Establishments in this industry are primarily engaged in operating dance studios, schools, and public dance halls or ballrooms. Establishments primarily engaged in renting facilities used as dance halls or ballrooms are classified in SIC 6512: Operators of Nonresidential Buildings. This category includes ballroom operation, children's dancing schools, dance hall operation, dance instructors, dance studios and schools, discotheques (except those serving alcoholic beverages), and professional dancing schools.
All Other Amusement and Recreation Industries
Fine Arts Schools
In 2006, this approximately $1 billion industry constituted a very small portion of the overall recreation category. It was dominated by small, independent schools run by sole proprietors, usually owner-operators. The two major nationwide dance school chains, Arthur Murray International and Fred Astaire Dance Studios, catered to adults. Independent studios, which were primarily involved in teaching ballet and tap dancing to children, outnumbered other franchises by about six to one. More than 16,000 establishments were in operation in 2006.
The dance school industry in the United States has had an uneven history. Dancing as a leisure activity was forced underground by the dominant colonial Protestant culture that declared dancing socially unacceptable and linked it to drinking and lewdness. Even when European immigrants brought traditional dances to the United States during the nineteenth century, they were limited to celebrations at ethnic social halls.
Dancing became more mainstream in the twentieth century, when music and more organized bands gained enthusiastic followings. The advent of prohibition in 1920 separated dancing and drinking somewhat and made dancing more socially respectable. Many commercial dance palaces were set up during this period, and in New York City alone, dance halls had revenues of $8 million in 1920.
Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire, the namesakes of the twentieth century's two largest dance schools, first opened studios during this period. Murray opened his first dance studio when he was just 18 years old. Murray's career reflected the fortunes of the dance school and hall industry, swelling in the 1940s when the song, "Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing in a Hurry," was penned by Johnny Mercer. A request by a hotel manager to have Arthur Murray dance instructors in all Statler Hotels was just the beginning. Headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, the company had...