Profitt Report: Planning for the cost of your kids' dance lessons

Photo credit: Mike Japowicz

English, math and science aren’t the only classes kids are taking: dance classes are well underway for the school year. Learning ballet or tap dancing is a beloved extracurricular for kids across the country, but parents don’t always love the bill that comes with those lessons.

“I’ve been dancing since the age of three,” said Carisa Canfield, co-owner of Studio 3, A Dance Company, “I absolutely fell in love with it and haven't stopped since.”

Canfield owns the studio with her sisters in Chesaning. She remembers, once she got a little older, mom and dad had her chip in for the cost of her dance lessons. That financial lesson stuck with her and as an owner, she’s careful to point out costs so parents know how to budget.

“Most studios, you pay by the month,” Canfield said, “some places charge a recital fee, our studio, we don’t do that.”

You’ll pay usually $28-40 a month for the class, depending on the style of dance and your kid’s age. Depending on where you’re dancing, it’s a good idea to ask about a registration fee, too.

Next, you’ll likely need some kind of footwear.

“Once Upon a Child is amazing for dance clothes and dance shoes,” said Mandee Wunderle, who helps with classes at Studio 3, “I was like a kid in a candy store when I went in there!”

Wunderle’s three boys are also enrolled in classes and she said the dance parent community often relies on each other for help with those little extras.

“All you have to do is ask speak up and say, ‘I'm looking for this size shoe, does anybody have any that they'd like to pass on?’”

After all, a pair of tap shoes that fits your kid today probably won’t next year. When you go to purchase those shoes, keep potential growth spurts in mind.

“We buy a size bigger for all of our kids, or a half a size bigger, that way they last throughout the whole year” Wunderle said. In the meantime, they just wear thick socks.

Next, don’t forget about the culmination of all that work: the dance recital. Your kid will likely need a costume or two.

“We typically try to keep them under $70, the most we've gone over is $75,” Canfield said. However, every studio operates differently with their price structure.

Dance mom Brandi McNaughton said the expenses are a small price to pay for the confidence her kid is building. She plans ahead to offset the costs.

“Okay, this is going to be part of the budget for the school year and just navigate it, just part of our extracurricular activities and just try to make room for it,” she said.

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