When Pineapple Dance Studios first hit Sky 1 earlier this year, no one could have predicted exactly how big it was going to become. Indeed, I wasn’t even convinced it was real – so was the ‘over the top-ness’ of the characters, that it almost seemed a spoof of a reality show.
But real it was, and it’s been the surprise hit of the year.
“Everyone involved was surprised by the success of the series, including Sky,” admits Sarah Coppin, Pineapple’s director of business development. “It is rare that a show captures the public imagination with an overwhelmingly positive response, and we think that is due to the unique creative environment that Debbie Moore has created at Pineapple over the last 30 years. It is a rare chance for people to see what goes on behind the scenes. We knew that the show would be interesting, but the appetite for dance and the stories behind the scenes has been a revelation to everyone involved.”
Former model and Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year, Debbie Moore OBE founded Pineapple Dance Studios in 1979. It is the largest dance studios in Europe, with regular clients including Madonna and Kate Moss, plus stars of West End musicals such as Chicago and The Lion King. Over 20 dance styles are taught, including commercial, jazz and ballet. And now Pineapple is beginning to take off as a licensed property.
It currently has a number of stand alone stores, as well as concessions in High Street department stores, plus independent, mail order and online outlets.
Coppin continues: “Our aim is to give our customers Pineapple goods across all relevant categories and to strengthen and grow the brand in the UK market, and then to take Pineapple out to international territories through licensing. We are always excited to talk to new licensing partners. Pineapple has many licences in place and we evaluate each new approach on its fit with the brand, while ensuring that we support fully our existing relationships, of which we are very proud.”
While a second series is currently in discussion, it’s clear that the main star to come out of the show is Louie Spence. There is a limited edition range of t-shirts featuring Spence, which are available to buy online and in stores for a selected time.
“As the Pineapple brand continues to grow in new markets, we are conscious of the need for a strong identity to support this growth,” says Coppin. “Debbie Moore’s achievements, documented in the series, have made this possible. The brand has an identity and a voice that businesses are keen to work with. This is evidenced by our ongoing partnership with Debenhams in the UK and abroad, and new partners such as ASOS, HG Warner for footwear and Brulimar for eyewear in the UK.
“The studios continue to grow in popularity and we offer a larger number of classes than ever before (we created a new penthouse studio when we took over the top floor of our building this year). In five years, the studios will be busier than they are today; we are conscious of the fact that dance is now the coolest thing for kids who are now too young to find their own way to class. In five years, we will be welcoming a new generation of Billy Elliots (and Belindas) who will have no qualms about pursuing their dreams at Pineapple.”
Coppin concludes: “There is not a single successful actor, singer or dancer who has not passed through it doors, to audition and rehearse. Pineapple remains a young and vibrant brand that has a recognised place at the heart of culture in the UK, and of youth culture in particular.”