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

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#21
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.
This right here is your answer. You understand you need help now. You foresee a future for yourself that no longer includes the hand-holding. Make that clear to your teacher(s), these goal. And every step of the way remind them this is where you are headed, self-reliant and a good leader. Every time you write a check to the studio ask yourself am I one step closer to my goal.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#22
There must be a serious regional variance. Where I have lived in Arizona and San Diego the vast majority of competitive dancers are good to excellent social dancers . I think all three expressions ... competitive,social,and showdance are additive and not exclusive of one another .


Have I seen a competitive dancer do a huge arm New Yorker (crossover ) on a crowded social floor. Sure. But usually they are teacher trainees not competitive students!

Have I seen social dancers brag about how many ladies they can lead who take heel leads on 3 in waltz coz they haven’t trained their body to execute the technique well? Sure but they are usually group class only types who haven’t
invested in their dancing .

So... the justification for the high cost of dancing is to become as capable in each of these three arenas as you see fit. Take group. Take privates. Go to workshops and dance camps. Get coaching Do it all. I personally choose to be a rockstar in all three... hence my huge cash outlay. Coz bottom line I love to dance and want to put my best foot forward every time. Be it a heel or a toe.
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#23
My post is going to be a little all over the place, a few random remarks to give a nod to and re-iterate wise things already stated before answering the actual question:

1. Track your expenses (preferably all of them, but also dance). Set a budget and stick to it. Anyone who tries to get you outside the budget, either consider personally whether you want it enough to spend more, or stand firm.
2. No need to "wait until you are good" to go to social dances. Just go. You're not going to get any better or become part of the community as long as you're not going.
3. We are all potential cash cows, it's not just you or your demographic.
4. Go for it and enjoy it, but do exercise some restraint - the initial excitement and passion can come crashing down hard if you throw yourself too much into it all upfront.

So the thread question: I love and enjoy ballroom dance, and make a good enough living right now, to consciously decide to afford the price it commands. I have been very fortunate to have had a series of excellent instructors and many opportunities for both great times and creative expression. I also appreciate that I am paying for individualized attention from professionals who have invested a lot of time and energy into their own skill set, one that an extremely small slice of the population truly possesses. Unexpectedly for me, this has also been an arena where I have expanded my horizons and pushed out of my comfort zone (I know that sounds corny and cliche, but I walked into the studio with a very specific, focused, narrow vision and I've been stubborn along the way).

I know the conflicted feelings you are having - many, if not most of us go through this when it finally sinks in how much this fun hobby is going to cost us. As others have stated, at some point you have to figure out exactly what you want and who can provide it. If your current studio is not offering what you want, either have a frank chat about it, and/or look around to other studios to see what's available.
 

Loki

Well-Known Member
#24
Dancing indeed can be expensive and it is an ongoing cost. However, consider the costs of other hobbies like golf ($85-$100 a round at some courses near me plus clubs, balls, beer after a round), boating (the dock fees alone could buy a boatload ;) of group classes), etc., etc.

Even hobbies that have relatively low ongoing costs often have high start-up or upgrade costs. Consider woodworking. There are people who have $50K or more invested in power and hand tools.

Cheapest hobby I can think of off the top of my head is running. Buy an outfit and a pair of shoes and you're done. Until you consider the cost of knee/joint replacements. :D

You really have to do a cost-benefit analysis for yourself and yourself only. Would I pay $20,000+ a year to dance pro-am or limit myself to $10 socials once a month? No. But that doesn't mean either is a "bad thing" or "incorrect".
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
#25
As I'm single, the only person I have to justify things to is me. I regularly weigh my goals against the time and level of effort it will take to achieve them, and I decide that it's worth it. If you're with a partner or have a family, your circle needs to be a little wider, but the random passers-by in your life are not owed an explanation.

On the financial side, I have a dance budget - not just an amount per month or year, but a detailed list of what I need and want, and how much that will cost. Lessons, coaching, shoes, practice clothes, hair and makeup, competition, travel, practice and gym fees, etc... it's all there. Then I shuffle things around to fit under the annual cap - which was determined based on what I can afford to spend. Some things are not worth it to me and are not funded - like showcases - but some matter to me and are. Everyone's dance budget is different, but if you're dancing at all seriously, you should have one.

My only firm guiding rule for my dance budget: Dancing must be cash funded - no going into debt to do it - and I must not shortchange my firm costs (like paying my mortgage). I can borrow money from another discretionary category (cable, entertainment, etc. - and I've used these to increase my dance budget in the past), or make more money to fund it (selling an old dress, competition 'winnings', odd jobs, etc.), but maxing out my credit card is not an option. Making this rule way back at the beginning helped me keep my head through that 'falling in love' phase where so many are tempted to overspend.
 

debmc

Well-Known Member
#26
As I'm single, the only person I have to justify things to is me. I regularly weigh my goals against the time and level of effort it will take to achieve them, and I decide that it's worth it. If you're with a partner or have a family, your circle needs to be a little wider, but the random passers-by in your life are not owed an explanation.

On the financial side, I have a dance budget - not just an amount per month or year, but a detailed list of what I need and want, and how much that will cost. Lessons, coaching, shoes, practice clothes, hair and makeup, competition, travel, practice and gym fees, etc... it's all there. Then I shuffle things around to fit under the annual cap - which was determined based on what I can afford to spend. Some things are not worth it to me and are not funded - like showcases - but some matter to me and are. Everyone's dance budget is different, but if you're dancing at all seriously, you should have one.

My only firm guiding rule for my dance budget: Dancing must be cash funded - no going into debt to do it - and I must not shortchange my firm costs (like paying my mortgage). I can borrow money from another discretionary category (cable, entertainment, etc. - and I've used these to increase my dance budget in the past), or make more money to fund it (selling an old dress, competition 'winnings', odd jobs, etc.), but maxing out my credit card is not an option. Making this rule way back at the beginning helped me keep my head through that 'falling in love' phase where so many are tempted to overspend.
I agree. In order to continue dancing I had to come up with a firm budget. I pay all my bills including credit cards and put the max away for retirement. The dance budget comes out of discretionary funds and if I need more than I work more. Dance can be full of temptations....' I want a new costume', 'There's a great coach coming into town', 'That comp sounds like so much fun'.... But I accept that I can't do it all. I've also become a better consumer...if the dance product, whatever it might be, doesn't live up to the hype, I simply can't afford to do it.
 
#27
I enjoy it, and it's cheaper than other hobbies. Heck, even modeling and wargames can get more expensive, and both are cheaper than shooting or skiing(well, maybe if I stuck to 9mm rather than 10mm). I do plan it as part of my budget. That it's one of the best things I've done for my marriage helps justify the expense.
 
#28
Just be aware that for now, your current teachers/school are/is the source of all your dance knowledge, but there's a whole world of (your selected) dance to explore beyond them.

When my friend started learning Argentine Tango he tried a few different teachers and then settled on the one he thought best suited his perceived 'style'. The classes were fun, the other dancers and students friendly; he enjoyed himself and began learning complex moves and sequences. This teacher also held a milonga (the generic name for a tango club/event) immediately after the class at the same venue.

For several months my friend had no clue there were even other milongas in the area. I also pointed out that it didn't sound right when the teacher sometimes said to the leaders "Don't try this outside our group because other dancers won't be able to follow it." :rolleyes:

You should also consider the time, effort and money you're putting into learning to dance (particularly partnered dances) as an investment for your social life in the future...perhaps when you're no longer working. Argentine Tango for me is my insurance against sitting around reading, watching TV etc. all day when I'm retired! :D
 
#29
If you are having fun, and your wallet is not hurting, then you can already justify the cost of learning to dance. Just remember that deep down, dancing is about having fun. If you need to go to dance school and you can afford it, then go for it!
 
#30
The sheer joy, pleasure, and liberation that dance brings to my life and self image makes all the money worth it. I am a former musician by trade, and as I transitioned into a new career, I needed artistic and musical fulfillment in my life, and dance did it for me. It keeps me sane, and is probably cheaper that constant therapy sessions, LOL!
 
#31
The sheer joy, pleasure, and liberation that dance brings to my life and self image makes all the money worth it. I am a former musician by trade, and as I transitioned into a new career, I needed artistic and musical fulfillment in my life, and dance did it for me. It keeps me sane, and is probably cheaper that constant therapy sessions, LOL!
Once upon a time dancing added lots of joy to my life - it was like buying happiness! Now I seem to have reached the phase where I'm becoming insane and should seek therapist because of dance. Any suggestions on how to find a good one?
 
#33
Just thought I'd share a recent experience I had with a particular dance school which is a lot cheaper and less "formal" than the franchised dance schools.

They specialize in latin dance which I do less of in my regular dance school where I'm focusing more on the smooth dances, swing, etc. I decided to give it a try. I took their group lesson package. The instructors are overall good. Nothing against them at all. But its a couple trying to make ends meet and they're doing the best they can but because of the lower rates they offer, there's only so much they can do.

For one thing, the group lessons take place in this converted old church building. The floors creak when you step on them. The floors are also not regularly maintained so you see rocks and pebbles littered throughout. I'm probably not gonna wear my dance shoes to it anymore because it's gonna ruin my soles.

Biggest problem were the attendees. I don't want to sound like an elitist a-hole but because of the lower rates, it's very popular. I'm happy so many people are interested in learning to dance, especially in my city which is regarded as a bit of a boring city. But one thing that bothered me were the couples that came together. Often, they didn't want to dance with anyone but each other. That's their right. I get it. But it kinda ruins the whole group community experience. This was especially apparent in the practice sessions where the couples would just practice together, leaving the singles to awkwardly look for other singles to dance.

This kinda thing NEVER happens at my dance school. The floors are always cleaned and spotless. And in the group sessions or practice sessions, all the students dance with each other. The couples that come together sometimes even refuse to dance with each other. It's just much better as a community experience.

Originally, being new to the dance world, I wondered at just the need for the higher cost but now I know why. You really DO what you pay for.
 

Purr

Well-Known Member
#34
limit myself to $10 socials once a month
I've been re-reading through this thread, and the above phrase caught my attention. Unfortunately, this seems to be about where I'm headed. It's not what I would like, but it's what it is. So far this month I've had one lesson and one group class, both the same day, and I haven't went to any socials. I don't go to socials Friday because I feel tired and guilty about going, so I've been hitting the gym instead. I don't go to socials Saturday because I don't like the crowd mix. This month, I've also passed on some good workshops, for no good reason. I've been down in the dumps about dancing, and I have no idea how to get out of it.
 
#35
I've been re-reading through this thread, and the above phrase caught my attention. Unfortunately, this seems to be about where I'm headed. It's not what I would like, but it's what it is. So far this month I've had one lesson and one group class, both the same day, and I haven't went to any socials. I don't go to socials Friday because I feel tired and guilty about going, so I've been hitting the gym instead. I don't go to socials Saturday because I don't like the crowd mix. This month, I've also passed on some good workshops, for no good reason. I've been down in the dumps about dancing, and I have no idea how to get out of it.
I feel the way about my social dance community. I don't like the crowd mix. There are too many couples who only want to dance with each other.

Funnily enough, my dance school has become my dance community. I initially went to dance school in order to learn to dance so that I can attend more dance socials. But then I found the formal environment and structure of the dance school was an effective enabler of forming a good dance community. Everybody dances with one another no matter if they're in a relationship or not. Everyone is supportive of one another. And the dance floor is always clean and well kept.
 

Purr

Well-Known Member
#36
Last night I laid out a nice dress and accessories, with the intention of going to Friday's social, which will have live music. I thought if I saw the dress hanging out it might be motivation. Also when I dress up, it improves my chances of being asked to dance.

Knowing how to dance doesn't help my chances of being asked to dance. Even smiling and being polite doesn't help. But wearing a cute short dress does help.
 

IndyLady

Well-Known Member
#37
Knowing how to dance doesn't help my chances of being asked to dance. Even smiling and being polite doesn't help. But wearing a cute short dress does help.
OMG, so much truth to this. This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn during my dance journey, that being a desirable social partner is often less about competence and more about appearance and how people's perception of you makes them feel emotionally (if I hear the word "intimidating" one more time....). I distinctly recall a social I attended a few years ago with a couple female friends, I wore a skirt (I tend to favor pants) and my spouse did not attend. I have never been asked to dance so much by people I don't know.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#38
I will admit that I may be more likely to ask an attractive lady to dance -- the first time. Whether or not she gets a second dance depends on how the first dance went, whether or not it was fun.

This is a corollary to Snapdancer's Rule of Costumes which goes "I know you ladies like the hair, the dress, the jewelry, the makeup. And I'm perfectly willing to let you wear whatever you want to buy and wear. Unless, that is, I notice your hair, your dress, your jewelry, or your makeup while we're dancing. If I notice it while we're dancing, then there's something wrong with it." While dancing, I don't notice how attractive the lady is, so it doesn't really matter. The quality of our movement together is what I notice.
 
#39
Last night I laid out a nice dress and accessories, with the intention of going to Friday's social, which will have live music. I thought if I saw the dress hanging out it might be motivation. Also when I dress up, it improves my chances of being asked to dance.

Knowing how to dance doesn't help my chances of being asked to dance. Even smiling and being polite doesn't help. But wearing a cute short dress does help.
Everything you ever needed to know in life you can learn from A Chorus Line
 
#40
Last night I laid out a nice dress and accessories, with the intention of going to Friday's social, which will have live music. I thought if I saw the dress hanging out it might be motivation. Also when I dress up, it improves my chances of being asked to dance.

Knowing how to dance doesn't help my chances of being asked to dance. Even smiling and being polite doesn't help. But wearing a cute short dress does help.
That's so cute. I'm sorry you have to wear revealing clothes in order to get asked to dance. Unfortunately, men are visual creatures.

You also might want to see it from a man's perspective. The social dance environment is the last remaining place where average looking or unattractive men can still hold some old traditional male advantages. The bar scene or any other social scene is brutal towards average/unattractive men who want some female contact.

I support women's equality and I believe in meritocracy. I'm just saying that because women today don't need a man to make a living, a large portion of them are downright hostile towards men they're not attracted to in bar or other social settings.

Social dance is the only place left where a man can ask a woman and she will say yes 95% of the time. It soothes our broken ego. This is coming from someone who spent years going to pubs with my more attractive guy friends and always ending up with nothing but rejection and humiliation. I'm not complaining. I'm just stating my experiences.
 

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