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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is this common?


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I just ran across a situation where the teacher is expected to pay for studio time spent on rehearsals for the school recitals. Students must pay the teacher, about half the normal class cost.


Last year the studio time was free, and students paid a voluntary sum to the teacher - it worked out on average, those who could afford it paid a normal class fee, the poor and starving didn't, and nobody was unhappy, or ungrateful. Nobody got rich either, but none of us, student, teacher, or studio owner are in this for the money!


I have practically zero experience, so I wondered what other studios normally do?

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My experience has been that if I am rehearsing a school or school-affiliated student company production, the students pay their tuition or company membership fees to the school, and the school pays me. If I am holding private lessons or otherwise using studio space for anything not connected with the school, the dancers would pay me directly, and I would pay the school for studio rental.

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Excuse me, but if the teacher is working for the school, and it is a SCHOOL recital, then the school pays the teacher for her time, NOT the students. That is ridiculous. I have never, ever heard of such a thing.


As Hans said, anything not connected to the studio, like private classes or coaching, then the student pays the teacher. But not for school performances. Nope. Not good. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

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When I was in grad school, there wasn't an official university dance program, but there was an official dance society. A teacher was hired by this society, and thus acquired most of her students through these classes. She also, at different times, taught for 'schools', but essentially became competitive and started running her own private classes as well. She also decided to hold performances, but she wanted them to be 'big'.............. As in, a larger than necessary hall, three performances in a day and a half with no guaranteed audience (unless the dancers were university students who had their friends come, etc). She rented rehearsal space, and thus dancers contributed to it, but as time went on, the price went up.........


This was disgruntling for me. Essentially, you paid more if:

1. You were cast in more roles or

2. You were dedicated and showed up for all rehearsals or

3. You joined the show from the beginning, and were not one of the people she called upon at the VERY last minute to participate


If you were cast in more roles, danced more, etc, you also had the cost of pointe shoes, tights, a bit of the costumes, etc. Oh, and as time went on, we were asked to help make the costumes, solicit ads for the program, help set-up, clean-up, etc -- there were times when the week of the performance I'd hardly sleep, be up until 3 or so fixing costumes, going to rehearsals, etc etc etc............. and then expected to dance almost constantly on stage for 2+ hours each performance.......... As the costs of rehearsing went up, we also realized that the costs of the rehearsals were going to cover her other production costs. It all felt rather shady and exploitative and self-aggrandizing to me ............ It didn't help that the rehearsals were very poorly organized and wasted a lot of time.


That said, I'm happy to pay a 'costume fee' or something of the sort.................... but when I started to do the math about all I was doing in terms of time and money....................... :)

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I have seen what Ami describes, and I have also seen other schools (recreational, NOT pre-pro) that charged approx. $25/recital fee, plus costume fees (usually more than 1 costume, depending on how many classes & dances one is in)-usually about $50/costume & no fees for rehearsal which are held as part of class time (not ideal but this is at a recreational place, not pre-pro).


What seems to happen is that if you have a large student base, a reasonable fee can be charge so supplement theatre costs for the end of year show. However, if there is a very small student base, students have to fund raise with ad sales/sponsorships to cover theatre costs. I get tired of fundraising, too. Its a shame that the arts will never, ever bring in the money that pro sports do. Wouldn't it be great if they did bring in tons of money-we could have so many more dance companies, dance schools, more dancers with paying jobs, etc....

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Thanks, everyone! This is exactly the variety of perspectives I was looking for.

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