Puget Sound Dance Audience Potential

For ecstatic dance and other spiritual movement practices

Updated January 5, 2005


Keep in mind that that increasing the size of the pie is much more feasible than most people realize in most situations. Awareness of dance as a spiritual practice has only reached a very small portion of the population.


The population statistics are there because a 1% increase of a big pie generates a bigger increase in participants for the effort invested than a 10% increase in a small pie. Continuing with the pie metaphor, as big pies get bigger the effect tends to flow into neighboring smaller pies, so when evangelizing it makes sense to focus on the big pies first. A critical subtlety is being able to see many small pies as one big heterogeneous pie. Doing this really helps leverage the effort to increase the average level of participation.


Maintaining a focus on cooperative efforts to incase the size of the participation pie is very effective in increasing total participation, and avoiding fears of loosing a small piece of a small pie.


These numbers were put together because it takes a fairly large or specialized population base to sustain a regular ecstatic dance, and it is helpful to see where the population is and isnít when looking for locations to evangelize and schedule dance related activities in. Once there is a well established regular dance or class, then occasional special events are possible away from centers of population because there is better access to webs of personal relationships where interest in dance is shared.


All numbers below are in thousands, so 1,000 would be a million people.


Key factors, that I have seen, that would be good to consider are:

  1. What is the population size and density, i.e. how much of the population would be less than 30 minutes away compared to more than 60 minutes away from the dance location?
  2. How much of the population is oriented to arts, spiritual practices, and community activities in general and dance and healing practices in particular?
  3. How good are the local contacts at connecting with potential participants and arranging for facilities for dancing and, if itís a multiple day event, for housing?
  4. How developed is the hand percussion oriented dance scene in general, and the local ecstatic dance scene is in particular?
  5. Regardless of the time involved, do people have to take a ferry, pay a toll, cross a floating bridge, cross a major mountain pass, or cross an international boundary to get to the dance?

Puget Sound Population Distribution

Summary for Greater Puget Sound

1659 King County (year 2000 road atlas; City of Seattle 531 people)

1326 All other USA counties (year 2000 road atlas)

1000 Vancouver/Victoria British Columbia Canada area (year 1997 road atlas)

4705 People in the greater Puget Sound area


USA Counties around Puget Sound

By regularly sustain a dance, I mean a pretty subjective observation that there is a dance every month of the year of something like 10-20 people so some significant dance energy is generated. The amount of interest seems to be a more important factor than the size of the local population.


The areas that seem to regularly sustain at least one monthly dance are:

South Whidbey Island and Jefferson County

The counties that seem to regularly sustain multiple dances a month are:

King (in Seattle), Thurston (in Olympia), and Kitsap (on Bainbridge Island)


In a clockwise direction, starting from the north, from a year 2000 road atlas:

159 Whatcom County (Bellingham 64)

13 San Juan County including Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw Islands

73 Island County/Whidbey Island

98 Skagit County - Mount Vernon

561 Snohomish County - Everett

1659 King County (Seattle 531) (Vashon Island 10)

681 Pierce County (Tacoma 181)

201 Thurston County - Olympia

233 Kitsap County - Bremerton, Bainbridge Island

27 Jefferson County (Port Townsend 7)

2985 total


Vashon Island population from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vashon_Island


Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Area (1997 numbers from a road atlas)

472 Vancouver

38 North Vancouver

159 Burnaby

18 Port Moody

37 Port Couquitlam

44 New Westminster

127 Richmond

895 total


Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Area (1997 numbers from road atlas)

71 Victoria

16 Esquimalt

18 Oak Bay

105 total

Areas outside Puget Sound

These are additional areas that have some potential to support ecstatic dances either because of the size of the population or because of the interests of people living in the area. If Iíve missed an area that is successfully supporting an ecstatic dance, or related dance practice, Iíd like to hear about it.


The areas are listed from north to south.

Spokane Washington Area

413 Spokane County (City of Spokane 186)

Pullman/Moscow Area

This area is about 70 miles south of Spokane Washington.

41 Whitman County Washington (City of Pullman 26)

18 Washington State University, Pullman campus enrollment

35 Latah County Idaho (City of Moscow 21)

13 University of Idaho, enrollment

107 total (some students are probably full time residents, so this is a bit high)

Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan Area

The city of Portland Oregon (491) crosses multiple county boundaries, so it isnít listed with a specific county below.

327 Clark County Washington (City of Vancouver 63)

643 Multnomah County Oregon

390 Washington County Oregon

332 Clackamas County Oregon

1692 total

Eugene Oregon Area

310 Lane County (City of Eugene 126)

Bend Oregon Area

102 Deschutes County (City of Bend 33)

Grants Pass/Medford/Ashland/Mt Shasta Area

Near the border of southern Oregon and northern California

This is a large area, its 44 miles from Grants Pass to Ashland, and 71 miles from Ashland to Mt. Shasta. Itís largely very conservative with pockets of very liberal/progressive scattered all over. There isnít much cultural middle ground. People who like hand percussion music generally drive for 2 hours to go to dances in Ashland because its ether that, or visit friends. There are occasionally dances at other locations in this area. If flyers were posted far enough in advance in Ashland (months) the news of an event will eventually reach most pockets of population that would be interested in ecstatic dance.

74 Josephine County Oregon (City of Grants Pass 22)

172 Jackson County Oregon (City of Medford 57, City of Ashland 16)

46 Siskiyou County California (Cities of Yreka, Weed, and Mt Shasta)

292 total

Arcata/Eureka California Area

128 Humboldt County California (City of Arcata 17)



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