Summary of our market study

Since 2020, the Italian dance school market has undergone significant changes primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dance schools were subjected to closures during various phases of lockdown, with a total closure from March 2020 to May 2020, followed by additional closures until May 2021. This resulted in considerable financial losses with an estimate of 2 billion euros and 200,000 employees affected in the sports sector, including dance. The number of FIDS (Federazione Italiana Danza Sportiva) affiliated clubs saw a decline of 19.8%, dropping from 2071 to 1659 clubs. The pandemic also sparked trends like fitness dance and online dance classes, catering to the growing demand for keeping fit through dance. Popular dance-fitness disciplines such as Zumba, Fit Ballet, and Booty Barre gained traction, while the rise of dance apps like Just Dance Now offered affordable and convenient ways to learn dance at home. Despite these challenges and shifts, the passion for traditional and professional dance remains intact, with historical academies like Teatro alla Scala and National Academy of Dance maintaining their prestigious reputations in the classical ballet world.

Italian Dance Market: A Movement of Tradition and Innovation

In the charming country of Italy, dance emerges not only as a cultural and artistic expression but also as a flourishing market that demonstrates significant growth and diversification. The dance market in Italy has observed substantive developments in demand, supply, and regulation, with an apparent intersection between traditional practices and modern trends. The fabric of the Italian dance market is woven with numerous styles, ranging from the classic elegance of ballet to the vibrant beats of Latin and hip-hop. Among the approximately 1,600 dance schools catering to about 1.4 million students, the market has seen an annual growth of around 11 percent prior to the unexpected interruption by the COVID-19 pandemic. These schools, primarily small to medium-sized enterprises, are scattered throughout Italy, with notables such as the Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan standing out as distinguished establishments. Demand for dance in Italy stems from a variety of motivations, as nearly a quarter of the population engages in some form of sport, with a segment specifically drawn to dance. The inclination towards dance as a physical activity has notably risen, blending dance into the fitness market on top of its traditional artistic roots.

This trend reflects the approximately 18 million individuals attending gyms and fitness centers nationwide, with estimated expenditures reaching between €4 and €4.5 billion. Historically, dance schools have operated by offering physical classes, but the landscape has transformed post-pandemic, leading to an influx of digitization within the industry. Online or streaming classes, in conjunction with burgeoning dance apps, now provide a viable alternative, often at a reduced cost compared to private lessons. In terms of sports practice, the most active demographic leans male, with around one-third of the male population participating in sports activities, slightly over the female proportion. Geographically, northern regions lead in sporting engagement, with areas like Valle d'Aosta and Trentino-Alto Adige at the apex of sports participation. Federated dance under FIDS (Federazione Italiana Danza Sportiva) is also significant, with membership numbers hovering around the 72,000 mark in 2020, despite witnessing a decline of approximately 31 percent. Club memberships to FIDS have similarly seen a decrease of around 20 percent. The dance school market in Italy has evidently been adapting to modernity and innovation with trends like Fitness Dance gaining traction, especially among the US-inspired classes that mix fitness.

Renowned Institutions Shaping the Italian Dance Landscape

The Italian dance market is distinguished not only by its diverse array of dance styles but also by the esteemed institutions that have contributed significantly to the global dance scene. The country is the cradle of some of the most prestigious academies and ballet companies, fostering talents that set the benchmarks in the world of dance.

  • Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan The Accademia Teatro alla Scala, based in the iconic theater of the same name, is a beacon of classical and contemporary dance education. Known for its rigorous training programs, it offers courses for young aspirants as well as professional-level classes. Students can embark on a carefully structured journey from the Propedeutic course designed for the youngest dancers to the professional courses that sculpt world-class performers.
  • National Academy of Dance in Rome As Italy’s premier institution offering university-level dance education, the National Academy of Dance stands as a pillar in the Italian dance community. With programs leading to first and second-level diplomas, it provides in-depth training that spans classical, contemporary, and choreographic dance – nurturing dancers and choreographers alike for high-caliber professional pursuits.
  • Dance School of the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome The Dance School of the Teatro dell'Opera is an esteemed establishment where students are groomed for the professional world through a curriculum that spans eight levels of technique. Aside from dance, its educational scope includes complementary subjects, enhancing the holistic development of its students.
  • San Carlo Theater Ballet School in Naples The San Carlo Theater Ballet School holds the honor of being Italy’s first and Europe’s oldest ballet school. It propels students through an eight-year program or a five-year accelerated course, blending dance instruction with subjects that are essential for well-rounded performers, such as music history and theory.

These institutions, along with others mentioned in the text, are central players in Italy’s dance market. Their presence not only shapes the professional landscape of dance in Italy but also influences the international dance community, with alumni gracing stages and companies across the globe. They not only impart technical skills but also uphold the rich heritage and evolving future of dance as both an art form and as a testament to Italy's enduring contribution to the world of performing arts.

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1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Dancing is an art and sporting activity that involves performing a series of orderly movements with one's body, usually accompanied by background music. This study focuses on the market for dance classes in Italy .

This activity is registered in Italy under ATECO code 85.52.01, which identifies dance classes.

There are different types of dances and they are grouped into different segments. The following is an almost exhaustive list, depending on the type:

  • ballet
  • modern dance
  • neoclassical dance
  • contemporary dance (break-dance and hip-hop, etc.)
  • sports dance
  • folk or traditional dances
  • jazz dance
  • latin dance

Dance is generally taught in dance schools, but also independent tutors in homes, institutions such as youth and culture houses, or in sports arenas. This activity has been growing in recent years, and revenues grew 11.4 percent from 2016 to 2018. In Italy, there are 1659 dance schools populated by 1.4 million students. These schools are mainly small and medium-sized, with less than 10 employees per school. However, there are also large, globally recognized schools, such as the Accademia Teatro alla Scala.

As a result of the Covid-19 emergency, dance schools in Italy were forced to close and suspend classes for several months. The measures implemented by the government, in fact, profoundly affected the industry's turnover and especially demand, as school clients were deterred by the potential spread of the virus.

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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Zumba Fitness France
Fondazione Teatro La Scala
Fondazione Teatro San Carlo
Royal Academy of Dance Trento
Dancehaus Susanna Beltrami

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