Ballroom Dance > Ballroom and the economy

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by pygmalion, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I was tentatively planning to go back and visit my old home town for a ballroom comp this spring. But alas. Still, a month before that comp should be happening, there's no sign of it. The conclusion my friends and I have drawn is that the poor US economy killed that comp, at least for this year. I guess I'll go visit later this year for another comp. I sincerely hope the economy's rebounded by then.

    Just curious. What economy-related effects, if any, have you seen on the ballroom "business" and culture, where you live? Have you seen the shakedown I'm seeing? Have you seen anything good come out of the economic crunch? Comments?
  2. geoffbjcn

    geoffbjcn New Member

    In my opinion, the "ballroom business" IS related to economy. After all, it takes quite a bit of investment, not only your time and devotion, but also financially. Take the ballroom dance scene in Asia for example, the top dancers are mostly from countries (regions) with relatively better economic environment, like Japan. And now China is catching up, which is in parallel with its economic development. Economy contributes to the "ballroom business" in many perspectives. First, it has the money to invite best dancers to give performance and trainings in the country. Second, it can organize more compititions, which is a great way to promote the dancesport and attract more people to participate. Third, dancers would have the money to pay for the advanced trainings and trips to countries with higher level of ballroom dancing. And I'm sure there are many other factors that are not on top of my head.

    Maybe this is a bit off topic, but they are just my 2 cents. :)
  3. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    If this is the comp that happened in 2003 but didn't happen in 04 or 05, I'm not sure economy had much to do with it. If it is the event I'm thinking of (and working on resurrecting), it had more to do with lack of volunteer help than anything. :)
  4. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    And, if budgets need to be cut, some might think that dancing is - well, frivolous! Not you or me, of course, we know that it is an essential.
    That said, people have been known to put food, shelter - and even clothing, above dancing! I know it's shocking, I hope you are all sitting down. Wait - of course you are! Or you could be in other postions if you have a laptop computer.

    :lol: :wink:
  5. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    If budgets had to be cut, I would probably cut back on my dancing, but never cut it out. Wash your mouth out chachachacat!

    I have actually cut down on the groceries, etc to be able to do more dancing. How obsessed is that!!?? :lol:
  6. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    I am not surprised to hear it. I have known some serious danceaholics!! 8)
  7. Twilight_Elena

    Twilight_Elena Well-Known Member

    Cutting down on groceries doesn't sound all that strange to me... :roll: :roll:
    Ehm. Explaining... If you go to the grocery store and, besides all the necessary stuff, you also buy... say, jelly beans, an automatic avocado juice maker and a very expensive brand of delicatessen, well I'd cut down on those both for dancing and for my wallet's sake! I'm cutting down my buying chocolates on my way home, because I put on weight and I can save money in the long run that will buy me a new pair of training trousers, or a pair of dance shoes, or more dance lessons!
    All things above considered, I would like to say that I'm not a "save money" person and never was, but dancing has given me many motives. :D So dancing and economy? I've given the subject a little twist. :p

    Twilight Elena

    P.s. Or a little hijack. :wink:
  8. robin

    robin New Member

    I don't think the economy holds a particularly big influence on dance, certainly not at the competitive end. Most competitive dancers I know would rather sell a kidney or two than give up dance!

    I could imagine that a general "fell-good-factor" due to a booming economy might get more people to go out and have fun, and that in turn might include starting ballroom, but even then it depends more on the popularity of ballroom over other forms of entertainment...

    Given the music they play at *some* ballroom events, I could imagine that a gloomy economy might be good for dancing, "music to slit your wrists to" ;).
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I know about that one. Actually, I would've expected events like that to be well-populated, during an economic downturn. Good luck getting it back up and running in 2006.

    For those who don't know what we're talking about, I'm wondering if perhaps less expensive comps, such as those sponsored by USA Dance chapters and college teams, were more popular during the economic downturn. :?
  10. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Are we almost at the part where we talk about getting by on ramen noodles and rolling pennies for gas?? *LOL*

    Maybe everyone can offer up a suggestion of something they gave up in order to have more money for dancing??!! Mine would probably be that I go out with my friends to movies/partying/dinner less often.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of us have sacrificed things to keep dancing. I also know that some people have had to cut back or move on. I'll never forget one lady who used to have the same teacher as I did. The day of her last lesson, she was literally weeping as she explained to me that, as a single parent, she felt she had to choose between more dance lessons and funding her kids' college educations. Obviously, she picked college for the kids. But it was killing her ...
  12. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    When we had kids, we cut back to 2 lessons per month from four. It was a matter of paying the bills/feeding the kids.

    We *used* to take 2 hours per week, but were getting burnt out so we switched to 1 hour/week.

    We are in the process of moving to 1.5 hours every 2 weeks.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I often wonder what happened to her, and whether her kids even appreciated her sacrifice. Or did the dadburned kids flunk out of college. :lol: :lol:

    If I had known then what I know now, I'd have referred her to an independent, pay-as-you go instructor or the group classes around town. But, at the time, all she and I knew about was the franchise. Bummer. :(

    I do think that, for non dance addicts (which leaves many of us out) dance lessons are considered non-essentials. So dance lessons are among the things people cut when money gets tight. Silly people. :wink: :lol: :lol:
  14. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Quite funny, for me it's dinner out, than lunch out... than dance lessons (assuming there is no other expense I can cut)
  15. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    Dancing is a generally expensive hobby and more importantly time-consuming. And that is why people pre-kids and empty-nesters make-up the vast majority of students across the county. Even if it were less expensive I am not sure there would be a dramatic rise in the child rearing population who dance, because I think the basic propblem lies in time.

    I have seen very little effect of the economy on the dancing industry... that is until now. Most competitions are in a slump. I feel very bad for the organizers. Most studios are having trouble selling the extra trips. I have more and more students who are losing jobs or are on the verge of being let go. But it didn't all happen immediatley when the economy crashed. It has taken quite a while.

    I still see a the same amount of people walking in the door to buy intro packages. Group classes are good. General dances are full. All of the regualr dancing activities are moving forward as usual. But getting a new person to agree to a competition, or invest in a dance-suit or gown...

    The large outlays of money give people a reason to pause and reconsider. Usually the response I get now when asking someone if they want to go to a comp or trip or buy something big is that "I need to check my finances" or "I will see if I can budget that out". Which is fine, but that never used to be the answer.

    I think that most of the people that I am in contact with can afford stuff. But there is some anxiety in tossing their money around when they aren't confident that the economy will hold itself together.

    When things first fell apart there was some skepticism as to whether people would actually feel it. Afterall the only people to be immediatley hurt were the huge corporations and people with tons and tons of money invested in the stock market. But now after watching friends and family members one by one lose 6 figure income jobs resort to being a cashier at Target just to insure that they have health insurance for their kids... And here in Connecticut one of the biggest insurance companies is being bought out. Hartford exists because of the insurance companies and now thousands and thousands of people will lose their job. All of Connecticut will suffer.

    I think that most people are fine with their money but mistrust that the economy will be there to support them in the future. And are less willing to part with their money for fear of the future.

    Their money isn't the problem, but instead mistrust in economy.
  16. spatten

    spatten Member

    In the past few years since I have started attending professional competitions (as a spectator) - I have noticed a distinct down turn in attendance at NDCA comps. I do not think this is across the board - but I believe some of the weaker comps are being weeded out.

    To my line of thinking there were just too many NDCA competitions scheduled. They had gotten fat of the 99-00 time frame - if you will. Then people started watching their money more closely (almost across the board). This meant that dancers were more selective in choosing which comps to attend. So the poorer run comps, the poorer venues, and probably just some unlucky comps fell off. Meanwhile I have seen some new strength is some very good competitions.

    It is probably good overall for the NDCA - I think they are being forced to change and improve from many angles. In the end they will be a better industry.
  17. kansas49er

    kansas49er New Member

    Is a bad economy reality overall, or just local? This news release seems to paint a different picture.

    Carnival Corporation had record revenues, record earnings and a record number of passengers in 2004, vice president and COO Howard Frank said during the Carnival Corporation shareholders’ meeting in Southampton, England, last week.

    The company had a 45% increase in revenues year on year to $9.7 billion, with net income rising from $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion.

    About half the world’s cruise passengers, 6.3 million, sailed on Carnival Corporation ships, it was reported at the meeting.

    Frank told shareholders that the rest of 2005 looks very good, with bookings and pricing both up. “Demand is growing stronger and stronger,” he noted.

    According to Carnival Corp. executives, Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises are by far the company’s two strongest brands in North America. They said Windstar Cruises and Seabourn Cruise Line are doing well, but are “not part of major earnings growth.”

    Building the Market

    Since 44% of the passengers carried by the company’s cruise brands last year were first-time cruisers, the company feels it is building the market substantially.

    Frank said Carnival Corporation has about 48% of the capacity in the North American market, with Royal Caribbean next at 31% and the rest of the industry accounting for 21%.

    “We will have 49% of the capacity for North America in 2008, based on what we know today,” he added.

    In Europe the company calculates that it holds 40% of current capacity and expects to have 46% in 2008.

    Frank noted that eight ships, representing a 17% capacity increase, were delivered during 2004 and another eight have been ordered. He said Carnival tries to stay very disciplined in ship orders and was able to use its scale to keep construction costs to $168,000 per berth, well below usual costs.

    The euro-based order for the eight additional newbuilds, at 163,000 euros, is similarly below the norm.

    The six ships on order for the North American market represent $2.9 billion in spending.

    Focused on Europe

    The company is “very focused on the European market,” with eight new ships scheduled to debut in that market in the next few years. The two unassigned ships on order are likely to go to P&O and Costa, although a definite decision will come at the end of this year, Frank said.

    Following the unprecedented capacity growth of seven new ships in 2003 and eight in 2004, Carnival Corporation expects to grow 8.5% this year, 6.3% in 2006, 7.5% in 2007 and 6.6% in 2008, based on the current order book.

    The company is predicting revenue yields of 5%-6%, with net costs “flattish,” except for fuel, which is driving a 3%-4% increase in costs.

    “Despite $7 billion-plus spent for cash purchase of ships, we expect to have excess cash,” Frank told shareholders. He said the company was unlikely to use the money to repay debt unless interest rates spike worldwide, and that it might have a share buyback, or pay increased and/or bonus dividends to shareholders.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I think there may be some localized effects, kansas49er. But I also think Larinda made some good points. The economy moves relatively slowly in either direction. So it might take quite a while before the effects of a slowed economy impact a particular industry. And it might take a while before things pick again, up as well. Increased hiring doesn't necessarily translate into increased consumer confidence. *shrug*

    If the economy magically finishes rebounding tomorrow, I suspect it may be a while before ballroom comp organizers, for example, decide it's worth it to stage a comp and risk losing cash. They might wait a bit ...
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh Lordy. I don't want to go off on a tangent, but the localized economy thing just rung a bell. Did anybody besides me hear a story on NPR last fall in which the commentator went back and interviewed several people who had lost jobs in the post 9-11 slump?

    Several people had recovered very well -- gotten new jobs or changed industries. But there was one town, somewhere in the midwest, in which the people were doing terribly. The one major manufacturer in town had closed, and there just weren't jobs that people could go to.

    Yeah. Local economies can sometimes suffer disproportionately ... :(

    Anyway, back on topic. I find what spatten said about a shakedown in the dance industry to be very interesting. I don't know enough to make an intelligent comment about the dance industry, in particular. I have seen something like that in other industries, and I find the observation very interesting.

    Has anybody else seen something similar in dance comps? Do you think it will help improve the quality, in the long run?
  20. spatten

    spatten Member

    It is at best an unsound idea to qualify the state of the economy based on the purchase of luxury items such as cruises.

    For examply the fur industry seems to realize a very similary amount of sales irellevant of the fluctuations of the market and economy. They seem to sell the same amount of coats in a recession as they do in a boom. Perhaps the dance world als operates in a strange fashion.

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