MaC’s investment in Dance Church
Evolution of Dance & Fitness
Dance and fitness as we know it has evolved over generations. In ancient times, city-states in Greece asserted that fitness and physical activity were essential to the way of life. The Olympic Games were organized every four years as not only a physical contest and a detente between rival states, but as a communal celebration of cultural and religious adoration.
Concurrently, dance has been around for thousands of years as an expression of storytelling, religion and spirituality, and entertainment. In the US, dance as a form of fitness first became popular in the 80s with Jazzercise. Zumba was then introduced in the 90s and quickly expanded with its instructor license business model. Today, there are over 300,000 Zumba participants who attend Zumba classes as a form of fitness.
The future of gyms will be hybrid
Prior to COVID-19, in-person fitness was already a large and growing market. Americans, alone, spent $37.46B on gyms, health clubs, fitness centers, and studios in 2019. This figure is even higher when applying a global lens. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic restricted physical activity tremendously. While in-person fitness revenue declined by 58%, adoption of digital fitness propelled forward. From 2017 to 2020 on demand fitness spending has increased nearly 130% in the United States. Products such as Peloton and Beachbody became household names as more and more people began to substitute their conventional gym lifestyle with in-home fitness experiences. In fact, even in the (disputable) post-pandemic state we are currently in, 44% of gym-goers now use video-on-demand (VOD) at least once a week in addition to in-person exercise. Convenience and improved quality have prompted most Americans to continue at-home workouts even once gyms fully reopen.
Introducing Dance Church: Bringing people together through the joy and release of dance
Dance Church is an all body, all level dance fitness and social platform driven by a diverse community that celebrates dance as both art and fitness. The Company started as a grassroots dance fitness class founded 10 years ago by world-class dancer and choreographer, Kate Wallich. During COVID, they decided to relaunch as a digital-first, socially driven, all-level dance fitness platform. Clara Siegel joined the team as CEO, and relaunched Dance Church with Kate in late 2020. Clara is a great compliment to Kate: she is a seasoned product leader having led product teams at Facebook (on the Messenger and Gaming teams), Tableau, and Amazon. Combined, Clara’s experience building and scaling products and Kate’s creative vision have provided the Company a strong foundation for growth.
Dance Church’s brand is all about building connection and community through the shared experience of movement. Each class is designed for people of all shapes, sizes, and identities. The type of dance offered by Dance Church is a guided dance experience that doesn’t require prior skills or learning any moves. This is very much by design to reduce barriers to entry and offer a more welcoming space to every body type. This form of dance adds to the feeling of freedom, joy and release when taking classes. In the future, Dance Church plans to extend the platform to other demographics, regions and dance genres and introduce users to a diversity of dance lineages.
While consumer options for digital and in-person fitness are plentiful, Dance Church stands out in its artistic approach to dance fitness, where the purpose of each class isn’t about reaching a desired fitness goal. Instead they promote joy, connection, and inclusivity, attracting more consumers to join as they are rather than feeling pressure to change how they look. Their strong brand coupled with each instructor being a professional dancer have allowed the company to grow organically.
What’s next for Dance Church
MaC VC is excited to announce that we are leading Dance Church’s $4.7M series seed financing round. We’re excited to co-invest with PSL, Crush Ventures, Graham & Walker (FKA Female Founders Alliance), and Spike Ventures. Additionally, MaC’s Partner, Zhenni Liu will be joining the board.
As digital fitness continues to grow as a macro trend, dance is universal and transcends both geography and time. There is no other dance fitness class out there that offers classes in the format and style of Dance Church. In this next phase of the business, Dance Church will continue building out the social elements of the digital platform, add instructor engagement playbooks, while expanding in-person pop up events through partnerships.
We’re extremely excited to partner with Clara and Kate in this next chapter of their business, and can’t wait for Dance Church to lead the way in the new era of digital wellness.
MaC Venture Capital is a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology startups leveraging shifts in cultural trends and behaviors. Our diverse backgrounds in technology, business, government, entertainment, and finance allow us to accelerate entrepreneurs on the verge of their breakthrough moment. We provide hands-on support crucial for building and scaling category-leading companies, including operations strategy, brand building, recruiting, and mission-critical introductions.
About Dance Church
Dance Church has been bringing people together through the joy and release of dance since 2010 — in real life and on the internet. Designed for people of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and identities, Dance Church is on a mission to empower people through dance. Visit go.dancechurch.com to take classes on-demand, join the live-stream every Sunday, or to register for in person classes.