How To Save Money At The Studio
As I’m sure we all know, dance is ridiculously expensive. Not only do we pay for monthly classes, but we also have to account for costume fees, dance attire, competition fees, summer intensive fees, studio apparel, and so much more. If money is tight—or if you are just looking to cut costs a little bit—try implementing some of the below tips.
Reuse A Costume
If you attend a competition studio, you know that the cost of costumes really adds up year after year, especially if you are in 12 numbers a year like I was. If you have a solo or duo/trio, try to reuse an old costume from the year before or from another dance friend. Judges see a lot of competition dances in a year, so the chance of them remembering your exact costume from a year before is highly unlikely. That is, of course, if you even have the same judges year after year.
Skip the Professional Studio Photos
If your studio brings in a photographer to photograph you in costumes, take a pass on those! With today’s technology, you can use a phone to take a photo of comparable quality. I’ve always felt that studio photo shoots are more for dancers in their first couple years of dancing or for those who dance recreationally. If you are a competitive dancer, then you will have a ton of photos in your costume from all of the competitions you do each year. Most competitions have a nice backdrop that you can use for your photos. So ultimately, the studio photo shoots aren’t necessary if you’re trying to save some money.
Work Study / Assisting
For those instructors who teach young children, (i.e., toddlers to the kindergarten level), they may need help! It’s hard to keep an eye on that many kids in a dance class. Or if there is a huge class, a teacher may need someone to help go around and correct dancers. See if they need an assistant to help out in those classes in exchange for money off of your monthly tuition. If they have plenty of teachers and assistants, then see if they need someone to help clean around the studio. Dance studios are full of germs, and there is always disinfecting to be done. While you may have to come into the studio before the day even starts or stay after everyone leaves, ask if you can exchange your time for a discount on your monthly tuition. I’ve also seen parents help clean studios as well. It never hurts to ask!
Limit Your “Extra” Dances
Every studio is run differently. Some studios require their competition dancers to compete in jazz, contemporary, tap, and production numbers. Each studio has a different requirement. But I’ve never come across a studio that requires students to participate in three solos at competition. Do one solo instead of three, or pass on doing a duet for a year. I’m not saying you have to make these cuts, by any means. If you can afford it, all the power to you! But for those who are struggling a bit financially, it’s okay to say no to those extra dances. Maybe take that money and instead attend a convention or save for a new pair of tap shoes. It’s okay to not be in every number.
Share Hotel Rooms
When attending competitions or conventions try splitting a hotel room with another family. I understand this might not be possible for all families, especially for those who have more than one dancer. But for those dancers who attend competition with just a single parent, it’s an easy way to save money. While at these events, you rarely spend time in the hotel room as it is. Travel can add on a huge additional cost, as I’m sure you all know, so it doesn’t hurt to save where you can.
One thing I highly suggest not saving money on is dance shoes. At a younger age, dancers grow out of their shoes fairly quickly. But buying someone’s old dance shoes… EW! GROSS! NO! I rarely see dancers wear tights on the competition stage anymore, which means they are putting their bare feet into shoes time and time again. You especially don’t want to use someone else’s old pointe shoes. I know pointe shoes are ridiculously expensive, but they mold to the dancer’s feet with each use. Everyone’s feet are different. And since pointe is very dangerous, you shouldn’t be worried about twisting an ankle or hurting yourself because your pointe shoes don’t fit properly. Invest in your shoes, invest in your feet, and invest in your body. There are a handful of ways to save money other than using someone’s old shoes.