Children in regional Victoria can once again head for school camp, they can play contact sport, but they cannot attend a ballet lesson.

Furious dance studio owners are campaigning to be allowed to reopen their businesses – as they were following the first lockdown – after conflicting government advice on the new rules has left many operators confused and angry.

Gisborne Dance Academy owner Sarah and student dancer Lataysha Roe. Regional dance studios and the Victorian Dance Art Alliance have come together in an effort to pressure the state government to consider recategorising regional dance studios as community sport. Credit:Paul Jeffers

After winning a full-tuition dance scholarship earlier this year, Lataysha was excited to get back to dancing but has spent most of the year learning through Zoom.

"It’s really intimidating learning through Zoom and it's hard to pick up choreography," she said.

A government spokesman said the information on the rules had been consistent.

"Decisions on the operation of indoor facilities, including gymnastics and dance studios for amateur participants, will continue to be based on public health advice," a government spokesperson said.

Dance Arts Alliance vice-chair Melanie Gard said the recent announcement of $3000 grants for sole traders was the first bit of support Victorian dance studios had received.

"It's a tragically small amount of money given many businesses have been shut since March, $3000 will barely cover a few weeks of rent in a commercial property," she said.

Ausdance Victoria research shows over 50 per cent of dance schools have not received financial support from federal or state governments.

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