Introducing Friend of Cinch, Erika Napoletano – when she’s not busy accomplishing everything you can see on her timeline, she’s checking in with us to help us navigate some real life money moments, without any BS:
Guess what? On top of colored pencils you can only find at one store, yet another pair of gloves (seriously, why don’t they sell them in threes?), and a papier–mâché dinosaur for show-and-tell this Friday, your little one now wants to take dance classes. Excellent. Arts, agility, exercise—it’s all amazing, and you can give your child the incomparable gift of culture. You’re off to research dance class prices (and become Super Mom).
If only it weren’t so damn expensive. Forget that raising a ballet prodigy will cost you to the tune of $100,000, but you need to figure out how to make these dance classes on an already full schedule and budget.
Here’s some real-world advice for parents who just want to keep their kids enriched through the arts. We’ll leave the future Misty Copelands of the world for another conversation. Dance class prices vary widely, even for the hobbyist, and we’ll get into why right now.
Prices: What’s the Deal?
LifeScript reports that the national averages for kids’ dance class prices range from $40 to $160 per month. That’s helpful, isn’t it? We did some research and realized that dance class prices depend on several factors: where you live, who the instructors are, and the pricing structure.
We surveyed four major cities across the country and compiled class fees, registration fees, and mandatory extras.
- Brooklyn: A term of 18 classes here will run you $550 ($30.55/class) plus some extras, like $75 to $90 per recital costume, a required 3-ticket purchase for recitals at $25/ticket, and a $40 registration fee per year. That’s a grand total of about $750.
- Chicago: 19 classes total here will run you $453 ($23.84/class). They also offer an affordability option if one parent happens to be on unemployment.
- Dallas: A 12-class punch card here will cost you only $109 ($9/class) to get your little one moving and shaking.
- Seattle: A 19-week term here will run you $380 ($20/class), with no hidden recital or costume fees.
Of course, every area is different and you’ll have to do some digging on what’s available in your community. Take time to explore your options. Don’t forget to check for deals on social media, dance studios often advertise money-saving specials this way.
What Else Will We Need to Buy
Well, you’re not going to send your kid to class naked. Dance schools require appropriate attire, especially shoes. For any dance class, you can expect to buy shoes, legwear, and leotards. You might also be looking at accessories like tutus, specialty recital wear (heads up, this is the silent killer), legwarmers, and hair accessories.
To keep costs down, skip the specialty dance stores and look for dance shoes at stores like Payless. When kids are growing into and out of clothes so quickly, you can also look to thrift stores and online outlets to buy another parent’s we-are-done-with-these dance necessities like shoes or leotards. Seriously, check out this entire eBay collection of kids’ dancewear. And there’s always hand-me-downs from that older cousin your kid is already obsessed with.
Level with Me: What Are Dance Classes Really Going to Cost My Family?
Glad you asked. Nationally, you can expect to pay about $25 per class for kids’ dance classes, plus the cost of shoes and other specialty apparel. Showcases will run a bit extra if you want to see your darling on stage. So to get started, you can figure four classes per month ($100) plus a tank of gas ($25) and apparel ($25 for two outfits you can cycle through and shoes at $20 = $45), for about $170. After that first month, you’re realistically looking at $100/month plus gas for once-a-week classes (and the occasional replacement pair of shoes or lost legwarmers) and about $75 at the end for recital gear.
The Bottom Line
Let’s see how much your darling’s dance fever will cost over time. Here it is broken down by how good they want to get:
Elaine in Seinfeld (One Month of Dance Class) = $170
Ryan Gosling in La La Land (Six Months of Dance Class) = $895
One of the Background Cats in Cats (One Year of Dance Class) = $1,745
Fred Astaire (Five Years of Dance Class) = $8,545
With everything you do each day as a super parent, choosing a dance class is probably one of the easiest things you’ll do for your kids. Just make sure you’re not getting strangled by a tangle of tights in the washing machine. That’s the true threat here.