Broadstairs Page-Mason dance school future at risk from cuts
A LONG-STANDING dance school has revealed cuts in performing arts education have left it pirouetting on the edge of ruin.
The Page-Mason School, in Callis Court Road, Broadstairs has been teaching dance and drama for half a century, with students going on to appear at London's Royal Albert Hall and Paris' Moulin Rouge.
Last year the school lost its second big contract in three years – leaving it in danger of closure.
Principal tutor Gillian Page, said: "It's very, very difficult. We thought we had generated funding last year through the adult further education system at Hilderstone College.
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"Hilderstone wanted us to become part of their set-up, but four days before we were due to begin we received a letter from them, cancelling.
"It was a big blow."
The move left students without full-time compulsory level courses.
While the school has stayed afloat with eight full-time students, its future is in doubt.
"At the end of this year we will have zero in the bank," Mrs Page added.
Page-Mason's post-compulsory education course gives the isle's budding dancers the chance to learn tap, modern, ballet, freestyle, disco and Spanish among other styles, without having to move away.
Many also gain teaching qualifications to improve their chances of earning a living away from performing.
Laura Yates, 34, grew up in Margate. Having studied at Page Mason, she is proficient in advanced ballet and now teaches there.
She said: "The course is a good opportunity for people who want to further their career before they go up to the London schools."
The school, a charitable trust, provides performers for a clutch of big annual events in Thanet such as last week's Dickens Festival.
Amy Kippen, 24, who lives at the school, chose Page-Mason because it was cheaper than others and more comprehensive.
She said it would be a massive loss to the area if the school cannot secure more students at the start of the next academic year.
Miss Kippen said: "At some dance schools they say 'do this, do this' and they are really aggressive with you.
"Here it's more about nurturing to help you get the best out of your ability."
Page Mason also runs part time dance courses for children, including ballet for those over four.
For more information about the school and its courses, visit www.page-mason.co.uk