Monday, January 2, 2012

Survey Results, Part 1!

Welcome to the first installment of the results of the 2011 Bellydance Student Survey! We had a total of 89 respondents, and their input provides some great directional input for instructors and event producers on the state of the belly dance "consumer" market.

I wanted to do this survey because I've heard so many questions and hypotheses about what students and even attendees want, and why class, workshop, and performance attendance seems to have declined. Everyone is well aware that many people are out of work or working longer hours to get by in the current economy.

So what can those who produce products and services for the belly dance community offer to attract and retain more business? My day job is in marketing, and the best marketing is always based on an understanding of what the market really wants (and most importantly, what they will pay for). Many companies can't afford to do the kind of research that will give them these insights. My goal was to combine my marketing capabilities with my access to the belly dance community and begin to provide some insights that will make the community stronger by making the "producers" more successful and get the "consumers" more involved.

I'll be sharing the insights from the survey in several installments. The first will focus on the profile of the respondents and the styles of dance in which they either currently participate or would like to try. Please feel free to ask any questions about the results.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey for their honest and thoughtful input. And thanks to the people who got involved and shared this survey, especially the teachers who encouraged their students to participate!

Respondent Profile 

This survey was intended to focus on the area served by Yalla Y'all, which includes metro Atlanta and north Georgia, though it was open to respondents in any location. Most respondents (68%) were from the metro Atlanta region, though the remainder of the state was well-represented, and 15 of the 89 total respondents live outside the state of Georgia. All but two were from the Southeast, including North Carolina (4), Tennessee (2), Alabama (2), Florida, and Texas.

You'll find that some responses have specific meaning in the metro Atlanta area, but many of the insights from this survey are likely to be widely applicable.

Dominant Style
In listing the dance style they primarily study and perform, respondents were split pretty evenly between what most of us classify as "cabaret" and "tribal" styles. About 40% identified themselves as primarily Tribal Fusion or ATS dancers, and American Cabaret, Classical Egyptian, and Egyptian Pop styles total about 36%. Several other dancers identified themselves as primary folkloric, theatrical,or Turkish Romany performers.

I'm pleased that the survey includes a healthy mix of styles, with respondents representing many facets of our diverse community. 

Troupe/Studio Affiliation 
We were curious to learn how many respondents consider themselves connected to a studio, teacher, or troupe. Over half of respondents indicate that they have such a connection, while the other 45% study with multiple teachers, consider themselves "free agents," or are not sure how to label themselves.

What are the implications for teachers? Almost every teacher's goal is to build long-term relationships and loyalty among students; it's possible that up to 30% of the student market may be seeking a teacher, studio, or troupe as their belly dance "home."

 Interest in Dance Styles 
What styles do students want to learn more about? 
Responses to this question may give teachers and event producers some ideas for new classes and workshops. Almost 30% of respondents would like to learn more about Bollywood-style dance. Persian dance also seems to be enjoying a surge in interest, with 25% of respondents interested in trying it. Classes or workshops in Turkish Romany and Greek dance may also attract students, as well as ATS, Classical Egyptian, and folkloric styles in general.  Overall, there was not a single style listed that did not generate some interest.

What styles did we leave off the list? 
Several students identified themselves as students or performers of styles not listed in the survey, including Gothic (5), African (2), Debke, Tunisian, other Romany styles, Modern Fusion, Bhangra, historical reconstruction dances, other group improv styles, Balkan dance, and international folk dance.

All Responses to Question #1 
Here are the full results to the first question on the survey, in which respondents were asked to indicate their experiences with a variety of styles:

1 comment:

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    Survey Questions