General Dance Discussion > Why are some people so cheap about dance lessons?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by jennyisdancing, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I was just thinking about this...

    I know some people who want to learn how to dance. I've suggested places/teachers that I know are good. They ask how much it costs. I respond that group lessons typically range from $12-15 each, and this information is received with frowns and comments about where to get a cheaper price.

    Let me make clear these are employed, professional people who don't hesitate to drop $20-30 weekly (or more often) on casual dinner and drinks, or a movie + popcorn. What gives here? I also know some folks who do take dance lessons but still, choose the place that charges a couple bucks less, regardless of the quality. And by "a couple bucks", I mean literally that...the cost of a cup of Starbucks. Personally, I'd rather cook my own dinner and make my own coffee at home, in order to have the money for dance lessons.

    It makes me sad that dance is so devalued. Yes, of course, the economy is bad, but again, I'm talking about people with some means, who are making these choices. And I saw this problem even when the economy was good, too. Thoughts?
  2. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    jennyisdancing: for me, overall, the money for dance lessons has been well spent, particularly for the private lessons and coaching...
  3. morgrob

    morgrob New Member

    Jenny, I agree with you too, but I think it probably comes down to the quality of dancing they want to achieve. If they are OK with just walking around on the floor, then that is what they are going to pay for. Maybe after they take lessons with the mediocre people, they will realize they want to be better and understand what the cost is for becoming better.
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Eh. People have money for what they want to have money for. (With the usual caveat that I'm talking about how people spend what money they have, not poverty.)

    A few months before I started dancing (group classes only initially, then private lessons shortly thereafter) I was thinking about taking up riding. Found a farm, spoke with the teacher, yada yada. Decided, ultimately, that $50 or so a lesson was too expensive. And then I found dancing. Private lessons were that much, but somehow I was willing to spend it. A year later I justified a trip to Argentina, and then I came back and took lessons for a lot more than that. I found the money to spend on what I wanted to spend it on.

    People aren't exactly rational. (One of the biggest fallacies of economics, IMO.)
  5. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Well, of course...this forum is mostly people like yourself. But I'm talking about folks who balk at a $12 group lesson! Even fast-food meals cost nearly ten bucks these days. I just don't understand it. There seems to be a disconnect or something. Some people see good dancers and want to be like them, yet when they are told they can achieve that with lessons, they don't believe it. :confused:

    Edit: I now recall also that I have given friends free passes to a class or, in one case, a whole week of classes at my studio. These were people who I knew had a definite interest in dance lessons. They still were reluctant. It had to be some issue there, other than just money.
  6. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    Yes, these are all excellent points. Like your comparison in price to something people ordinarily spend money on. Yes... :cheers:
  7. major swing

    major swing Member

    these folks have no idea of the joy dancing can bring into your life, if they did they wouldnt balk at the price..... we spend a fortune on dvds for learning at home, as well as lessons, and its worth every penny when i see the smile on my wifes face as we tootle around the floor, or when people ask us how long we have danced to get so "good"............ truth is we have only danced for two and a half years but invest endless time and money in our hobby,
    i say hobby, i mean our passion, our....... well, i guess you all know what i mean!!!!
  8. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    it's just a matter of value, nothing more. they don't value it enough to spend that amount, if they do have discretionary funds available.

    as with everything else... we all have different tastes & preferences. a night of dancing to someone else may not have the same appeal it has to us here. :)
  9. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Hmmm, I could see an ad campaign for a dance studio:


    Stop at the bar, buy two beers and get a bigger gut.
    Eat a greasy meal at a diner every week and increase your cholesterol.
    In either case, the food and drinks are quickly forgotten (although the pounds remain!).
    For $12 a week, you could take a dance lesson. You'll burn calories, make friends, improve your coordination, gain confidence and learn a fun new skill. The benefits can last you a lifetime. Isn't that worth $12?
  10. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    This is what I was looking for. Expounding on it, there are 3 types of dancers.....

    1. Pros - who value it as a job
    2. Serious Student - perhaps has specific goals; comps, etc
    3. General Public - those whom JID is speaking of, who think of dance as just something people do, not seriously, at a bar on friday nights. These persons, as Peaches said, do not see it as something worth paying more for than the beer they are drinking while dancing; because to them it is "recreational", and does not have any career value or goal value other than friday nights.

    Been dealing with this for years............. :confused:
  11. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I guess I'm asking about type #4: The person who has an interest in something other than club dancing, yet hesitates to do anything about it. I mean, I know people who attend local venues where they admire trained (amateur) dancers (for example there are a couple places in my area where there are some hustle dancers mixed in with the freestylers, or a rockabilly club that gets some swing dancers).

    These are the people I wonder about - the ones who say things like "I wish I could dance like that" - but when told, that in fact, they can dance like that - and for an extremely modest price - still choose not to do it.
  12. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I think they still belong with general public type. Also, I am not sure if a statement "I wish I could do xxx" is really expressing a true desire to do something. It's like - it would be nice if it just magically happened, but I don't want to put too much effort and resources into it. That pretty much sums up how I feel about swimming.
  13. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    +1. Bingo!
  14. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Double bingo! I think the high turnover rate among new dance students probably is tied in with #3 more than anything else.
  15. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    LOL!!! :cheers: I love that, jennyisdancing!!! :banana:
  16. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    There's a place in my area that charges $3 for a group lesson. People flock there. And they get what they pay for. I can always tell a leader who's learned there within a couple of steps.
  17. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    waltzgirl, which is why we value so much the lessons (of all sorts) at our studio...

    jennyisdancing, thanks for bringing up this topic in the forum. It's interesting... :cheers:
  18. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    First, people are notoriously bad at calculating the value of anything (see other insights of irrational economic theory), but one of the worst areas I've seen is calculating the ratio of entertainment per dollar. Ignoring the quality of entertainment we see that some types of entertainment cost a lot and end quickly (low ratio) and some are cheap or last a long time or both (high ratio). For example*:

    $10 Movie (2 hours) = $5.00/hr
    $700 cruise vacation (168 hours) = $4.17/hr
    $20 hardback novel (12 hours) = $1.67/hr
    $50 designer board game (20 hours) = $2.50/hr
    $50 gourmet meal (1.5 hours) = $33.33

    * These are based on average prices or my own, uncited sources. For example, I assume a 400 page novel and the average reader goes at 240 words per minute. I also calculate everything based on only one person; thus if the board game owner played with 3 friends, the entertainment ratio would actually be $0.63/hr.

    By these calculations, a book is the best investment for one's money, while a meal at a good restaurant is the worst. Yet most people are much more likely to save up for a meal at a fancy restaurant than to purchase a 400 page book. Now let's consider dance lessons.

    Assume a dedicated but not obsessive dancer takes one group class ($15), one private lesson ($75), and goes to one dance party each week ($10), for a total of $100. Let's assume the lessons are an hour each, that each qualifies as entertainment, and that the party is three hours, for a total of 5 hours of entertainment. That's $20/hr, actually a pretty poor ratio. Someone better love dance (get a high quality return on that ratio)!

    Casual students, however, can get much better ratios. By dropping the private lesson, the ratio improves to $6.25/hr, not much more expensive than a movie. If the student has specific goals and reaches them, then decides to only take free classes included at social parties, the ratio becomes $3.33/hr, a great rate! Of course, the student is probably a mediocre dancer at best.

    Dancing is expensive. There are many reasons it's worth the expense, but it's very difficult to sell dance based on affordability. People fall in love with dance and become dancers not because of how cheap it is, but because they value it more than anything else they could do with the money.
  19. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    suburbaknght, that's an impressive analysis...
  20. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Yes, very good analysis. I agree that people choose their priorities. And for whatever reason, I see a lot more people choosing other types of activities instead of dance (sometimes expensive ones, and sometimes requiring a lot of lessons).

    Let's take skiiing, for example. That's an expensive and high-skill hobby, requiring lessons, equipment and travel, as well as a pretty good fitness level - and you can't even do it all year round. Mountain biking is another one. Good bikes run into the thousands, and the group rides are hours long. Yet if you go to an average cocktail party, you'll likely find a lot more skiiers and mountain bikers than dancers. And people think of skiiing and mountain biking as attainable skills, even though they aren't really easy. Don't know why, it's just the preference in our society, I guess.

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