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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Extra Studio fees for Adults: What's normal?

Lord MoufMouf

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My local non-profit studio asks that all students, including adults, pay a $60 "insurance fee" twice a year. 

I have danced at many different studios as an adult, and I have encountered a fee like this for adult dancers over 18 years of age. I have seen one studio that charged a one-time $25 registration fee, and others that charge a performance fee for adults taking part in performances. 

Is this a standard practice? Is this unique to non-profits? 

What kinds of extra fees have you been charged as an adult dancer? 

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Speaking from the UK: a couple of the London studios at which I do drop-in open classes charge a membership fee. You can join either for the whole year, or pay a daily membership fee. The annual membership is between £99 and £159; the daily membership fee is either £3 or £5 (depending on peak/off-peak hours). 

At my regular studio in the large county town in which I live, we just pay per class. For the adults in the annual concert (I don't like performing, so I stage-manage) there was a costume cost - they bought their tutus I think. And there are fund-raising activities etc. But no insurance or membership fee.

Maybe it's a way of covering costs, while keeping class costs down?

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In Australia you will find a whole gamut of ways studios price things, profit and non-profit included.  Similar to Redbookish, some studios will charge a membership fee and then offer discounted classes. Others will have a higher class rate and build the costs into the overall rate.  Some do a hybrid and charge a small rego or enrollment fee once a year and then single classes, packages, discounts, deals etc are provided in endless combinations.  Performance costs can be charged as an extra or bundled into monthly/term based fees.  It just depends on how the studio chooses to price everything.

In Australia, rego fees can range from $20-$100 a year.  Adult casual classes can range from $10-$30 a class. Performance fees can be from $50 into the $100's.  It really just depends what you are getting for your money.  My take on it would be - do you feel that you are getting value for what you are paying?  If so, great!  If not, then it's up to you if you feel it's worth forking out the money.

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Here in Canada I usually pay a registration fee if I’m buying classes per term, and the term class price itself. If I’m just dropping in it ranges from about $15-$30 CAD. I’ve never had to pay an insurance fee, what would they even be insuring? I’ve just usually had to sign a form saying they aren’t liable if I get injured.

I also have to pay to do Nutcracker every year (I think there is an audition fee, and the performer fee which includes a costume fee). I’ve never had to pay to do the recital (since it’s not audition based) but I do have to pay my costumes which aren’t too expensive compared to the competition costumes my mom had to buy when I was younger.

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I have seen registration fees for adults for their open classes when I have been searching for studios to drop in when I am out of town. That is not standard practice in my area or the Pacific Northwest. One studio in town tried to have the adults obtain insurance in order to have open classes at their studio but we declined to start up classes their so they never got off the ground.

In response to that, the main studio I dance at has had us sign a 7 page liability waiver that mentions "our future generations."  The same studio has put the adults in a piece at the end of the year recital.  The first year we paid a costume fee but no recital fee as tickets were needed. In subsequent years (this is the 4th year) fees have been tacked on including rehearsal fee and choreographer fee. I think these fees are more typical at competition studios. My kids danced at a classical ballet studio and costumes were recycled so fees were nominal (mainly for cleaning) and small recital fee since the performance was free.

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  • 1 month later...

Interesting, i have been charged  registration fee sometimes and sometimes not even though there was one, Performance fee/costume fee. I have always dodged this one. I Just don't think I should have to pay to appear on stage. Insurance fee seem like the studio is looking to cover their insurance cost. I'd say no to that fee.


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Here in Germany you mostly pay a monthly fee, for at least 3 monsths or more. It's more like gyms. So you have incentive to come to class - you're paying anyway.

You'll get discounts after the first class per week, 2, 3 or more cost less per additional class / week then.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have been to many schools in the States, Europe, and Asia that charged registration fee. As for performance fees, most schools charge performance fees for the entire school, not only adults. Performance fees cover a gamut of things such as extra rehearsal time usually needed for making the performance happen including having extra staff, having staff work longer hours and/or on off days, feeding volunteers on performance days, paying for random expendables that go into making a performance happen like paint, tape, glue, sets, props, etc., being able to offset costs of venue, general bills and expenses of working overtime in the studio on days that the studio might not normally be functioning. In short, performance fees help to bring the show together, and rarely do schools profit off of them. Almost all profit comes from ticket sales to the actual show, if there is any profit seen at all. A lot of work and incidentals go into making a performance happen, and I can almost guarantee you that a blanket general performance fee is not a cash-grab. It's similar to when we have competition fees for our girls that particpate in YAGP. Typically, they get more studio time after or before regular classes, travel with a faculty member who also has to fly, stay in a hotel, eat, and constantly supervise them as well as rehearse and coach them in another State or country. Of course there are also private coaching fees before they travel to the actual competition, but teachers should be paid for their additional work. All of it ends up being a necessary expenditure rather than a profitable endeavor. 

In this case, I'm only speaking from my background as an administrator and faculty member of a school that charged a general performance fee to all students participating. I'm not talking about those dolly-dinkle type schools that tack on additional fees for every excuse they can find (costume fee, solo fee, team fee, performance fee, group dance fee, looked at me funny fee). 

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