A Stafford dance and exercise venue is helping brighten-up the north end of the town centre with a colourful display that shows people ‘what goes on upstairs’.
The graphics – showing the spacious facilities offered within the second-floor studio and the types of dances and exercise sessions that it hosts – have been applied to display boards outside the Stafford Street premises.
Studio owner, Nick Gallagher-Hughes, hopes that the move will ‘uplift’ the north end of the town centre and make it appear more vibrant and actively used.
“The premises we occupy had been empty for more than 12 years when we took it on,” he explains “but being on the top floor meant that many people weren’t aware of its transformation from empty office space to much needed facilities for dance, exercise and training.
“We wanted to provide a glimpse of what goes on upstairs – the fabulous facilities available for hire and the types of activities for which they can be used.”
The boards display activities such as yoga, Pilates, ballroom dancing, ballet, street dance, theatre, Bollywood dance and Argentine tango in a colourful montage.
Nick said that he “took to heart” the comments of visitors from further afield who noted the vast number of empty shops and “run down” feel of the north end of the town centre.
“We know that the council has plans to rejuvenate this end of the town but rather than sit back and wait, we wanted to take the initiative and do what we could to brighten up our surroundings, provide a talking point and show people what we have on offer.
“Lockdown won’t last forever and when it is safe to do so, we look forward to welcoming back our schools, their dancers and students, with all the positive impact on physical and mental health that social dance and exercise brings.”
TopLine Studio opened in April 2019 and was open for less than a year when the nation was plunged into lockdown for the first time. Despite restrictions and further lockdowns, the studio has continued to operate when allowed.
It is home to a number of schools and social groups including Stafford School of Dance, Groove Academy, Source Flow Yoga and Meditation, Zest Yoga, Desi Nach, Safe Hearts Training and D-Cubed Training and Development Consultancy.
It incorporates two studios which total more than 170 square metres of space that are available for hire by groups, schools and individual teachers for teaching and rehearsals. Facilities include floor-toceiling mirrors, built-in sound system and wall-mounted ballet barres.