Ballroom Dancing is a multi-billion dollar industry that will only continue to grow, especially now that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded provisional recognition to Ballroom Dancing and Dancesport. According to a recent press release by WGBH-Television, more than one million people enroll in ballroom dance classes each year. Since 1985, the number of amateur ballroom dancers has increased by 25% each year.
The timeless popularity of social dancing, combined with the growing interest in the trendy dances, has proven to be a winning combination around the world. We are confident it will produce the same results in Bellingham.
According to the information published by the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce, Whatcom County had a total population of 166,814 for the year 2000 and is estimated to grow approximately 5% per year to 212,000 by the year 2010. The city of Bellingham had a total population of 68,890 in the year 2001. This figure has grown 30%, since 1990. Bellingham is surrounded by the smaller towns of Ferndale, Blaine, Lynden, Sumas, Everson, and Nooksak.
U&ME Dance feels that the population of Bellingham, as well as these smaller towns, are all potential customers. We have divided these potential customers into the following groups:
As indicated in the previous table and illustration, our market is limitless. Everyone who has the ability to walk can learn to dance. It is our job to present dance to these people and introduce and develop interest in the community for ballroom and social dance.
For children and teens it is important to show the fun in dance. We can introduce Ballroom Dance through Junior and Senior High School dance and drill teams. The United States Amateur Ballroom Dance Association (USABDA) has made generous efforts across the country to develop dance in younger generations. There is a USABDA chapter in Bellingham, which will assist in getting dance introduced to this age group. We will also look to affiliate our studio with the local Jazz and Ballet studios for mutual advertising benefits.
Colleges across the country have been adding Ballroom dance classes to their curriculum and have been closely involved in Dancesport competitions whose sell-out crowds rival those of football and basketball games. Western Washington University does not currently have a Ballroom Dance curriculum, however, there is a swing club, Western Washington University Swing Kids. We would like to start by including the swing kids in our studio events and assisting their efforts to spread the popularity of swing. We hope to work with the University to offer classes to their students for credit.
Single and married adults between the ages of 25 and 55 have traditionally been the biggest supporters of the ballroom dance studio community. This group is generally looking for new things to try and do. For singles we offer another way to meet people, and date. We will also have special wedding packages, which offer the new couple options for learning their first dance. For married couples dance is something new to learn together and provides a great social outlet. By working with the local clubs, we can be sure there are places for people to use the dance they are learning and in turn spread dance further into the community.
Retired people and seniors (ages 55 and up) represent a small section of our market. However these people usually turn into long-term dancers. Dance is a wonderful hobby, and low impact exercise that benefits the mind, the body, and social aspects of life. For this age group learning to dance is done for reasons such as something they have always wanted to do, something they used to do and would like to do again, for use on vacations, or an exercise to keep their bodies healthy. We plan to offer our services to local nursing homes, as well as to those who come in to the studio for lessons.
The ballroom dance industry has experienced substantial growth at the rate of 25% each year since 1985. There are two key factors for the rise in demand for dance instruction and places to partnership dance:
The popularity of partnership dancing has grown immensely in the last decade. Those who are familiar with dance are well aware of how fun and addicting an evening of dancing can be. Those who have not yet experienced the thrill of moving gracefully around the dance floor with a partner, need a convenient, relaxed atmosphere, where they can feel comfortable learning and utilizing current popular dances. U&ME Dance seeks to provide its customers with affordable quality instruction in a fun and supportive environment.
There are currently no other ballroom or social dance studios in Bellingham or Whatcom County. However, there are a few independent dance teachers, who teach classes at Whatcom Community College, at local bars, or rent floor space. There is also a local group, Dance Connection, that holds dances on Friday nights at the local Eagles Hall. This group does not have a studio and its main purpose is to find places for people to dance and enjoy themselves. The founder and administrator of Dance Connection has recently moved out of town and asked U&ME Dance to take over the newsletter, and Friday night dances effective in July 2002.
This leaves the independent teachers as our only competition. U&ME Dance plans to work in concert with these instructors and will offer a place for teachers to rent space to continue teaching on their own, and a place to go out dancing. Our affordable pricing, elegant facility and quality instruction will be a much needed bonus to Bellingham.