by Anaximander Lavoie / August 2007 / I wanted to touch a subject people usually don’t talk about: the financial side …
I wanted to touch a subject people usually don’t talk about: the financial side in DanceSport.
There are many markets in the world that means different business models. It depends on the financial situation in that area as well as the cultural background. It’s nice to see how ballroom dancing spread from it’s original source in Europe.
Of course it was brought to Europe from other sources: Africa and South America. The biggest and most attractive market today for the average dance teacher is probably Asia and North America. If we take Vancouver, Canada as an example we can clearly see that all of the high earnings in the ballroom dancing field is created by the richer than most local, Hong Kong and Taiwan community, particularly the ladies.
Hong Kong has been the top source of immigrants to Canada, because in order to attract investment capital, Canada, like other immigrant-receiving countries, introduced the business and entrepreneur categories for immigrants with business backgrounds and with high net worth. Between 1990 and 1994, almost 173,000 Hong Kong immigrants landed in Canada. ( from 1843 until July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was a British Colony, and since July 1, 1997 it is part of China. Immigrants from Hong Kong, whether they remained in Canada or have returned to Hong Kong, their influence in Canadian society will forever be part of Canadian culture.
The scenario there is that because of the luck of trust into the future of Hong Kong, which recently went back into the hands of communist China, rich families started immigrating to the more peaceful and safe North America. Since all of the business ties are in Hong Kong the husbands decided to risk it, and stay more in Hong Kong while the wife and kids are in Vancouver to have a home and obtain Canadian citizenship. Since business in Hong Kong is going well and the communists aren’t extreme, the kids grew up and got a North American education some ladies have gone back. I haven’t even once seen a Caucasian lady in Vancouver yet taking a private ballroom dance class or competing in a pro-am category. The middle range teacher in Vancouver costs about $50.00 Canadian an hour. As we all know it, all the lessons are single ladies and rarely couples. The most expensive in the city is $120.00 Canadian for 45min. There are hardly any lady teachers in Vancouver, and if there are any they charge less than the males of the same level. Some feel that the specific style entertainment for women, evening dance and tea dance is not profiting the profession and taking away from dancing competitions which is an income source for the organizers and teachers. For a Pro-Am (professional -amateur dancing of student and teacher, only student got judged) competition the range is 10 to 300$ per dance to the teacher plus about 200$ to the organizer for the entry. A teacher would dance I think an average of 8 dances per comp. Hong Kong is a booming market today for dancers longing to make some quick cash. Every top dancer that I know of goes at least a few times a year to Hong Kong. The earning on the average can easily be higher than those listed above. There are quite a few European dancers who have Hong Kong today as a primary residence. Taiwan and Singapore have a similar ballroom dance scene, just on smaller scale money wise. Another interesting one is Japan. They love dance as well and pay generously to the high level people. There is a great amount of professional couples there, and on the contrary to Hong Kong, Taiwan and North America the teacher’s income is mostly based on couples. The Japanese follow the British rules and don’t allow amateurs to teach, unlike the other Asians that do it the way they like it themselves. What I can say is that people should do more postings about their local situation in dance finance. We in the dance community need to be more open in this sense. I will continue in the next article with some more analysis (Note: It is illegal to reproduce this article without the expressed written consent from DanceWay.com Team & Anaximander Lavoie)