I’m pleased to say the people that have mentioned the extraordinary cost of the performing arts were not from my dance school but other schools! There are a few minor differences that add up to a major saving for my dance Mums and Dads, which I’m prepared to share with all!
Here are some great tips for dance parents to save money over the dance school year:
HIRE DON'T BUY
Purchasing your dance costumes rather than hiring them will end up being one of your biggest financial outlays next to your dance fees. If your school competes regularly in eisteddfods you can be looking at around $300 for a performance quality tutu and an average of $120 on a Jazz, Tap or Lyrical costume plus shipping costs. Keeping in mind that these costumes are worn for a very short time and only for one dance routine it can be hard to justify the price tag.
If your school does not provide the option to hire performance costumes, you may have no alternative but to purchase your child’s new sparkly sequins ensemble. Some dance teachers will allocated a particular costume for your child’s troupe so there is no way around having to make that purchase. If this is the case you should look at reselling online afterwards. There are some fantastic facebook pages that specialise in ex-performance costumes that have hardly been worn or treated well which you can pick up for a fraction of the cost or you can sell your own there. My favourite place to sell a specific costume to a ready buyer is the Australian Wanted To Buy page on Facebook.
I have come across new costumes with tags still on via these sites that are being sold because a dance school over ordered or simply ordered the incorrect size. Search for #TroupeCostumes or #DanceCostumes on Facebook and you will be surprised at what is available and for how little.
“If I had a penny for every time I heard
someone say the performing arts is
expensive I’d be driving a new BMW
not a second hand Mazda!”
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE & SAVE
Over the course of a dancers life time they will use an average of 50+ pairs of dance shoes. Multiply this buy the amount of dancers around the world and then you will see the environmental foot print our dancing feet leave on the planet. When you have the opportunity to pass on or reuse a pair of dance shoes don’t be afraid to do this.
Our school provides a Pre-loved Dance Shoe Box for parents to sell their child’s shoes once they have grown out of them. This is a great option for younger dancers and they will often grow out of their shoes before they wear them out. Needless to say, you will be saving money each time you buy a preloved pair and earning money each time you sell a pair of dance shoes. It’s a win win situation!
Keep in mind that for older or more serious dancers, correct shoe fittings are important to ensure the right fit for their growing feet, especially if undergoing long hours of training.
Your biggest expense will be your tuition fees. There can be a big difference in cost from one school to another so always know what you are in for before signing up your child. Once settled into a school it can be difficult to move across to another and you may literally pay the price if you didn’t read the fine print on your contract. Look for or be proactive and ask about the additional charges. Hidden costs such as exam fees, compulsory workshops or international/interstate dance performances can double your fees without you realising.
Personally, I would avoid schools that want you to sign a contract, direct debt or require your credit card details as you will be less aware of your monthly costs. When paying dance fees independently online, by cash or cheque you will naturally assess each time if the classes are still worth it and that’s a good thing.
Do a cost comparison with local schools if you haven’t done this before. You may be surprised to see that your dance school is above and beyond it’s competitors and may prompt a change. If changing schools allows your child to do more of what they love then go for it!
Wishing you a long and affordable dance journey!