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Why are people dancing less?
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lilblue
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Joined: 09 May 2009
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Location: Southwest

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject: Why are people dancing less? Reply with quote

I started to learn to dance about 3 years ago now, after much bullying from a friend who had recently tried Ceroc. When I finally caved our first destination was Wilton, but we didn't stop there - we often ended up dancing 3-4 times a week (2 classes & 2 freestyles), and wherever we went seemed to be pretty busy (with the ironic exception of the Verwood Hub which was pretty quiet!).

I have since gained a second horse, which has taken most of my time and money, but what has happened to all those other jivers? With Ceroc Fever at Bramshaw on a Thursday and Ceroc Dorset at Hamworthy Club on a Tuesday already long-gone due to lack of attendance and now Thursdays at Wilton holding their last night this week I wonder what is happening to our Southern Jive Scene.

So I pose the question - why aren't you dancing anymore? And what would make you come back?

P.S. The lovely Miss Windale is teaching a Strictly Themed class this Thursday at Wilton, all attendees are asked to wear something sparkly, I shall look forward to seeing some of you there!
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Morpheus
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question lilblue, I was wondering that myself. I know there has been some attrition to WCS (guilty as charge m'lud) but other than that I'm not sure.

DYD in Winchester on a Tuesday was busy when I went a month or so ago (WCS at The Barn was off that night). The Hilt's always busy and I went to Ceroc Newbury on Thursday and that was heaving. The only common theme I can see is a surfeit of ladies at classes but I'm told that's a perennial problem. I guess things will pickup with the televising of "Strictly...".

By the way thanks for the dance last night and if you're such an awesome dancer after only 3 years perhaps there's hope for me yet (kidding! - my dancing felt really good last night and I definitely feel more confident on the dance floor now, I suspect it's a result of Breeze plus all my friends who were there last night at Wilton to dance with).
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Steve
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Money I guess. We are all still in economic hard times. People may not necessarily be giving up completely, but just cutting back on number of nights. I hadn't noticed any change before summer at the venues I attend, and even over the summer, well numbers overall always drop in the heat. But... coming out of summer, I have also noticed one or two MJ nights I have attended have not been as busy as I expected.

Plus, you only have to blink and some two year experienced spawn of satan Shakin' Stevens Green Door fan thinks he can set up his own freestyle night these days Smile. Lots of competition with a pretty fluid customer base means some venues will go in and out of fashion.


As to WCS, it might contribute in a small way, but I don't really think WCS has much to do with it. Although we are extremely lucky in this area to have a thriving WCS scene, it still doesn't rival the top well attended MJ nights. And virtually all WCS dancers in this area still do both (if not more) dances. Variety is the spice of life Smile.
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Olly
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Steve that WCS has very little effect on MJ attendance numbers. As Steve says, most people who go to WCS still dance MJ. The slight effect it does have though is that, where dancers might have gone to MJ twice a week, they may do 1 of each instead. The numbers going to WCS still remain small compared to MJ and I expect this to continue.

The main reason for decreasing numbers (particularly at some class nights) I think it is purely down to the current economic climate and the ever increasing cost of fuel. Mad Added to that, it is very difficult to encourage new people into dancing in the current climate as they are reluctant to commit money to any new leisure activity - no matter how much it represents value for money. This means with the natural attrition experienced at class nights, numbers are bound to decrease. Sad

Another factor is the amount of start up freestyles in the area, which can only mean that there are less dancers per venue. Some new nights develop and some temporarily increase 'choice' for a short while before disappearing. We all know the best established freestyle nights should survive, but at the moment it is only natural that numbers will appear down with so much choice around. For the dancer, that might not be a bad thing, but for operators it is much more of an issue!

Although some venues have increased the cost of entry by up to a pound, generally they have remained static for what seems years, however the cost of fuel has rocketed and must now be a major consideration when planning the dance diary for the week. Personally, I would still rather travel a distance if an event has a good reputation rather than maybe save money and attend a more local event I might not enjoy so much.

This is where car sharing seems to make sense financially and enviromentally and I expect that this option will increase more and more Smile

I think many people still want to dance as much as possible, but when money is tight, something has got to give and it usually starts with leisure activities. Saying that, I know some people who would rather not eat than miss dancing - now that is hard core! Laughing
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Michael H
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have to disagree with the last two posts on two points.

Firstly other dance forms like WCS are taking people away from MJ and why they are allowed to openly advertise on a MJ site is beyond us – shooting ourselves in the foot! The same also applies to Blues. This is particularly relevant when Jive is under threat.

Secondly, whilst we agree that money is an issue, the main problem in the South East Dorset area is a total lack of challenge. That is to say that the policy that crept into the end of MoJives reign has, after a promising start (Richard Park), been allowed to go down the same path under Ceroc. The intermediate classes have been made “easy” so that all can get them, and they are drag on for far too long, but this all leads to the more experienced being bored by the lack of challenge – so what do they do? They give up - or some turn to other dance forms for the challenge. Coupled with a change in the type of music (slower and more unfamiliar), and unpopular teachers, people don’t attend anymore. We are used to more experienced teachers some of whom were ex-champions, now its inexperienced youngsters.

The pavilion used to be heaving on a Thursday lesson evening and on the Saturday night freestyle. As did Hamworthy, where we have known 37 ladies to be moved around during a lesson. There the Tuesday night has gone and the once very popular Monday night we understand is not well attended.

We have made this plea before – please can we go back to how it was. It’s hard to believe from a financial point of view that a thriving business has allowed numbers to fall drastically.
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bengy81
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder if some of this is just venues going in and out of fashion? Also when you start dancing the people you learn and dance regularly with will naturally drift away a bit. I've witnesssed this over the 6 months I've been dancing. I'm still dancing at least 3 times a week in Southampton, two classes and one freestyle. The hilt and mo jive are always brimming with people and I danced at DYD's Totton freestyle last night and it was so busy you could hardly move. Veerwood is also very busy these days everytime I've been there.
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TVguy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I think it is down to certain organisers being greedy and trying to get something going in every area. I won`t mention any names but I do feel we will lose some good nights next year due to these people. Be fair..stay on your own patch.

ALSO..The situation is not helped by the amount of charity and birthday freestyles that go on. Don`t get me wrong, I have no problem with giving money to charity but when there is a charity event on, it obviously it takes away custom from already struggling organisers. This weekend alone we have a 70`s charity night being advertised to a lot of jivers and a charity jiveathon on Sunday.
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Andy McGregor
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've given this matter a lot of thought. We have two class nights on a Tuesday and a Thursday and two weekly freestyles on a Friday and a Sunday plus two or 3 freestyles a month. We've been established for ages but our Thursday and Friday nights are relatively new.

Our long-established nights have seen no decline at all and our dances, with the odd exception are very busy - the quieter nights come when the dancers are spread thin by clashing freestyles - my guess is that people factor in the fuel cost when making their decision and stay local if they can. Having said that, we have 4 regulars who make a 60 mile round trip once or twice a week.

Our new Friday freestyle is OK but not packed. However, our new class night is starting slowly compared to similar launches in the past. I'm wondering if it's due to people not wanting to take on a new hobby due to the economic uncertainty. We're still getting new people, just less of them. Also I'm starting to question if it was the right time to set up a class in a venue that will easily take a lesson with 150 dancers - however, we are reassured the dancers are still out there because we got over 200 one Thursday when the Jive Aces visited.

Those of us who have been around for a while saw something similar to this a few years ago when there was the sub-prime crisis causing fear of recession. Numbers were down for a couple of months and then slowly crept back to normal. However, what's different this time is that it's much more competitive.

Did anyone mention that dance organisers are running businesses and that business is war? We need to ensure that our customers are not the casualties of the turf wars between dance businesses. One thing that turns customers into casualies is to complain to your customers about the actions of your competitors. If your competitors are acting illegally you should make sure they have their day in court, if they are trading within the law you need to make sure you box clever and trade smarter. Always remember, your customers came to learn to dance and came to dance - they did not come to listen to you bleating about the guy down the road who leafleted your venue's car park!
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The Purveyor
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TVguy wrote:


ALSO..The situation is not helped by the amount of charity and birthday freestyles that go on. Don`t get me wrong, I have no problem with giving money to charity but when there is a charity event on, it obviously it takes away custom from already struggling organisers. This weekend alone we have a 70`s charity night being advertised to a lot of jivers and a charity jiveathon on Sunday.



OH YES!!! BRING ON THE CHARITY EVENTS Very Happy
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Southern Jiver
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there are a number of factors involved here, and I don't necesarily agree that less people are dancing these days. As has already been suggested, I think that one of the factors involved is like the pub popularity factor. Certain pubs will become known as a meeting place and for a while everyone and their friends will turn up and make the place a happening pub. Over time, the crowd will change their preferences for whatever reason and another pub will become the place to go. I think this can be seen in the Jive area also. Once word gets out that there are lots of good dancers at a particular venue, or a teacher gets publicity as being particularly good etc, then the popularity of that class will increase exponentially as friends tell friends. This has a snowball effect. However, perhaps that particular venue then becomes too crowded or the better dancers decide to go elsewhere, or the teacher changes and attendance dwindles somewhat.

It's true that there are many more freestyles than there were but I also think that there are many more Jivers than there were. Organisations like Ceroc Live, Ceroc Fever, DYD, Jive Riot, The Thing, MoJive to name a few, all provide classes during the week which are probably still attracting new Jivers. This all adds to the Jiving pool in the South. Also, when Jivers get to a certain level of expertise, they could possibly decide not to attend classes so much and prefer to go to freestyles for their dancing.

I don't think that people are necessarily dancing less in spite of the cost of fuel etc unless, as Olly suggests, they go to more local venues instead of the more distant ones. Yes, some people are also learning WCS, Argentinian Tango and Blues but they are most likely learning these new styles as well as keeping up their Jiving. It's also nonsense to complain that there are too many Charity events and Birthdays. That is a ridiculous statement.

If you attended the Dance Yourself Dizzy Freestyle at Totton last saturday where they had to close the doors at 9:00pm because the floor capacity had been reached, you wouldn't think that less people were Jiving these days. Smile
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Philsmove
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy McGregor wrote:
.. Also I'm starting to question if it was the right time to set up a class in a venue that will easily take a lesson with 150 dancers -... !


Tricky one Andy

As discussed in the numbers thread

A large, half empty venue, can lack atmosphere and can put people off

A small, over crowded venue can put people off

There are certainly classes, I do not attend because the dance floor is too small

I believe over crowding was a contributory factor in the demise of one Bristol Freestyle

I my part of the world, the biggest, most popular classes and freestyles do not seem to be experiencing a downturn

I gather the less popular freestyles are becoming less popular
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Jiveonaut
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree that the general economic situation + the huge rise in petrol costs would equal a reduction in the frequency of people going dancing: to take Lilblue's example 2 weeknights and 2 freestyles would equal approx £16 + £18= £34 , add in some drinks (a fiver a night say) and an average round trip of 60 miles, at 30mpg at £5.50 = £65 a week, or £325 in a five week month. Which is still much better than belonging to a gym and much more fun per £ than jogging! Still, you can save £162.50 a month easy by halving your dancing sessions.

The now more discerning dancer is also much more demanding: Olly's right about here today gone tomorrow operators: they won't last because they don't deliver consistent quality. It also means that the established nights have to keep delivering, as they may suffer too if they get a reputation for something. Some venues may suffer because of their locaton, others because they have more than one night a week, and if the customer has halved their dancing one of the nights, usually the quieter of the two, is the one that gets dropped. Its almost a kind of dance darwinism. Plus, they are businesses and have to pay for themselves.

I do take slight umbrage at Michael H's comment about "inexperienced youngsters" now teaching instead of "ex-champions". I am definitely biased as I demo for two of these 'youngsters', indeed have seen them go from their first night ever as new beginners to now doing as I'm told on stage as they teach Razz , but everyone has to start somewhere, they've had to pass courses that are not easy, they've worked very hard and in the 11 or so months they've been teaching have blossomed into very competent teachers indeed. I think they're the equal of any teacher I've ever demo'd for, right up there with most of the teachers I've ever been taught by, and certainly don't deserve to be written off just because they're new at it and much further away from their bus passes than either of us. They're also fantastic dancers in their own rights.

You could equally say that the jaded old wrinklies who won a competition when John Major was PM and have done the same stuff ever since have been pensioned off to be replaced by youth, energy and a lot of ability. I think in those terms its a good thing! Change is good, and even if not good often needed!

I do agree though with the idea that the active promotion of Blues and WCS is having an impact. I'm sure the numbers in ledgers disprove it, but I know several people who have been pulled into WCS's gravitational field and now rarely appear in an MJ room. Mind you, there is also a lot of truth in the saying "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer..." Twisted Evil

ha ha, we're all friends really. This isn't golf... Crashing on, I also think that all the local venues are missing a trick regarding the very good dancers. There's very little for them at the moment. Most venues pitch themselves at the middling intermediate level: ie quite handy, certainly very good in a social context, but comfortable and once at that level happy to stay there. Its where the numbers are. But there is a lack of challenge for those who want it. Ceroc have had a go at addressing this with their new format and their separate advanced move, weekenders are great, workshops are great but often they seem to be more intermediate stuff, Blues or WCS ( Shocked ). If you want to see how far you can take things, its hard to find the opportunity to do so, particularly if you don't have a regular partner. What I would like is a weekly venue that openly and unashamedly pitches itself at, and provides opportunities for, the extremely good dancer! Of course, it would need to be near where I live, charge not a lot, and not take place on a Tuesday!!!
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RichardP
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michael H wrote:
We are used to more experienced teachers some of whom were ex-champions, now its inexperienced youngsters.

It's these kinds of ridiculous comments along with the sexist "women can't teach" remarks which cause teachers to walk away from venues (we can vote with our feet too!) In my opinion there are dancers who are far too quick to criticise and never compliment.

Michael I find your post a fascinating mix of contradictions - you state me as "a promising start" in the same paragraph as your nonsense about inexperienced youngsters, I am in fact one of the youngest Ceroc teachers on the South coast. We could open that out to all the independants too and I'm pretty sure I'd still be in the bottom 3 by age.

Your comments on the music being "slower and more unfamiliar" was something I introduced when we first transitioned from Mo'Jive to Ceroc and numbers increased so I don't think you're speaking for the majority there.

My personal view on the reduced numbers of dancers attending class nights is that this is a direct result of the current economic climate, people simply have less money. That said, numbers at the Hilt in Chandlers Ford where I teach for Ceroc Fever are still gradually climbing so it's not all bad!!

PS. I'd be interested to find out which ex-champions you are more used to being taught by Michael Rolling Eyes
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Morpheus
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RichardP wrote:
I am in fact one of the youngest Ceroc teachers on the South coast


And one of the very best in my not so very humble opinion...
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Dizzybee
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are two recent topics on here 'Where Have The Dancers Gone?' and 'Womens Jewellery'

The Jive/Dance Scene, is to learn a new Social dance, meet new people, have fun & build confidence, and for the ladies to have a bloody good excuse to dress up - and this Forum to state your views, complaints etc etc etc... and I'm sure SJ appreciates all comments and he also likes to see new Forum members appear...

If your all worried about keeping your organisations going and encouraging 'New' members onto the Dance floor and on here... then I'm sorry guys but you are all writing your own 'Sorry but doors closed due to insufficient numbers' If the list to women starts to state..

Dancer
NO Stilettos
NO Jewellery Inc/ Bracelets - necklaces - Rings even engagement rings!!! Uuhhh!!
NO Long hair (I really do hope this was a jest post!!!) Shocked (a bigger Uuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Teachers
Can't teach unless you have certificates or those fluffy rosettes
Can't teach unless your an ex champion
Can't teach if your a youngster

We have dance organisations from different ends of Hampshire on here, and it seems there are those at one end who are thriving and have new members arriving on a weekly basis and ARE in the 'younger' new generation gap, who WILL move with the times and there are those who are the Ex-Champions, Fluffy rosette point scoring oldies who stick with the rule book and can't or won't get out of that bubble.

Someone has stated how much on an average a 5 week month of dancing costs.. Good value he says.. then he goes on to say halve your lessons and you'll save £162 a month.. Bloody good sales pitch that is.. NOT!! Rolling Eyes

WCS/Blues/Tango in my opinion has no relevance to MJ at all and those 'Younger' teachers/organisations who have incorporated all the dance styles under one roof, will be the ones who will survive and the rest need to come out of their bubbles & fluffy rosettes!! Idea

Conclusion
Ship up with the Younger new generation or ship out
Stop scaring newcomers off with the ludicrous Do's & Don'ts (Cut hair etc) I can't get my head round this one Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes
Concentrate on your class nights and REALLY look after your newcomers & your Freestyles will look after themselves.

Set up a Car share post on here.. maybe include it on the 'Where are you dancing this weekend'
Where your dancing
Where your travelling from
Where you can pick up
How many your able to take
& then post a private mail post and sort details out direct.

Finally its not all down to the Teacher/Organisers, experience dancers can help too... your doing the classes, you've done the Freestyles, how about just giving that little bit on a class night to those who are new and pass your experience on and trust me that newcomer will return.. I did 3yrs ago. Wink

www.dizzybee.ewebsite.com
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Last edited by Dizzybee on Tue Oct 11, 2011 5:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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