How to Make Dance Lessons More Affordable

by David Ning · 5 comments

Dancing may just be one of the most fun ways you can spend your time. Whether you want to learn ballroom or line dancing, ballet, or hip hop, there are a variety of options. The key is to find a way to take your dance lessons without breaking the budget, which is where these suggestions that are valid for kids and adults come in.

Consider a Monthly Membership

Many establishments that cater to adults, in particular, offer drop-in classes and monthly memberships. If you intend to attend regularly, chances are that monthly memberships will pay off handsomely.

Skip the Competition

Until you get to the point where you are committed and driven to compete in dance. there is no reason to pay for competition-level classes. Costumes, traveling, shoes, and other equipment quickly add up.

Once you have mastered the needed skills, you may be able to attend competition-level classes without the fees even if you don’t intend to compete. Talk to the school owner and see if an arrangement can be made.

Take Classes at the Rec Center

Townships, the YMCA, schools, and other venues provide basic dance classes for kids. Before you plan to shell out $50 a month for classes at a studio, let your kids try out the activity in a low pressure, cheaper environment. If they like the activity enough to practice at home regularly, without constant reminders, it might be time to think about moving up.

Find a Teacher and Barter

One of my regular clients used to be a professional dance instructor. He doesn’t work in the field any more, but for a while after he left the studio he continued to give private lessons at homes. Couples or friends would hire him to teach basic classes, and occasionally he would barter for services he needed. It was an ideal situation for all involved.

Get a Video

You can pick up DVDs at the library and learn the basics of some kinds of dance on your own. It may not be as good as joining a class but if you get the first few moves under your belt at home, you won’t have to pay for those lessons at a studio.

Clearly, this isn’t a technique that will work if your goal is to learn classical ballet, but for things such as belly dancing or line dancing, it is perfectly acceptable.

Look for Free Classes

The local Country-Western club offers free lessons of various kinds. One day they offer family friendly line dancing lessons; another evening they open a couple of hours early and teach couples dancing – the two step, country waltzes, and contra dances. When the bar opens you have some new steps to show off. You don’t even need a partner to join the fun.

No matter which route you choose, remember that dance lessons are supposed to be fun. If you find a studio with prices you can easily afford but hate going, it is no bargain. It may take you a bit more effort to find the right combination – fun and frugality – but when you hit the floor with all the right moves, it will more than pay off.

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  • Nuru says:

    Getting a video from a library alone is not acceptable to really learn belly dancing. Don’t underestimate the amount of skill it takes to do that form of dance.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Often there are great deals on Living Social and Groupon, or other discount/mass coupon sites. For under $30 you can often take a few hours of lessons (some where I lived offered a mix of private/group lessons as well as an open dance part/social for members). My husband and I tried that before our wedding and it helped us feel a little less nervous on the big day 😉

  • Kevin says:

    Earning more money makes everything more affordable.

  • Jen says:

    Check out some of the local venues in your area too. I love dancing and one of the best ways to learn is just attend local social dance events. Most, if not all, will have a free or cheap ($4-5) lesson before the *official* dancing starts, and admission will generally run from free to $10-12 (average in my town usually hovers around $5 or less if you get a drink at the bar).

    I recommend square dancing and contra dancing if you have any kind of “performance anxiety” and don’t want people staring. They both have friendly environments and encourage newcomers to dance. Also, there’s a caller telling you what to do when – no more standing around trying to figure out which twirl you’re supposed to do next!

    If you want more high-energy, look for salsa or swing dancing, maybe tango. These are more focused on your partner and have a lot more freedom in individual style. They are a little less beginner friendly, though, as they are very focused on footwork and rhythms. If you love moving your feet and bopping to a beat then these are fantastic and just take some practice to pick up.

    Seriously, go now and Google search for “contra dancing greenville south carolina” or something similar and get out there!

  • Jon - Free Money Wisdom says:

    Great tips! I’m going to have to pass these on to my girlfriend. She wants us to take dancing lessons. I’m all about taking the frugal route when it comes to dancing lessons.

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