Why is Kids Dance Class as Much as College Tuition?

wpid-20150530_150552.jpgThis summer Maria partook in her first, of what will be many, extracurricular activities. We signed her up for soccer and she loved it. Mike still plays soccer as an adult and though I was never big into team sports growing up, I value their importance. Soccer was a great introduction for both us and her into extracurricular activities. She is starting to understand the commitment of attending her ”games” (though soccer at 3, according to Mike, is more like herding cats than actual games), we as parents got our first feeling of change in our schedule, and it was a fair price especially since we didn’t know how she’d take to it so young.

For $75, she played 10 weeks of soccer. The price also included a team t-shirt and goodies at the end of the season (a little medal, a bag for soccer gear, some stickers and candy treats). We were pretty impressed. With the fall and winter coming, we wanted to sign her up for something else, something we know she will love, dance class.

Maria loves to move. Her favorite thing is to get us to play YouTube videos and she dances along to them. It was a no-brainer that we’d put her in dance classes. That was until I contacted the local dance academy.

At age 3-4 they’re put into an intro to dance class which is more about listening to instructors and being immersed into the dance culture than formal dance instruction. Though this particular school is widely regarded for its competitors in many forms of dance (mostly ballet), I was more than a little shocked to hear the tuition for the year (8 total months) would cost $415 plus 15% taxes and uniform cost. Over $500 to simply introduce her to it. I was also shocked to see if they stick with it and become highly competitive (dancing 10-15 hours per week), I could expect over $1,000 for tuition each semester (3-4 per year) plus competition/recital fees, pictures, costumes, dance shoes etc.

Though I value children doing something they both love and gain physical activity from, I don’t know we’ll ever get to a point where we’re willing to pay over $5,000 a year for something. Again, I don’t know as we’re many years away from that decision but do feel like I could invest $5,000 per child in many other ways- varying extracurricular rather than one single activity, more travel, more post secondary education funding, more funds in general for their needs.

I never want to be that parent who says they can’t do something, especially if it’s a financial reason but I will need them to understand and value what they’re getting for the money spent. It’s not that we wouldn’t spend $5,000 per year on our kids, it’s just that we’d need them to understand that with that sort of cash going towards a single event, there will be concessions in other areas.

In terms of where we’re at now we won’t be enrolling her into a dance class at this school for some time, if ever. We’re looking into public classes through parks and rec as well as a few other things like swimming lessons and other winter/indoor activities. I know it’s cliché, but I do want the world for my kids. I want to be able to provide them with as many opportunities in life as I possibly can, but enrolling her into a sport that has tuition as high as a year at university will limit those abilities.

Were you into, or are your kids into, any expensive extracurricular activities? How do/did you manage?

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  1. I’ve just run the numbers and we’re looking at $5,500 total for both of my kids activities for the year. This is ballet, soccer, music, gymnastics and acting. It’s a lot more than we thought they would be in, but we don’t live in an area where playing outside is an option. So if we don’t want them in front of the tv or with an iPad, then we need to get them out of the house. It’s rough, but we’ll do it to ensure that they have a great time and get to try new things.

    Let’s just hope that they don’t end up loving horse riding!

    • Catherine says:

      Fair enough, there are a lot of things to consider..is it 5500 for more than one kid? If so that’s not as bad 😉

  2. Yea, I agree with you. I am lucky that my kids’ extracurricular activities are basketball and baseball, which are cheaper, not like ballet and gymnastics. Though there are coupons to use, I think I could’t promise to my kids that I would be able to fully support their activities.
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  3. Wow, that is a lot of money! When I was teaching kids acting classes on Saturday mornings, the price was $99 for 10 weeks. And yet people complained that that was too expensive.
    I was going to suggest looking at what community centers have to offer, but you already thought of that. They should be more affordable, and more “fun” focused.
    Amanda @ My Life, I Guess recently posted..Why We Cut Our Cable AgainMy Profile

  4. I would definitely shop around and call a lot of different places and even try to negotiate or offer to work the front desk in the afternoon if you can, something like that. I took classical ballet for 20 years and what my parents liked about the school I went to was that they just focused on the ballet. They had a super normal, simple 1.5 hour recital every year. No selling ads for a program. No 5 hour long recital. No fluff. Yeah I’m sure it was costly, but they weren’t obsessed with making tons of money like many of these businesses are. They were more concerned about the art form. Usually schools associated with professional ballet companies are less into the competitions/costumes/advertising and more into the art form. Keep looking. 🙂

  5. We have been in dance since age 3 and pay about $500 a year. However, this is the cost for any class, regardless of age and level. Some of the older kids take more than one class, which adds to the cost, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. A few years ago, I would have never thought we’d spend $5000 a year on extracurriculars and we don’t at the moment. Dance is our only paid program and we do a free writing program at the library, but down the road I know it could get more expensive.

    I didn’t have very many opportunities growing up and my Mom didn’t really support the activity I loved, which was running and cross country (thought it was dumb to run, wanted a cheerleader). Because of that I will probably be supportive if my daughter wants to do something she loves as long as she is a good student and pulls her weight at home. I’m certainly not above making her earn some money if it’s something really expensive like a foreign exchange program. This is a huge reason we got out of debt and became financially responsible. I hope she doesn’t want to spend $5K per year on something, but I would certainly consider it if it were worthwhile and offered benefit in some way.
    Kim recently posted..Dental Insurance is a Rip OffMy Profile

    • Catherine says:

      I think it’s important to have balance between what your kids want and family finances. I do like the idea of them earning contributions too.

  6. My son is just reaching the age where we can get him into some recreational activities. We looked at a dance program and soccer and I’m shocked at the overall cost. Beyond registration there’s the gear he needs (that he’ll outgrow in one season) and all of the costs getting him to and from practice, games, recitals, etc. With another little guy coming up behind him as well, we’ll have to start seriously budgeting for kid’s recreation!
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  7. That sounds like a lot! My kids are in gymnastics and it is $136 per month for two kids to go once per week. No uniforms either which is nice. They just wear leotards.

  8. I just signed my daughter up for gymnastics (it’s a Mom and me class) for $60/month. If she ever gets to a competitive level I will most certainly be bartering for tuition!
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  9. I wanted to do dance as a kid (mostly because all my friends were doing it), but my parents put me in karate instead. (I hated karate.) They decided on karate because of the cost difference mostly (I think), and while I did end up doing different activities I liked more later on that were still a lot cheaper than dance, I did not like karate at all. Dance is super expensive though, so I understand the hesitation.
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted..10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funky MoodMy Profile

  10. As much as training costs, your concern is valid. Wanting to get the most value out of what you pay for is a goal many parents will understand.

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Why is Kids Dance Class as Much as College Tuition?

wpid-20150530_150552.jpgThis summer Maria partook in her first, of what will be many, extracurricular activities. We signed her up for soccer and she loved it. Mike still plays soccer as an adult and though I was never big into team sports growing up, I value their importance. Soccer was a great introduction for both us and her into extracurricular activities. She is starting to understand the commitment of attending her ”games” (though soccer at 3, according to Mike, is more like herding cats than actual games), we as parents got our first feeling of change in our schedule, and it was a fair price especially since we didn’t know how she’d take to it so young.

For $75, she played 10 weeks of soccer. The price also included a team t-shirt and goodies at the end of the season (a little medal, a bag for soccer gear, some stickers and candy treats). We were pretty impressed. With the fall and winter coming, we wanted to sign her up for something else, something we know she will love, dance class.

Maria loves to move. Her favorite thing is to get us to play YouTube videos and she dances along to them. It was a no-brainer that we’d put her in dance classes. That was until I contacted the local dance academy.

At age 3-4 they’re put into an intro to dance class which is more about listening to instructors and being immersed into the dance culture than formal dance instruction. Though this particular school is widely regarded for its competitors in many forms of dance (mostly ballet), I was more than a little shocked to hear the tuition for the year (8 total months) would cost $415 plus 15% taxes and uniform cost. Over $500 to simply introduce her to it. I was also shocked to see if they stick with it and become highly competitive (dancing 10-15 hours per week), I could expect over $1,000 for tuition each semester (3-4 per year) plus competition/recital fees, pictures, costumes, dance shoes etc.

Though I value children doing something they both love and gain physical activity from, I don’t know we’ll ever get to a point where we’re willing to pay over $5,000 a year for something. Again, I don’t know as we’re many years away from that decision but do feel like I could invest $5,000 per child in many other ways- varying extracurricular rather than one single activity, more travel, more post secondary education funding, more funds in general for their needs.

I never want to be that parent who says they can’t do something, especially if it’s a financial reason but I will need them to understand and value what they’re getting for the money spent. It’s not that we wouldn’t spend $5,000 per year on our kids, it’s just that we’d need them to understand that with that sort of cash going towards a single event, there will be concessions in other areas.

In terms of where we’re at now we won’t be enrolling her into a dance class at this school for some time, if ever. We’re looking into public classes through parks and rec as well as a few other things like swimming lessons and other winter/indoor activities. I know it’s cliché, but I do want the world for my kids. I want to be able to provide them with as many opportunities in life as I possibly can, but enrolling her into a sport that has tuition as high as a year at university will limit those abilities.

Were you into, or are your kids into, any expensive extracurricular activities? How do/did you manage?

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?

Pid

Subscribe to get our latest content by email.

Powered by ConvertKit

  1. nsheils says:

    I’ve just run the numbers and we’re looking at $5,500 total for both of my kids activities for the year. This is ballet, soccer, music, gymnastics and acting. It’s a lot more than we thought they would be in, but we don’t live in an area where playing outside is an option. So if we don’t want them in front of the tv or with an iPad, then we need to get them out of the house. It’s rough, but we’ll do it to ensure that they have a great time and get to try new things.

    Let’s just hope that they don’t end up loving horse riding!

    1. Catherine says:

      Fair enough, there are a lot of things to consider..is it 5500 for more than one kid? If so that’s not as bad 😉

  2. Yea, I agree with you. I am lucky that my kids’ extracurricular activities are basketball and baseball, which are cheaper, not like ballet and gymnastics. Though there are coupons to use, I think I could’t promise to my kids that I would be able to fully support their activities.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Handover and the Final InvoiceMy Profile

    1. Catherine says:

      Yeah exactly, it’s hard!

  3. Wow, that is a lot of money! When I was teaching kids acting classes on Saturday mornings, the price was $99 for 10 weeks. And yet people complained that that was too expensive.
    I was going to suggest looking at what community centers have to offer, but you already thought of that. They should be more affordable, and more “fun” focused.
    Amanda @ My Life, I Guess recently posted..Why We Cut Our Cable AgainMy Profile

  4. I would definitely shop around and call a lot of different places and even try to negotiate or offer to work the front desk in the afternoon if you can, something like that. I took classical ballet for 20 years and what my parents liked about the school I went to was that they just focused on the ballet. They had a super normal, simple 1.5 hour recital every year. No selling ads for a program. No 5 hour long recital. No fluff. Yeah I’m sure it was costly, but they weren’t obsessed with making tons of money like many of these businesses are. They were more concerned about the art form. Usually schools associated with professional ballet companies are less into the competitions/costumes/advertising and more into the art form. Keep looking. 🙂

  5. Kim says:

    We have been in dance since age 3 and pay about $500 a year. However, this is the cost for any class, regardless of age and level. Some of the older kids take more than one class, which adds to the cost, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. A few years ago, I would have never thought we’d spend $5000 a year on extracurriculars and we don’t at the moment. Dance is our only paid program and we do a free writing program at the library, but down the road I know it could get more expensive.

    I didn’t have very many opportunities growing up and my Mom didn’t really support the activity I loved, which was running and cross country (thought it was dumb to run, wanted a cheerleader). Because of that I will probably be supportive if my daughter wants to do something she loves as long as she is a good student and pulls her weight at home. I’m certainly not above making her earn some money if it’s something really expensive like a foreign exchange program. This is a huge reason we got out of debt and became financially responsible. I hope she doesn’t want to spend $5K per year on something, but I would certainly consider it if it were worthwhile and offered benefit in some way.
    Kim recently posted..Dental Insurance is a Rip OffMy Profile

    1. Catherine says:

      I think it’s important to have balance between what your kids want and family finances. I do like the idea of them earning contributions too.

  6. Dane Hinson says:

    My son is just reaching the age where we can get him into some recreational activities. We looked at a dance program and soccer and I’m shocked at the overall cost. Beyond registration there’s the gear he needs (that he’ll outgrow in one season) and all of the costs getting him to and from practice, games, recitals, etc. With another little guy coming up behind him as well, we’ll have to start seriously budgeting for kid’s recreation!
    Dane Hinson recently posted..Investing is a Long-Term GameMy Profile

  7. That sounds like a lot! My kids are in gymnastics and it is $136 per month for two kids to go once per week. No uniforms either which is nice. They just wear leotards.

  8. I just signed my daughter up for gymnastics (it’s a Mom and me class) for $60/month. If she ever gets to a competitive level I will most certainly be bartering for tuition!
    Kara @ The Daily Whisk recently posted..Sunshine Blogger AwardMy Profile

    1. Catherine says:

      haha The dentist I work with barters his services for EVERYTHING!

  9. I wanted to do dance as a kid (mostly because all my friends were doing it), but my parents put me in karate instead. (I hated karate.) They decided on karate because of the cost difference mostly (I think), and while I did end up doing different activities I liked more later on that were still a lot cheaper than dance, I did not like karate at all. Dance is super expensive though, so I understand the hesitation.
    Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore recently posted..10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funky MoodMy Profile

  10. Christina says:

    As much as training costs, your concern is valid. Wanting to get the most value out of what you pay for is a goal many parents will understand.

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