Who Knew Dance Recitals Were so Expensive

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Who Knew Dance Recitals Were so Expensive

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Who Knew Dance Recital's Were so ExpensiveI think that it's important for kids to be involved in some sort of activity to develop social and team skills, but my daughter doesn't do much in the way of extracurricular activities.

Don't get me wrong, she's tried several activities, such as cheerleading, gymnastics, and dance. The only one that has really stuck is dance, and sometimes I think that's only because her best friend down the street does it with her.

We pay a monthly "tuition" fee for her to attend dance class, and at about $50 a month it's not cheap.

As we near the end of each school year, there is even more sticker shock as we prepare for the end of the year recital. There is a lot of excitement as the students get to see the costumes the instructor has picked out for each class, and the time nears when they get to show off on stage what  they've learned and worked on for the past nine months.

We've done this for a few years now, and know how much this preparation can cost; we have found ways to make it as inexpensive as possible:

Costume: The costume is usually around $50. There's really no way around this. They all have to have the same costume. 

Tickets to the Recital: It seems wrong to me to be required to pay $10 a ticket to watch my daughter perform the skills she developed during a class that we also paid for. We found that if you wait until the fall (instead of signing up early in the spring), the instructor waives the registration fee and gives two free tickets to the recital. The instructor always makes room for students, so we've never encountered a problem getting Tori into a class.

Hair: It is suggested that the girls have their hair done for the recital. Having it professionally done can cost close to $50. In the past, we've had a friend who was a hair stylist do it for free, but she wasn't available this year. Vonnie called around and found a hair place in the nearby Wal-Mart that would do it for less than half that. 

Flowers: It's a "tradition" for the parents to present their dancer with flowers after the recital. They sell carnations at the event for $3 a piece. If you buy several, it adds up fast. Instead, I went to a grocery store that always has inexpensive flowers for sale and picked up a very nice looking bouquet of neon colored flowers for $5.

While I do think it is important for my daughter to be involved in some extracurricular activity, we're always looking for ways to reduce the expenses as much as possible. 

With her costume on and her hair done she looked beautiful. 

Watching her perform on stage is one of my favorite days of the year, and after the recital was over I got to give my daughter the bouquet of flowers. That afternoon my wife took one of my favorite pictures ever of my daughter and me.

It's moments like this that make me feel me so fortunate and proud to be a father, and made the expenses that go along with her dancing absolutely worth it.

Related Links:

Think Before you Spend 

Make Your Spending Count

Getting out of Debt is a Constant State of Mind 

Travis Pizel, Customer Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the My Journey out of Debt blog and is a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • @Travis  You are the best dad ever!! I know all to well how expensive extracurricular activities can be, but agree there are ways to keep the costs down and enjoy seeing your child in action.

  • I took dance from about age 5-17, and by the end I was doing 3 classes a week at $115 or so a month.. plus the cost of 3 costumes, etc. I am very grateful to my parents for paying this money for me when we did not have a ton, and can tell you your daughter will appreciate it even more as she gets older ! It is quite expensive though.

  • Do you have a son? My parents always complained how much more his baseball/football extracurriculars cost than my dance/singing lessons. LOVE this story though-takes me back :) I was a cheerleader, which was always way more $$ than ballet.

  • You're too kind, Coach Suzanne.  *blush*  While the beaming look on my little girl's face that day was worth any amount of money, it makes it all the more sweet when we can make it happen as inexpensively as possible.

  • Our kids are aware of our debt situation, Gillian, and most of the time realize that it takes sacrifice to be able to provide things like this for them.  That being said, I look forward to the day when Tori says, "I remember you guys letting me do dance even though you were in that debt management thingy.  That was really cool of you."   :)

  • Coincidentally, Lauren, I do have a son!  Baseball is his sport, and it's actually quite a bit cheaper than Tori's dance classes.  Of course her dance classes run for 9 months, whereas baseball season is only a little over 2.  Football on the other hand....he was in football for a few seasons and that is a sport that can definitely take some cash!  I'm glad the post made you relive some memories....thanks for sharing!

  • Travis, this brings me back to my youth... Only my poor parents had to pay a performance fee of $150 per show and we didn't get to keep the costumes. I'm appalled that the school is suggesting parents pay for hair and make-up to be professionally done. We used to do it ourselves and it took a lot of gel and hairspray (my hair is curly) but we got it done and had a blast doing it. Maybe next recital you and the neighbor can save a little more by bringing back the home beauty parlor approach. :)

  • $150 for a performance fee?  Wow, Jean that seems like a lot!   It does seem like there's a little added pressure "be like everyone else" and have the hair and makeup done in addition to the purchase of flowers.  I also hope that next year we can bring back our friend who can do the hair for free....it was a great savings, and she had done a great job for us.  Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • Travis I always love reading the different ways you have cut back costs!!  I am happy to hear that your children are still able to be involved in different activities, even while you get out of debt!!  You should be proud!

  • Thanks, Monica!  The school year is about to start, which means a new season of dance lessons.  Time to pull out the tricks!

  • Okay, $50.00 a month for ANYTHING is CHEAP!

    Second, those costume companies that you are buying from, are manufactured in a factory, and every single studio in the entire country is buying from the same exact catalogs. Not only does your teacher have to buy these costumes, he/she has to make sure to add in all the sales tax and shipping costs, because it's real easy when placing an order to end up MAJORLY in the hole.

    The cost to rent a recital venue is usually between 4,000-10,000.00. You then have to pay a sound/lights crew, janitor fees, backstage crew etc. Those ticket sales are how your teacher can afford to put on a show for your little ones. He/she is pocketing VERY little if not NONE of your ticket sale money. Some teachers have to use whatever money that is left over from the show to be able to pay the rent/bills during the summer months when the studio is closed. Your teacher has worked so hard all year to teach your child, and so many others. Provide them with knowledge, technique, choreography (next time you're sitting in that chair think of all those dances you see, SOMEONE had to come up with all of those) and sacrifice countless hours away from their families to be with YOUR child. The LEAST you could do is spend 10.00 on a ticket to watch your child perform.

    Flowers do not need to be purchased at the show, but sometimes studios will have a booster club fundraiser by selling carnations at the shows. You wouldn't believe how pointless these fundraisers are. You spend all of this money buying the flowers in bulk, trying to re-sell them for more than what you paid, and you end up making practically nothing. Though, every little bit helps.

    Hair, my best guess is your director must have issues with parents never doing their child's hair correctly, so he/she is probably offering that to be done because some parents would MUCH RATHER pay to have it done than have to mess with it themselves.

    Sports are MUCH more expensive than dance, but none of it should be viewed as nickels and dimes. You're talking about providing your child with a broader future and a much better overall sense of well-being. Dance helps with so many different aspects of life. I'd say 500.00 for the season is worth it!

  • Is there any way for dancers at a young age (under 10) to get scholarships at dance studios?

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