Dance Articles > Biggest Threat to Swing Dancing

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by Spitfire, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

  2. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I've certainly seen many clubs close or change the theme because they couldn't get people to spend money there. I think a lot of it has to do with the club management not having a clear business plan, or knowing enough about profiting from dancers. It's a great point, and if ever solved, it would likely bring more dancing to the masses.
  3. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Ive seen this here on Hilton Head, SC . Clubs closing or changing.
    I think it mostly has to do with a poor economy and with a lack of advertizing.

    One club manger complained to me that At Tuesday night shag lesson he loses money even thought thought the course of the night (4 different lessons) about 70-80 people come in.
    Ive witnessed this myself. Come lesson time, 30 people got up leaving all the tables in place empty and I could see no signs that people had been eat. There is a shag dance every Friday promoted by our local club, the last few emails from the club said support the
    club by buying dinner. Fridays easily run 80-100 peope
    Also I found out him that they had line dancing with lesson on Mondays Ballroom/swing Mix on Saturday. I couldn't find any mention of this , in the club or at the clubs web site.

    Finally do people really Drink that much at clubs any more?
  4. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    I would hypothesize an inverse relationship between physical exertion and alcohol. I know I've seen talk about this regarding salsa too (salsa dancers drinking water). Locally we do remind swing dancers to patronize the bar and some get food, but the Argentine Tango dancers buy *way* more alcohol. I'm not sure what to do about this other than just getting more people in the scene period.
  5. Signature

    Signature Member

    I think a lot of it has to do with having a solid business plan. Back when I danced ECS, I remember having a discussion about this with someone who had a clue about managing bars. She pointed out that your regulars never spend much money. They can't afford to.

    The "money crowd" is always the group who shows up less frequently. They have more money to blow at one time. A solid business plan is one that gets the "money crowd" in the door. With the right business plan, the regulars help get the money crowd in the door.

    There's Country Western bar with a large dance floor which I used to go to regularly, and still attend occasionally. That bar has two big money nights: Wednesday (ladies' night, free admission for women) and Friday. It also has two very popular nights with dancers: Friday and Sunday.

    What really impresses me is the way they handle Friday nights. The "money crowd" is the young crowd (20s-early 30s). They don't begin to show up until 9pm (and they keep showing up until midnight or later). They like going to places where there's lots of activity. They don't want to show up to a club that's empty and dead.

    So the bar uses several tricks to ensure that the bar is full when the "money crowd" arrives. From 6pm-8pm is happy hour. Cover is only $2. There's a table of free snacks out during happy hour. Drinks are inexpensive.

    The dancers get a better deal. Our cover charge is $0. In addition, we're handed a drink-ticket (for a free beer) as we walk in the door. No cover, free snacks, one free beer ... given away to about 50 dancers on a normal Friday night. This bar has been in business for over 30 years. (And the owners operate a number of other bars around the city too.)

    The dancers make the bar look like a popular place when the "money crowd" arrives. In addition, we provide entertainment to the other patrons until we leave. And one other service we provide ... we leave. As the "money crowd" arrives, the dance floor becomes more crowded. It's harder to dance. The dancers start filtering out. The bar is full at 9pm. It's full at 10pm ... but it's almost an entirely different crowd.

    A smart business owner will make sure that the dancers add to the profitability ... directly or indirectly.
    frotes and Bailamosdance like this.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I guess I'm a hybrid in your classification system. I've been going to my favorite place for at least a decade, and the evening turned into drinks, a meal, and then dancing.
    The rules have been consistent over the years, and based on the number of people in attendance, things were working pretty well.

    Now the rules have been changed, and they've instituted a cover charge on what has become the most popular night of the week.

    A cover charge for men.

    For me it was a difficult decision to give up something I've enjoyed for years now. But I just can't tolerate this on top of all the other things that do, and don't happen.
    In California a gender based pricing policy has been ruled illegal. Courts in other states have made different rulings.

    Will this affect the bottom line at that venue?
    Only time will tell.

    Meanwhile, I'm hoping to read comments on the economic, sociological, and other aspects of gender based pricing at social dance venues.
  7. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Interesting. I know a studio in LA that has a Ladies Night and charge the ladies less than the men. Are you saying it is illegal?
  8. Lui

    Lui Active Member

    During my years of study, I was part of a group that organized events as a past time activity. Just for fun we tried very different concepts, curious how they would work out. One time we were planning a very fancy cocktail party and pondering how to advertise. Finally we decided to give out 50 invitations, but only to the “hottest chicks” and only at the most posh faculties. Up to today, I’m still shocked how well the experiment turned out. The place was crammed with several hundred people; even students from other towns came to be part of the happy few.

    Since then, I’ve seen that mechanism working out every time. “Chicks” and elitism are the most effective way to generate a decent crowd and a good turnover. Of course it will mostly attract singles and persons of a certain kind. There will be a good share of freeloading ladies and male show-offs.

    As a host as well as a guest, I prefer events, where the entrance is not gender based. The atmosphere is way more relaxed. There will be more long time couples, and people, who are more interested in the “theme” off the night – let’s say Tango dancing for example. If the visitors are there to actually dance and have a good time, there is much higher quality of dance and fun than when they attend for different reasons (“Chicks”, status, freeloading or booze). As I dancer, I like that better.
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    There have been other rulings in other states, including my own; that being Washington.

    Seeking legal recourse here would be rather absurd, unless you have a lot of money and time. In speaking to men Saturday, I found there there are: some who plan to stop going to that place on Thursday, some who think "it's worth it," and some who plan to get there before the cover charge kicks in.

    For me this means I will be cutting down on my carbon footprint, since it's a 30-35 minute drive each way to get there, $ spent on both gas and food/drinks per week, and intake of alcohol and unhealthy food like fries.
  10. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    For me, I can't always afford food and drinks in addition to the cover charge. I try to at least get a drink, even if it's soda. If I can afford to eat, I'll try to get something. This is partly because I'm a starving artist, but also because I do a lot of social dancing--several nights per week, so that stuff adds up.
  11. Signature

    Signature Member

    You might be a hybrid, or you might be part of the money crowd.

    twnkltoz is what I'd call a regular, out dancing several nights per week. At that frequency, most of us have to limit our spending on any given night.

    The people who go out once per week (or less frequently) generally have more money to spend when they're out. If you're paying cover, buying dinner and buying drinks 2 or 3 times per week, I'd say you're a rare hybrid. If you're doing that every other week, you're part of the money crowd.

    When I was single, I was out dancing about 3 or 4 times per week. Now that I'm married, it's about once per week. I'm still spending about the same amount (not necessarily at the same places). But it's all getting spent on one night of the week, not spread out over several nights.

    I'm sure it will be decades before Texas tries to pass a law against this.

    When I was single, I based my decision on two things:
    1. How much fun will I have?
    2. How much will it cost me?

    Gender-based pricing doesn't necessarily change that.

    With the bar I mentioned before, Ladies' Night brought in a crowd that tended to spill beer on the dance floor, and otherwise (accidentally) made the night out less pleasant. That was the biggest reason to avoid it. In addition, the cover (for me) was double what it was on a couple other nights.

    Higher cost. Less fun. I avoided Ladies' Night.

    Now that I'm married, I base my decision on two things:
    1. How much fun will we have?
    2. How much will it cost me?

    Since I'm typically paying the cover for two people, gender-based pricing frequently serves as a collective discount for the two of us. (The crowd it draws generally doesn't appeal to us, however.)
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I forgot to address the gender based pricing. If it's an occasional thing, and there are sometimes gentleman's nights and sometimes ladies' nights, that's fine. However, if it's all the time, that's not cool. A local tango studio was giving a lot of perks to men--half price or no admission, etc. In their defense, they were trying to correct the gender balance. However, it offended many of the women in town because the men already have so much power (since it's tango tradition for only men to do the inviting). They finally stopped the discounts.
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    LADIES FREE at SAVOY SATURDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 15 This Complimentary Ticket will admit one Lady to the Savoy Ballroom. Lenox Avenue and 140th Street, this Saturday Night October 15, 8:30 P. M. to. 3 . A. M. - EST Bring This Coupon With You

    Even at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in 1932 you needed a coupon to get in free if you were a woman!
  14. RainbowConnection

    RainbowConnection New Member

    They made a joke about this on Parks and Rec recently and it made me sad. :(

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