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 Post subject: Can London fulfill the demand for dance?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 7:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
As anyone who has walked down the highstreet, picked up a magazine or read this website (!) can tell, dance is the new black. Or certainly the new fashionable alternative to the gym. Forget yogalates, forget dieting, the new way to be slim, happy and fit appears to be dance.<P>Which of course is fantastic, but brings with it a question: can London actually fulfill this new demand? <P>I attend a number of studios across London, and increasingly I notice classes are overcrowded, changing rooms are full to bursting, and teachers are harrassed by classes that cover ranges of abilities from "Just walked in to the studio because I read about it in Elle" to "Have danced for 15 years". <P>There is a real question as to whether there are enough sufficiently competent and trained teachers, and enough studios to cater for this new audience.<P>The dance industry can be slow to respond to changes in the demand curve, but it may only have a limited time to react to this new passion for dance and attract a wider customer base, before a new trend comes along. <P>Currently, both new and old dancers are being put off by the overcrowding. It would be a shame to alienate people.<P>I can't tell whether this is due to lack of teachers (and certain forms of dance do seem to have very few teachers) or lack of studio space. <P>What does everyone else think? How can the problem be overcome? <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Can London fulfill the demand for dance?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2002 11:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
That is a very interesting question Maria. I think there are several problems which I can only answer as a teacher in the suburbs which is probably slightly different to some of the studios in London of which you have experience.<P>A number of my classes are full at the moment but these are all my children's classes. My adult classes are adequate and I have had a few new people start this term. One of the difficulties teacher's run into with full classes is that in my experience classes become full sometimes overnight. I have literally had a class of 10 go to a class of 20 from one class to the next, a combination of people bringing friends along and me given the go ahead to a couple of phone enquiries. When that happens you have to cap the class size very quickly. But sometimes enquiries you may have had weeks ago may suddenly turn up and thus you may have more than you normally would in your class.<P>What to do then? Start another class, this can be easy or surprisingly difficult. You have to get hall/studio times at a time you feel will work for that particular class, you have to be free to teach the class or arrange someone else to teach the class and you have to let people know that another class is starting. <P>I agree there seems to have been a dance explosion of late which is great. this again has happened fairly suddenly and if there is a shortage of teachers the demand for them will not be fulfilled overnight as a good teacher will have spent years training. Predicting trends can also be difficult it can take a film like Billy Elliot to get everyone rushing to the barre and again that can be an overnight thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Can London fulfill the demand for dance?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 5:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 2172
Location: London
Personally I have always enjoyed dance classes that were small because the attention from the teacher is that much better. Of course, this is not good for the teacher - having a small class. I remember years ago the reason I stopped going to Pineapple Dance Studios was that classes became absolutely full and no cap was imposed on the size. We were literally bumping into each other. Plus there was a discrepancy in ability levels that was never addressed. It just seemed to be a case of getting as many people into the class as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Can London fulfill the demand for dance?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 3:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
I think there can be pressures from the studio to pack people in, as obviously this means they make more money. I have heard the receptionists at some studio give completely inadequate or wrong advice about levels of class, and one does wonder whether they are told just to let anyone in.<P>Some teachers, especially gifted and experienced ones, can manage large classes with mixed ability, other teachers get harrassed. I once saw a teacher shout at a girl who was unable to do pirouettes. It was extremely clear that this girl was out of her depths, but I was so appalled that the teacher's solution to this was verbal abuse that I never went back to that class. I felt the people who should be shouted at are the studio managers who fail to regulate attendance. <P>I think there should be a better way of managing the payment system of teachers and studios so there is less pressure to cram people into studio. Like a flat class fee that is divided by the number of people there. Or a studio that manages its cash flow so that teachers receive a standard rate dependent on their experience and ability, irrespective of numbers on that particular day.<P>Dancing like sardines is hardly fun and not the way to encourage people to dance!


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 Post subject: Re: Can London fulfill the demand for dance?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2002 5:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Yes it is difficult especially in places where it is not the teacher that sets the class limits like leisure centres. I know a teacher who has frequently asked for a capping system to be introduced on her very large class of children or for the class to be divided in two with very little response from the management of the leisure centre. That is both unfair on the teacher and on the pupils.<P>The problem is that many institutions like this can't differentiate between aerobics and dance classes. They pack them in to aerobics and feel they can do the same with dance. I personally think they overcrowd aerobics classes too but with dance it is worse - you need space for patterns and travel and to be giving all pupils attention.


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