from dad Ray, daughter Darcy and partner David Walker – as well as giving birth to daughter, Lilly, on April 27.
The 39-year-old, from Barlaston, said: “We had the chance to do things we never really had a chance to do because of how busy we were.
“We’ve taken the time to look at what the dance school needed, added new things, and made it extremely Covid safe.
“I knew the students would be dying to come back and see it looking so different. They need something as well because it’s been hard for everybody.”
The school has been repainted. There are also new windows and signs, a new display unit, new studio floors, and a brand new uniform.
The team has also put in place several measures to ensure the school is Covid-secure.
Michelle added: “We’ve got a one way in and one way out system. We will have limited parents coming in.
“If there are new students we have space at the back where the parent can stay with them so they don’t feel worried. We have two-metre boxes for them to dance in. There are no changing rooms in use so they have boxes at the back of the studio.
“We’ve got sanitisers all over the studio, outside the studio door, at the toilet entrance and in the reception area.
“One of the studios is huge so we can fit 20 in even with social distancing in place. That gives the teachers six metres to dance in so they get the biggest space at the front so there is no crossing over.
“The other studio fits about seven, with the teachers in an eight-metre box. All our teachers are Covid-trained so we know all about how to do shoelaces from the back, and the hair is down instead of in buns.
“No jewellery is allowed in case something falls off. We have got everything down and sorted. We are already trained to be the best we can be in these circumstances.”
The dance school opened earlier this month. It is open every day except Fridays, when the studios have a deep clean.
Michelle added: “It’s like a family so you get to know the students. They start at the age of two-and-a-half. Some of them now teach at the school. I missed everyone incredibly, you get to know them well and they mean a lot to you.
“I’m really confident because I know everything we have done is above and beyond what is expected.
“This is something we have got to live with and deal with.
“Dance had been left to the end of every decision which had been made but I feel that it’s an important part of expressing yourself. It’s energising and makes you feel good at the end of it.
“We’ve been on the well-being course as well because we knew it would affect a lot of our students who haven’t danced.
“Everyone is coming back at the same level and we are doing an eight-week reboost to get them back into it, get their stamina up and enjoying dance. When you have not been doing something for so long getting back into it is quite scary and daunting.
“It’s about reassuring them and giving them the confidence that this is a safe place, that they are here to learn and let’s get back to doing what we do.
“I don’t want Covid-19 to put people off, we have worked hard to put everything in place to make this a safe environment for everyone.”