Ballroom Dance > Will ballroom studios close after the baby boomer gen pass on?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Franz Jostopovich, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I do worry about the emphasis on competition in the high school and college crowd. People who were on the football team in high school do not tend to come back to it as a social activity when they retire.
  2. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    football as a social activity for a 55 year old... heavens I wonder why not?
    Dancing Irishman likes this.
  3. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member


    Dance is best viewed as a collaborative/cooperative effort rather than a competitive/antagonistic one, as many other facets of life are. But somehow we've been marketed to believe that competition is always good, oftentimes for business reasons.

    Has any AM on DWTS ever taken up partner dancing as a regular life activity, in the decade or so it's been on the air?
  4. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Same here. I never even saw any partner dancing, other than grab-n-sway slow dancing. There was disco, but to get into the discos back then you had to be 21. By the time I was old enough, disco was dying out. And it's not clear to me, from what I've been told by people who were there, that very much of the disco dancing was partner dancing in any kind of hold or frame.

    The last of the franchise studios in my area disappeared about ten years ago. It's all independent studios and clubs (USA Dance, etc.) now.
  5. RiseNFall

    RiseNFall Well-Known Member

    I know others have said this, but just in case there is any doubt, those of us in our 50's did NOT grow up with ballroom dancing or even partner dancing. Zero partner dancing when I was in high school in the late 60's early 70's. Really, Bob Dylan's singing does not lend itself to partner dancing. (I was going to say Rolling Stones, but I can think of some that is good WCS). It was never on my list of things I wanted to do if I had the time or money. I can't really explain exactly how this happened to me...alien brainwashing or something? And, despite my user name, when I first started taking lessons I refused to learn the waltz. My exact statement was, "life is short and I would rather salsa". What can I say? They did an excellent job of not gloating as I came around....
    Sania likes this.
  6. It was a poor choice of words in the title I created. I realize that now after reading some insightful replies. I was generalizing to get a sounding board of how much was true or not about correlations between generations & tradition. I guess I didn't really know how else to ask about the future of ballroom studios without being vague, which might lead to an unfocused thread. It's great to read your firsthand experience & how your opinions of partner dance has changed from high school to today, growing up in past generations. Also the differences & similarities of modern generations compared & contrasted with past generations & how they make up the student bodies of ballroom studios.

    The football analogy is a good one. Alumni could revisit the glory days with flag football. Sort of like doing single time or 4/4 time swing instead of the lindy they used to be able to do. I'll probably be the same someday, do what I can to keep moving & for the enjoyment of it. I just wonder how many people will be there in the studios with me then.

    I noticed some of the younger ladies come into the franchises for the intro lesson & have taken some form of ballet, tap or jazz when they were kids of pre teens. They'll walk out after going from a free or $35 intro lesson to being offered a set for a few hundred dollars. If they are persuaded to bau the 3-5 intro set of lessons, they'll avoid taking the last lesson, so that they won't get the renewal/medal program chat. They may have seen something like dwts or a pbs comp & expect a tall dark & handsome hunk for a teacher. In reality they'll more often get a guy around their own age who isn't going to give flashy choreograph & it's different than what she'd anticipated. Young guys are even less interested in trying it than older bachelors or married men, because of the macho thing or it isn't hip. Young couples sometimes take group classes at a recreational center or independent studio once or for a week or at most month series. After that they disappear. I always certain there are fun people to dance with at studios when I go out now, but the future of this look uncertain.
    latingal likes this.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry I Don't Dance: Why Men Refuse to Move
    By Maxine Leeds Craig

    I want to read this book that just came out 2 months ago!

    Currently a preview at GoogleBooks

    Take up country western dancing ! No shortage of young women there from what I can see.

    Argentine Tango is another dance that doesn't pan out like the performance tango you see on TV, but women stay anyhow (although there is a high drop out rate like most dances).

    Franz, I see you are 23. You have many years ahead of you unless you are unfortunate in one way or another. Learning to dance is like putting money into your retirement account and getting all of that compound interest over the years. (and if you aren't onto that one, you should be!)
  8. I began at 17, so haven't gotten to an intermediate/advanced level yet. I've also only seen the ballroom & associated scenes within a 50 mile radius of central Los Angeles, Ca. The regulars at the studios are more polite than the occasional younger guests that drop in. The latter more often than the former have a snooty sort of attitude, maybe they're used to dancing with their coach only & only few match up. They also seem to prefer latin & standard, which aren't so commonly danced socially in this area. Most students in southern California at taught smooth & rhythm.

    There's always been physical activities to do for any age, so I'm not sure the prevalence of electronic entertainment in more recent decades itself has hindered interest in ballroom. It's mostly always been a niche crowd or underground thing, where mambo/salsa, swing & country have been more of social bar scenes, is that it? I'm not really concerned with getting more young women in for myself. I'm just curious if without more interest from younger folks at studios if studios will then see a decline in the future. I think some here have mentioned that it was never really a big hit with the kids until they grew up. Is it inevitable that the same will continue to happen, thus sustaining full studios at a consistent level?
  9. Ailuene

    Ailuene Active Member

    I can see where you're coming from, but I also definitely want to weigh in to maybe help elucidate some of these things since I am a collegiate dancer that loves to go to the socials in the surrounding area when school doesn't conflict.

    First of all, yes some will have a snooty attitude. But I think that's true about most age groups - you're always going to get some. Some of that perceived snootiness might also stem from the fact that they might feel out of place at community socials. At least for me, I still kind of feel like a fish out of water whenever I go to a local social dance. Don't get me wrong - I always have a lot of fun - but when it seems like everyone else already knows one another and you're just kind of intruding on a pre-established paradigm, it's very intimidating. As a result, I know my friends and I will often sit on the side just talking. Not because we don't want to dance, but honestly because we're really nervous.

    As for the Latin and Standard thing, I wonder if they might have just learned Latin and Standard more and are more comfortable with it. With most of the collegiate scene in Texas at least, our coaches focus mainly on Standard at most universities. As a result, yes, most people our age would prefer Latin and Standard. I would like to learn Smooth and Rhythm someday, but for now it's just not really feasible for my wallet. But I will also likely prefer latin and standard (mostly standard) as well, simply because I'm more familiar with it.

    I do fully cede that there will be a few snooty younger people that drop in - but just know that some of the others of those people might just be more scared than anything. :)
    latingal likes this.
  10. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    You know, I don't think that there's anything particularly new about dance schools or snooty dancers - they've existed across generations. Does anybody remember Mr. Turverdrop from Dickens's Bleak House? If I recall, his son did all the hard work running a dance academy while the father mooched off of him. So, Prince Turverdrop presumably had enough dance students to support a family. (Yes, I realize that it's an 1850-ish work of fiction, but hey, everything old is new again!)
    Sania likes this.
  11. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    The bait-and-switch tactic and teaser rate pricing is what's collapsing the world economy. Everything is FREE these days, until the real insidious bill comes due. This mindset goes with the instant gratification lots of people demand, which goes against the grain of this silly partner dancing thing where it takes lots of time and effort to get decent.
  12. jerseydancer

    jerseydancer Active Member

    Just a note about future empty-nesters to consider, people who are in their 50th and 60th now, had kids earlier in their life, so by 45-50 they are mostly done paying for college and weddings. Many people who are in their 30th now, not even married yet, the ones their mid 40th just starting to have kids, so by the time these two generations get to empty-nester, no college kids status, they will be closer to 65-70th age group, unless the medicine drastically improves, that leaves much smaller bucket of healthy empty-nesters to consider dancing
  13. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    As a counterpoint, there are a lot more married couples choosing to have 1 or 0 kids as opposed to 2-3, which meas there will still be a decent number of established professionals without kids taking up every waking hour of their non-work time (and I hope by the time I'm a parent it will be more acceptable to eschew the manic "kids must try everything" craze of the past couple decades).
  14. Aura

    Aura Active Member

    For what its worth, I'm in my early twenties and have been giving my studio plenty of business. I intend to give them more when I actually have a paying job. ;)

    The studio I frequent compared to the others in the area has the youngest demographic, with some steady students in their thirties. You can see it when we all get together for a local comp or show. One in particular seems to consist almost entirely of retirees.

    What's also nice is that many of my formerly home-schooled classmates know some basic elements of Swing. They must have learned it somewhere. One of my friends now dances Polka and Swing with his girlfriend after getting some pointers from more experienced friends. Interestingly, he also told me during our freshman year that he never went to the home-school dances because he didn't think it was his thing. Look at him now! I've found that a lot of classmates are interested in partner dancing of some sort because they recognize it as something social and physically beneficially. And while most might not do anything too serious without the financial aid of a parent, it's not the only option. It's already been said but there are Latin and country clubs that offer lessons at little to no cost.

    I'm definitely trying to get the word out at my university about this form of dance since a good number of people seem willing to bite, but what they do with it is up to them. Still, it reassures me that they show that interest.

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