Dance schools and studios in central Victoria have helped form the Dance Arts Alliance as they call for clarification from the state government about when they can reopen.
More than 220 business have joined the alliance after they were classified as gyms or indoor fitness centres. It means they cannot open until November when Victoria takes the last step in its recovery.
Dance Arts Alliance chair Mike Harrison-Lamond said the inconsistency and lack of clarification meant the dance industry had been completely left behind.
"The (state) government don't have a plan for us to reopen," Mr Harrison-Lamond said. "They were fine with us open in June, when kids (were deemed) lower risk. Initially we we able to have unlimited kids in studios
"Now, for some bizarre reason, we are grouped with gyms. Dance schools have good contact tracing and have always gone above and beyond in terms of safety.
"Regional studios will provide a litmus test for metropolitan areas and we need support now.
"It should have been a day of celebration yesterday but we have empty studios in towns with no cases. There is such a critical need for government to review this right now."
Sharon Elfert who runs CV Dance Studio said she has spent $8000 of her own savings to keep her business afloat during the pandemic.
"I hope I don't close, I would be devastated but there's always that chance," she said. "I'm still paying rent on the studio. If it wasn't JobKeeper I would have closed down and lost my house and car.
"The government is doing good thing. This is unprecedented but it is such a silly thing that kids can play footy and go to school but they can't do dance classes. The lack of confidence in kids I have seen is clear. (Their confidence is gone without that social interaction. I really feel for kids mental well-being."
Sharon Saunders has been running her business, Sharon Saunders Dancers, for 29 years. Normally she has 120 students - mostly primary school aged - enrolled at her dance studio.
"We can't open until November when we would normally close for the year," she said. "I just can't see the common sense in it. Kids can play in playgrounds that are not sanitised but we can't have 10 dancers in a fully-santised studio.
"We are COVID safe-trained and have a plan implemented, we're ready. We just want to know where we sit and get the doors open."
The Department of Health and Human Services in regional Victoria dancing outside with up to 10 people is permitted under the Third Step. Participants must keep at least 1.5 metres distance between each other.
Dance studios can also run classes outside with groups of up to 10 people plus the instructor.
"Indoor physical recreation facilities, including gymnastics and dance studios are currently closed under Victorian restrictions as the nature of exercising in an indoor space carriers a high risk of transmission, due to sweat and heaving breathing, as well as shared equipment," a DHHS spokesperson said.
"We understand everyone is making huge sacrifices and the closure of gyms and dance studios has been difficult, but this strategy is working and we are driving cases down.
"Under both the regional Victoria and the metropolitan Melbourne roadmaps, indoor physical recreation facilities are scheduled to reopen in the Last Step.
"The Last Step is expected to start from November 23 subject to having no new cases and public health advice."