by Jessica Wilson
Having seen a huge influx of dance-related TV shows throughout 2011, a recent survey conducted by YouGov has revealed that just over 1 in 5 British adults (21%) have become interested in dancing as a result of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance. The survey was completed in the prelude to the Dance Proms, a new festival which took place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday 13th November of this year. The Dance Proms featured twenty-four acts selected from a competition held to find the UK’s most talented dance students and representing all genres of dance. Dance Proms, a celebration of dance in all its forms, is organised by UK’s leading dance organisations: the International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA), Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD); and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).
The YouGov survey also revealed that roughly the same number of adults (1 in 5) currently participate in some form of dance, stretching across a vast range of styles, with just over 1 in 8 adults (13%) having taken part in a dance class in the last five years. This is sure to grow in the future, with the introduction of extremely popular “dance-fit” activities such as Zumba, the latest dance craze to sweep the US and Europe, and favoured among many celebrities including Wayne Rooney, Madonna and Jennifer Lopez. The survey further discovered that the most popular form of dance to take part in was social dancing (13%), followed by Zumba (5%). 66% of those participating in a dance class in the last five years did so to have fun, with fitness motivations following closely (63%). With the dance sector developing at such a rate, in the next five years dance may hold an even greater stance than it does today.
Luke Rittner, Chief Executive at the Royal Academy of Dance in London commented that “All lovers of dance will be delighted with the findings of this survey. They are a wonderful curtain raiser to the Dance Proms festival which will bring together thousands of enthusiasts to watch an evening of dance – a sugar rush of delights for the eyes.” The final performances of the Dance Proms showcased the excellent work of the organisations and their teaching members to raise dance standards and increase participation in and the appreciation of dance in the UK. Ultimately, the Dance Proms aimed to promote dance and increase its popularity, enhancing the results of the YouGov survey.
This popularity boost of dance will naturally have repercussions; most predominantly, dance throughout the world will continue to expand and evolve due to the vast accessibility of the TV programmes available to audiences. Whilst the dance sector is arguably eager to spread its message, there may be a danger of the commerciality of dance preceding the need for innovation and the celebration of upcoming work. Undoubtedly, spreading the influence of dance is fantastic news for all dance lovers, yet it may become increasingly difficult for upcoming choreographers and artists to break into this increasingly systematic world. Despite this, further findings from the Dance Proms poll included Fred Astaire being named as the respondents’ favourite dancer with 17%, with a surprising 1 in 10 (10%) of 18 to 24 year olds having voted for him. Michael Jackson was second (14%) followed by Ginger Rogers and Michael Flatley who were joint third (13%). The lack of “current” dance artists speaks volumes, suggesting that the dance sector is not a fleeting “blink-or you’ll-miss-it”, but one grounded in its roots, the past very much influencing the present.
For further information about Dance Proms please visit www.danceproms.co.uk or contact info (at) danceproms.co.uk.