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Social distancing and dance lessons? No problem. Making the rent doing it? That’s harder.

Published: May. 8, 2020 at 5:33 PM HST|Updated: May. 8, 2020 at 5:36 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gisella Schultz owns the Arthur Murray Dance Center of Hawaii. Before the state shutdown, her studio was busy.

“We would actively have about 50 to 65 lessons a week,” she said.

Now, Schultz’s five instructors average only five one-on-one online sessions per week.

"It's been difficult. This is one of my main sources of income and without it I've been trying to pull in the purse strings a little tighter," dance teacher Christian Grado said.

The dance center's income nosedived.

"We've had zero income coming in for the studio pretty much since the beginning of March," Schultz said.

She couldn’t afford the rent payment in April and May is going to be a problem, too.

Through her property manager she’s reached out to her landlord, asking if the payments can be put off. But she has gotten no response.

"My biggest fear as a business owner is, honestly, we don't know if we're going to have a studio to come back to because they haven't told us anything about what they're expecting from us," Schultz said.

She fears eviction and she’s invested a lot in her 4,000 square-foot space on Kapiolani Boulevard that she’s leased for years.

“And we’ve had a really good relationship with them (her landlord) so I don’t understand why we’re not getting any information back,” she said.

Schultz started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the rent.

She's developed no-touch dance lessons and feels strongly her business will be back on its feet once the all clear is given.

"I'm very excited to get back in the studio and get dancing, for myself and because I know our students love it just as much, too," Grado said.

"One of the biggest things that I'm proud of with our studio is the community that we've built around the dancing," Schultz said.

Hawaii News Now reached out to her property manager but did not hear back.

Schultz hopes to stay in her downtown studio but she’ll find another place to teach her students if that’s what she has to do.

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