What justifies the high spending cost for learning to dance to you?

Sorry if this has been repeated to death. I'm relatively new to this forum.

I just renewed another semester at my dance school. I really like my school and the instructors and the students in it. Very professional and courteous and supportive environment to learn.

The only downside is the cost, especially during times when I have to prep for upcoming performances so I need to schedule more private lessons with the instructors. But it's these prep times where I find I make the most progress. It's the urgency that motivates me and excites me.

If I have any hesitation to continue spending the money, it's totally for internal reasons. I am prone to self-doubt and internal criticism. Sometimes I look at videos of myself and wonder what I'm doing. I'll never look as good as the instructors. Other times, I think I make progress only to find out I've been doing something wrong. That's the whole one step forward, two steps back kinda thing.

Overall though, it's done wonders for me outside of the actual dancing. I no longer drink as much. I've lost a ton of weight and I'm healthier. I'm not an active gym-goer or athletic person as I'm not particularly into sports and I hate repetition so dancing gets me moving and gets me motivated to keep in shape.

Also, as the only single guy in my social group, I don't have a ton of friends to spend evenings with anymore so being part of a dance community gets me out of the house and interacting with people.

It sounds like I'm trying to convince myself haha. But yah, the dance school bills do pile up and it's now becoming similar to a 2nd mortgage. I make pretty good money in my career and I'm single so I can afford it but it is a significant amount of money.

I own my own home and my own car but I think that if I had any kind of significant expenses coming up such as if my car broke down and I needed to buy a new one or whatever, I would have to stop taking lessons.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Well, I can tell you that dancing is a big part of my social life. I do country western, swing, and Argentine Tango, and I always pipe up that there MAY be a social dance scene outside of the studio that you go to. And that if you finally decide that you don't have to keep getting better all the time, and don't have to go to competitions because you just like to dance... maybe there's a dance life that won't cost you a bundle.

And hey, self-doubt and internal criticism? Couple weeks ago I had a leak in my garage, and just about the same time my furnace stopped working. It's all good now, but, wow, what a home maintenance failure I must be. Or, maybe I just need to pay attention to the fact that I solved the problems.
So, yeah, self-doubt and internal criticism (just about every sleepless period after a night of dancing, someone didn't want to dance with me?) sounds pretty normal to me.

And welcome to DF.

And about that emergency fund...
and I always pipe up that there MAY be a social dance scene outside of the studio that you go to.
Yah I've been to those social dancing environments outside of the studio but I notice that the regulars there and the ones that really have fun are the really good dancers. When I become that good, I'm definitely gonna attend more of those. I only been dancing 6 months so I'm still relatively new to it all.


Well-Known Member
When I become that good, I'm definitely gonna attend more of those...
But that´s the reason why you spend so much money with lessons and privates. You are the cash cow of the studio and surly they will pamper you like a king. But there are many dancers around who learned "en pista". Of course, it took longer. But learning by doing also trains the social skills and the communicative ability.


Well-Known Member
I justify it because I enjoy it and can afford it. I have to cut back in other areas, but that's my choice. Many people have quit dancing because they found they were spending more money than they wanted to, however. The expenses crept upward over time and it was easier to stop than to moderate. I think it's very important to figure out what you want to spend and stick to it. (I do have a few things I'll go over budget for if I can afford to when the expense comes up.) I do NOT schedule extra lessons to prepare for events, but if I did, I would budget for them from the beginning. I consult with my primary teacher when I make the budget. I've been doing this long enough, and at this studio, that I have a fair idea of what will be available and what it will cost. Thus, he doesn't usually have a lot of adjustments, but I still discuss it with him.

I also have an emergency fund and adding to it every month is part of my overall budget. ;)

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
OP. You answered your own question . Dancing will also add long term health and mental benefits, make you more socially well rounded and possibly improve your manners and morality. Go figure. All that from 1,2,3...1,2,3...
But that´s the reason why you spend so much money with lessons and privates. You are the cash cow of the studio and surly they will pamper you like a king. But there are many dancers around who learned "en pista". Of course, it took longer. But learning by doing also trains the social skills and the communicative ability.
I guess those dancers learn more naturally? I've always had problems breaking down the specific moves. Even with private lessons, it's easy to forget. So I can't imagine learning at social events. I'd feel like I'm boring whoever I'm dancing with by asking them to teach me the steps. Most people who go to social dances just want a good time.

You are right though. The studio does see me like a cash cow. A relatively young guy who is single and is obviously motivated to dance in order to improve his social and dating life. They manipulate that in order to get me to spend more money. It's only been six months so I think I will stick around for a year. And I do feel like I'm making lots of improvements.


Well-Known Member
One way to maximize the effect of your dance spending is to make sure you're practicing a lot between lessons. Not just social dancing (which is also both fun and important, but you're right -- not generally the right place to learn new steps), but intentionally working on the things you were taught in your last lesson, so they're integrated in your muscle memory and you don't have to be re-taught them the next time. (Within reason, of course; we all need to hear some corrections multiple times.) Take notes and/or videos from your lessons so you know what to practice. See if you can find a practice partner, so you can see if the things you're practicing by yourself work with another person. (It's often useful if it's someone taking the same group classes as you are, so you're familiar with and working on some of the same things.) That way, your lessons can be truly about instruction, not expensive practice. Dance instruction will always have a certain expense (especially since you see the value in private lessons and performances), but it's not all or nothing. If you think it's something you'll want to continue long-term, better to figure out what you can sustainably spend (both in terms of your overall life budget and in terms of your emotional comfort level) and then decide how to divvy up that spending most effectively, rather than going all-out financially and then having to stop entirely.


Well-Known Member
I'd feel like I'm boring whoever I'm dancing with by asking them to teach me the steps...
There should be something between dance school and pista. A lot of dance schools offer open practice hours and socials. In some areas you can find assembly halls, cultural corner shops, or club houses, where groups or circles gather and practice for free. Why not ask people to practice in your garage or on your terrace? Or organize a flash mob with portable bluetooth speakers. I did it this way and learned pretty good without any money.
I think you are in a better position than me when I started dancing and was taking lessons. I was making about $10 per hour, and I was working more than 40 hours per week. I just did everything I could to dance, and I’m so happy that I did. Dancing has been something that has continued to give back every year since I started.

There are certainly many ways that you can continue to improve your dancing, such a self study, and going out dancing even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t have to spend large sums of private lessons to become a good dancer. But if you don’t, you certainly need to put in a lot of extra time studying.

We will still need some guidance, so I am not saying that you should not take lessons. I’m just saying that there are many ways you can improve if you are determined.

Good luck, and thank you for being a part of our community here. I’ve been here since 2002.


Well-Known Member
I have found that people generally find the money to do what they want to do. When someone says they can't afford something, it usually means that they would rather spend the money on something else they like. And there is nothing wrong with having different interests, just be honest with yourself.

Now, as long as you are paying all your bills and putting some away for the future, if you enjoy dancing go ahead and spend the money on it.


Well-Known Member
This has been mentioned before, but making a budget and sticking to it (which implicitly means you track your spending) can help remove some of the angst of spending large sums on a hobby.

Many if not most people spend their income without even knowing where it goes. And then they're dumbfounded when a look at the books shows they spent $3,000 on Starbucks in a year.



Well-Known Member
...they spent $3,000 on Starbucks in a year..
Yup. I made the decision to cut movies, eating out and coffee, and the savings are my budget for dancing. At $300 a lesson (travel is the main expense for me) that gives me 10 lessons in a year. So I video the lesson, practice by myself (and with others) in the interim, and then go back for more:) Sure I'd love to go every week, but I don't have the budget or energy for that, so I make the most of what I can do. Actually right now I am recovering my health so don't have energy even for monthly...... but DH is my practice partner so I still get to dance.
If your goal is to compete, to defeat others etc, the results of your competitions show if the training is worth it.

If your actual goal is to go out and have fun and get to know some women as a side effect, the direction your studio is heading you isn't worth a lot. Competition training does not help you a lot on the social floor and after half a year of classes and privates you should by far be good enough to go out there. And any teacher worth his money will try to make you go out there, instead of simply pumping you more stuff, that you never really use. Most of the important things of social dancing you will only learn by dancing socially.

When you see people social dancing and the really good ones seem to be the ones having the most fun, you are making the wrong conclusions.
They are good because they have fun dancing. And they are popular, which gives them the option to select whom to dance with.
They are popular because it is either fun dancing with them or of high social status. (Which for many people is a replacement for fun.)

And the regulars who aren't as good are having fun because they often times are good enough social dancers - not necessarily technically good. I know a few guys who do not seem to be anything special, until you see what kind of women are heading for them on the dance floor. These people are great social dancers.
And they are around people who they know and like dancing with. You probably will need to give it some time to join the circle of regulars - and venues that are rather open to outsiders.

To have a good time socially dancing and getting to know women more civilized than in a bar or club, you need mid level technique, specially the basics should be set. And then the most valuable skill is "social leading". The technique to make a woman do what you want in a competition does not help you, if you are dancing with real social dancers and social leading is much more about communicating and dancing together.
A competition teacher probably will not teach you this, as they do not need it and you need a lot of floor time (real life, not studio training) to get this set.
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Well-Known Member
I spend a good deal on dancing, but well within my budget. I have a social focus, so I'm not spending megabucks on dance lessons, competition fees, showcase fees, and pro performance fees. I do take a private lesson weekly to improve my dance skills.

Dancing well is it's own reward. There are some side benefits when I dance with a new follow and get the best out of her.
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Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
Right, dancing well is it's own reward. Whatever dancing means to you.

If it is social dancing then do your best at that, find the right studio that supports that goal. Don't listen to or get sidetracked by the naysayers that think social dancers are lousy, because it is not true.

If you are driven by the thrill of competition then do that, and do your best. Don't listen to the naysayers that espouse competitive dancers can't social dance because that is not true. And anyway if social dancing is not YOUR goal, but is theirs, then it really doesn't matter what they think. You do you.

Don't let others subtly bully you into following their path. Just figure out what makes you happy and do it.
I work in the consulting industry so I know all about sales and marketing tactics to get clients to spend more money. And that includes hiring pretty women to work in client-facing roles to upgrade the status of the company and image.

But being shy and having had no background in dancing, it is necessary for me to be taken step by step by a dance school into dancing. It's been six months but I can already foresee a future where I won't need the dance school as I learn the fundamentals and the basics.

It's kinda like telling a guy who grew up in Africa to all of a sudden go out and play hockey. It's not gonna happen unless he receives some very specific hand-holding instructions and that don't come cheap.
And there is the critical thing:
from the social dancer's position - snapdancer and me - the chances are high, that you are not sold the product you need but instead told, you have to buy this super expensive product and do strange things with it.

A consultant should work for the interest of the client. A good consultant explores the needs of the client, his financial capacities and tailors a fitting solution. The school on the other hand is simply trying to sell. A good school would try to sell you a quality product - they would consult you correctly - while a bad one simply would sell you as much as they can.
(If you want to play hockey in the winter 3 times a year, you don't need the 5-grand carbon stick, you need a durable one that makes it through some summers.)


As you by the other thread you opened seem to be more interested in the social dance element. (If I got you wrong, this still is true for people in that position, which are not rare.) Your school simply did not sell you the product you need. By now they should take your hand and bring you to the social dancing - or you should go out there and look for it yourself.
This taking your hands can take forms like helping you to find people to dance with - yes, many trainers help people connecting with each other. In the Latin dance scene it's an every day occurrence, that teachers show up with their classes at the venues and make them dance with each other and others.

When I restarted dancing at the age of 30 I was pathologically shy. Without the help of my later dance partner - who I met through a friend - I would have stopped after beginners class simply because I was lost out there.
The best technical training would not have helped me the smallest bit, to jump over this wall. Out there usually I am one of the better dancers, technically even above many of the wannabe show dancers. But it does not help me, when the shyness creeps in again. What helps is knowing people to dance with and having routines to get to a dance partner, to break the creeping in of insecurity.
But the techniques that make the women really want to dance with me, that makes the dance really feel good etc, aren't how many spins I can lead or do myself, how precise I can move my feet and what crazy moves I can lead. They are about how creative (not reproductive) I dance, how personal I can make the dance, how good I can adjust it to my partner ('s lack of technical standardization) and simply how gentle I can embrace her and simply make her feel good. Those abilities are useless in competition and show dancing, so they are usually not mentioned. And they are much harder to teach as they are very personal.

If your current teacher is not taking means to bring you to social dancing till now - half a year is more than enough time to teach you the basics - but you want to do social dancing, change the school.
If he was trying softly but you rejected out of insecurity, talk to him about it again. If he is worth his money he will know some women in the appropriate skill and age group to partner you with or a group of dancers from the school you can join.
Dancing is about more than doing steps correctly. Much more ...
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Well-Known Member
....For one competition / show dancer that became a good social dancer I meet, I meet a dozen more who think they are superior but are totally lost, once they are dancing with people who don't know their sub-style etc and then insist, the other's are bad (or wrong) dancers, blaming the fault on others. So the ones who get good social dancers are the exemption, not the rule.
I find myself periodically making more or less the same post I'm about to make here. Don't think I've done it for a while in any case.

The fact that you seem to have be inhabiting a dance space where dancers who compete aren't taught to lead and follow well doesn't mean that that is the norm, nor what is viewed as best-practices by people who teach competitive ballroom dancers.

I compete and, at the moment, that is the primary focus of my dancing. Guess what we work on the most? My connection and following. Not because I'm a bad follower--I'm pretty good (most of the time :rolleyes:), but because it is such a critical component of dancing well and is, shockingly, required for competing well. ;)

Are there teachers who teach competitive dancers who fail to convince their students of the importance of lead and follow? Of course there are. Are there less than stellar teachers? Of course there are. Are there students who fight tooth and nail against that hard work and want to memorize steps? Of course there are. That doesn't change how critical a good connection and good leading and following is to competing well. Even if I'm positive about what's coming next, the quality suffers incredibly if I don't follow and try to do it on my own. This is common knowledge. :)

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