When meeting new people in the business community, it’s not unusual for them to ask me about many of the programs we offer at Neighborhood Music School. And when they discover that we also offer Dance Classes, I always get the question, “How much do Dance Classes cost?”
I usually respond – “Less than other dance studios in the area.”
Which may not appear to be true, initially, but once you consider the multitude of expenses you’re required to take on at most dance studios, you’ll understand why I say this.
While dance schools may appear to be offering pretty much the same thing, a little research will reveal that’s just not the case. There are so many different types of classes available to those who want to learn, and each studio has its own personality, rules, and range of costs.
Be prepared to ask if they require a year-long commitment, which, for a beginning student, can be a lot to ask.
Other questions you may want to ask include:
- What if my child doesn’t like the class?
- Does he/she have to have prior dance experience?
- What about a one-time registration fee?
- Is there a discount if my other child wants to take a class too?
- How many children are likely to be in the dance class?
- How long are most dance classes?
- Does my child have to be in a big recital?
All of these issues can vary from place to place.
What Am I Getting For My Money With Dance Classes?
Many studios specialize in a limited number of dance genres, but at NMS, there is everything from ballet to tap dance, jazz dance, hip-hop dance, modern dance, and even classes for adult dancers. Most local studios only teach adult dance if it’s ballroom-style.
Usually, dance studios are independently owned and teach classes and routines based on teacher-led “repeat-after-me” learning routines, which focus minimally on technique, and eventually culminate in a large, year-end recital, or series of recitals. Commonly, all routines and choreography are created by the teachers.
At quality dance schools, students are taught by experienced teaching artists who focus on technique, strength, and skill-building from September to January, and then from February to June, they focus on teaching actual dance routines.
What Makes Dance Classes Expensive?
So while the course listings at most local dance studios might range anywhere from $495 to $675 for nine months for an hour-long dance class, there are usually additional hidden costs.
I encourage you to carefully compare prices for tuition, registration, costumes, and all other expenses.
Many schools may not make you aware of required purchases until you are locked in and have no choice but to overpay for them. These costs can add up! Be sure to ask about the following:
At Most Local Studios
- Add-on fees
- Costumes: a minimum of $50-90 per costume per dance
- Mandatory photos for a program book
- Mandatory minimum ticket purchase
Once a student has been dancing for a while and has gained strong confidence and performance skills, they can move into joining a competitive dance team, if they want to. This too can run into some significant expenses. These include:
- More expensive costumes
- Specific shoes, tights, & accessories
- Travelling, hotels
- Entrance fees for each dance in each competition
Some dance studios offer competitive students the option of having individual fundraising kits to help offset the costs they must incur. But selling wrapping paper or candy bars can become a big project, requiring a serious time commitment.
Costs at Neighborhood Music School
In comparison, Neighborhood Music School offers an all-inclusive price in a non-competitive environment for dance classes. Students can also apply for financial aid, which is rarely available at other Dance schools.
An hour-long dance class at Neighborhood Music School will average $835 for 10 months (Sept. – June) but the price is all-inclusive:
- No costume or recital fees
- No mandatory photos for a program
- No mandatory ticket purchase minimum
- Dance performances in a professional concert format
- No competitive, traveling dance team
Dance classes at Neighborhood Music School (NMS) can be taken for one session running from September to February or both sessions from September to June. You register for the academic year, and then you may withdraw if you don’t want to continue, starting the following February.
Collaborative Choreography at NMS
All NMS Dance Classes embrace the collaborative choreography process, where students and teachers put their creative thoughts together, experiment with movement and music, and eventually, they produce a dance, which is later performed for an audience.
All levels have the opportunity to get involved in this meaningful experience, from pre-ballet up to adult. It’s interactive, fun and everyone gets involved. The focus is primarily on the process, not the finished product.
Students learn valuable life skills through dance by first presenting their ideas, then formatting a plan, giving and receiving feedback, and then seeing their concept come to life.
Through a wide range of class offerings, students increase their kinesthetic awareness, their ability to analyze and articulate movement, their confidence and their ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with others.
Even students ages 3-5 present a personalized piece, performed in a friendly, low-pressure in-studio sharing. This experience teaches collaboration skills, confidence building, and learning to accept constructive criticism.
The majority of dance classes in the area offer recorded music only, while at NMS, there are live musical accompanists in Ballet and Modern classes, and students have the opportunity to interact with the musicians regularly.
So don’t forget the most important question of all: Does your child enjoy dancing? (Or do you?)
If the answer is yes, start shopping around. For kids and adults of all ages, dance classes can be a fun, challenging experience that gets your body moving and helps relieve stress. The life skills that kids can learn through a dance class have values that will last a lifetime.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dance Classes that Neighborhood Music School offers, visit our dance department page or contact our Dance Department Chair,