Dance With Me is a dance/fitness program created by Bill Blanks Jr. and his wife Sharon Catherine Blanks. Together, they bring their combination fitness instruction and certification course grooving into the Shark Tank on Friday, May 11. Swimming with Sharks is one thing, the Blanks family may be the first business to dance with the Sharks!
Billy Blanks and his wife Sharon have been working together as dance and fitness instructors for 12 years. They created Dance With Me as a fitness program. They hope to grow the business by certifying Dance With Me instructors nationwide. They also sell a series of dance/fitness videos designed to get you dancing, sweating, and on the road to better health.
Billy Blanks Jr. – Knows Fitness
Blanks is no stranger to the fitness industry. His father, Billy Blanks Sr., was an accomplished martial arts champion. He is best known for inventing Tae Bo, a fitness program that mixes elements of Tae Kwon Do and Boxing that was very popular in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Paula Abdul was a big proponent of Tae Bo and is listed as a mentor to Billy Blanks Jr. on the Dance With Me website.
Dance With Me sells quite a few DVD's and runs dance/fitness classes. The big play appears to be their Dance With Me Certification Program. Billy and Sharon want to certify instructors nationwide; there are classes happening in the coming weeks all over the USA and you can purchase a Dance With Me Certification Video online. It would appear Dance With Me wants a national network of instructors. It states on their website: “Every instructor is an independent contractor who decides his/her rates, schedule, terms & agreements, etc.” This makes it unclear as to whether there is an ongoing royalty paid to Dance With Me by certified instructors. While sales of the Dance With Me Certification Program would certainly generate a fair amount of revenue, I would think the real money is in ongoing royalties.
I am torn as to whether any of the Sharks would bite at this business. First of all, it appears to be mature and generating income. Second, Blanks has other interests too- he acts in videos, sells videos, creates promotional dancing flash mobs, and much more. He is pretty plugged in to the LA celebrity scene and counts many A-listers as clients. On the surface, it would appear this is another Shark Tank publicity stunt.
The one thing that makes me think they get a deal is some timing issues. The company, Dance With Me LLC, just launched their own Amazon store. They are also listing a slew of certification classes in the weeks immediately following their appearance on Shark Tank; there are dozens of certification classes scheduled all over the country and in Japan. If Blanks actually needed Shark Tank funding to expand, it would appear he may have received it based on the timing of these elements. Or it could be a well executed publicity play.
My guess is if the numbers work, Blanks gets a deal. Otherwise, chalk this one up to good marketing and pre-show planning.
I am officially “on the fence!”