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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weighing the Cost

Lady Elle

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Hello, I'm new to this forum and am very impressed with the information here! I've been on some other sites and the students and parents here are very helpful and serious about their ballet studies. Love that!

There seems to be many homeschooling, full time training students/parents here. Do any of you worry that the investment will be made obsolete by things that are out of your control?


My dd (13) is currently 5'9" . She's already too tall for most companies (corps) and if she grows much taller, I just wonder what her chances are at all.


I cannot afford to send her away for training, nor can I afford homeschooling and privates and 20+ hours weekly. We're already spending close to $500 monthly and its a bit of a strain. Feeling a little discouraged as the reality of the financial costs seems futile, then with the thought that she'll just grown right out of opportunities... Well, you get the idea!



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My DD will be attending a charter school next year. They will transport her to the studio at noon for day classes with the professional dancers. She will receive credits for dance (electives credit). The cost of the charter school is free! Some state education agencies have free online classes. I know that my state has a complete, intense, online school program that is free. You would be surprised at what is out there.

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I don't think anyone can know what the outcome will be for any of our children with professional aspirations. Even those that seem on a direct track can have issues that arise that are out on one's control such as an injury. In answer to your question, yes, my DH and I wonder a lot whether we are going down the right path. I am a stay at home mom and we have always homeschooled so we have only ever had one income. Our ballet costs run around $700 per month not including shoes, etc. It is definitely a financial strain and we wonder how things would be different if we never took DD to her first ballet class! Money that we could have used for college savings has gone instead to ballet classes and summer intensives when we could afford them.


I think the thing is, though, that you have to look at the big picture. How has dance help to create the person your daughter is? Has she learned to be more dedicated? Has she learned to be more resilient? How else has her personality been shaped by dance that will cause her to succeed in whatever she attempts in life? There are life lessons that have been learned and will continue to be learned along this path and they really are priceless. We do know of many professional dancers around your daughter's height. We've also heard of some that were too tall so they forged their own path and created a dance career where height isn't a problem. You don't know whether your daughter will be too tall, have an injury, decide she no longer wants to dance a few years from now, or she is one of those who gets that paid contract. All you can do is allow her to follow her dreams and be there both emotionally and financially in a way that you can. If that means not having the private lessons and expensive summer intensives, then so be it. They will still succeed with the right training. The rest will fall into place.


As backstagemom mentioned, there are many free to very inexpensive ways to homeschool. I would check with the local homeschool group to find out. Homeschooling isn't necessarily done the traditional way anymore and most states have a virtual school option that is free.

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Welcome Lady Elle! We're glad you're here. Yes, we do have a good number of homeschool parents here whose children dance. We also have a good number of parents who used traditional schooling while their children danced. If you'll use our search engine and put in "homeschooling" and make sure forums are in the grey box, you'll find several threads where homeschool parents have talked about schooling itself.


You can also put words like: financing dance, affording dance, family finances, etc in search and find many discussions of how parents have made the expense of dance training work with their budgets.


I hope some of our additional homeschooling parents will soon come to this thread to discuss what you've asked since it's a bit of a different slant on the general question. Welcome! And thanks for enjoying the site.

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Thank you ladies. Backstagemom - wow! What an awesome program. I'll have to dig a little deeper and see whats available in my area. TwelfthNight - yes, there are certainly some great intangibles that dancing has provided. Also, my wording was a bit off. I can do homeschooling, I've looked into it many times just for other reasons. We've talked about it and dd really does not want to homeschool. What I cannot afford is the private lessons that seems to be the path that many girls on the professional path take. But, we'll do what we can and see where this journey leads us!!


thanks again!

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Private lessons?


My daughter averages possibly 2 private lessons a year, maybe even less. She has had one in the last 10 months and that was to work on an issue that she felt she wasn't able to solve as quickly in class. A one hour session with 1 on 1 attention made a world of difference for her. There was a year when she had 3, hence my guess of an average of 2 in a year. That's it. Total private lesson time. Not 1 or 2 a week or even in a month but in a calendar year. :) Between schooling (whether home or traditional) and life in general, most of the dancers in dd's program do not take private lessons on any sort of regular basis. Very few even do the occasional lesson.


What you will also read here at Ballet Talk is that, with the exception of coaching for a competition (something that is also not necessary), dancers in a pre-pro program getting the necessary amount of class time for their level, do not need regular private lessons.


It is indeed a journey and none of us know which way the path will flow for our children, dancing or otherwise.


As a side note, we had a gorgeous tall ballerina graduate from dd's school a few years back. She continued to grow throughout her late teens and is considerably taller than 5'9". She is working as a dancer, but is not in a classical ballet company. There are other paths out there, even within dance.

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Private lessons are not a necessary item to build in for expensing purposes. My DD has danced 20 years without a single private lesson and is at the company-ready stage. So that's one expense you can cross off the list----as long as your DD has good, quality training.

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Ditto what Dancemaven said. My DD is about to begin her fifth season with a company and has never had a private lesson in her life. Don't let the Joneses make you to think you need to keep up. :wink:

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A while ago a read an interesting article in an SAB newsletter that my daughters receives. I don't remember the name of the person who wrote it, but he talked about what he learned from his ballet training. He is now an adult working in a business setting. He discussed things like discipline, dedication, work ethic, etc. He made interesting comments about how many people will call in sick to their jobs just for a small cold, but he wouldn't do that because ballet taught him to work through small annoyances, and how he doesn't get upset if his boss gives him criticism regarding his work performance, because ballet taught him how to accept corrections and apply them, etc.


Basically, ballet training does give you very good life lessons :)

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