Taking dance lessons at the local dance studio can be very beneficial for young children. Dance lessons teach children to express themselves creatively, exercise and strengthen their bodies, feel confident (even onstage!) and make new friends. The benefits of attending a dance studio are huge, but are they worth the even larger tuition bill? Many would argue that yes, dance lessons are worth every penny. If you are unwilling to give up dance lessons at your dance studio, these ideas will at least help you pare down the expensive bills!
Take Regular Class, Not Competition
As a former competitive dancer, and a current teacher for competition lines, I know more than most how beneficial it is for a dancer to join a competition line at his or her dance studio. A competitive dancer has better opportunities to improve technique and style than a student in a traditional dance class. But paying the bills for the competitive dancer can be overwhelming. In addition to higher tuition, a competitive dancer incurs costs each time he or she attends a dance competition, gets new costumes and shoes or flies across the country for a national dance competition. If your dancer is not extremely committed to dance, you shouldn’t enroll them. In fact, your son or daughter should be constantly obsessing over dance lessons before he or she becomes a competitive dancer! Putting a child in competition before they are ready is a costly mistake.
Take Extra Dance Technique Classes
If you or your child decides to forgo the competitive dancer route, there are still opportunities for growth. I suggest taking ballet or jazz technique lessons with the competition lines. The dance studio staff will usually be open to this, and the technique classes are usually less expensive than traditional dance lessons for advanced students. Even if you are a competitive dancer, you should be taking extra technique classes if possible. Your dance studio probably encourages competitive dancers to attend and other technique classes, and often you can attend extra technique classes for free or at least for a discounted price.
If you are in regular class and you have to miss a day of dance lessons at the dance studio, you should find out about the makeup policy at that dance studio. Usually a dance studio will reserve one or two weeks for makeup dance lessons, or will allow the child to attend other dance lessons of the same difficulty.
Buy Dance Clothes and Accessories at Discount Websites
My dance studio was notorious for overcharging at the dancewear store. So instead, I bought my leotards, tights, shoes and other items for dance lessons at online discount stores. These websites sell the same dancewear from the dance studio at a fraction of the cost. They usually have great clearance sales as well. Make sure you factor shipping into the cost when making a purchase. My favorite discount dancewear site is www.discountdance.com.
Your dance studio may encourage customers to register several months early for dance lessons by offering a discount for early registration. This could be as much as 20% off tuition! This is how a dance studio can fill up classes for the fall and finish most of the planning during the summer, since it is difficult for a dance studio to handle a multitude of dancers registering at the last minute for dance lessons.
Take Dance Lessons at the YMCA
If, when all is said and done, attending a dance studio is still way too expensive, you can still enroll your child in inexpensive dance lessons at your local YMCA or community center. If you have a membership, your child’s dance lessons will probably be free or heavily discounted. This only works well for very young children and beginning dancers, since few YMCAs or community centers offer advanced dance lessons.