As most readers would know, I don’t roll in dough. However, I do make a point of budgeting in dance. Dance benefits me both physically and mentally, so I include it in my budget. That isn’t to say that dance can’t costly. Here are some of my tips to keep yourself moving while not going broke.

  • Look into work study or bartering. I currently do work-study at a huge dance studio to pay for my Middle Eastern dance classes. It’s a very good deal, one hour of office work for one dance class. At least one other studio in this area offers work-study; I’m sure there are other studios in the world that have work-study established. Bartering also may be something to explore; teachers need anything from professional helpers (seamstresses, website designers, etc.) to other kinds of help (childcare). Ask politely; you never know what kind of deal you could strike up.
  • Distinguish wants from needs. Particularly with the active internet communities, I think it’s easy to get caught up in the want part of dance. You see the costumes, the fancy practicewear, etc. But how much of it do you need? There are cheap options for practicewear (a lot of people favor leggings or yoga pants and a tank top). Costumes may or may not make sense for you to purchase; if you’re not planning on performing for awhile/at all, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to purchase a costume if you don’t have the money. If you are performing, that brings me to my next hint.
  • Find where the deals are! Costumes can be purchased for lesser costs. You may not end up with a designer costume, but plenty of dancers sell their used costumes for fair prices; some costumes have very minimal wear. They do this online (Bhuz, for instance) or in face to face trades. If you do a dance form that doesn’t have an online community or in person swap meets, you should ask your teacher. S/he may know of used deals. If you’re looking for shoes/practicewear, it’s always good to ask other people where to go; your particular teacher or school may have worked out a discount deal for students if they name drop at certain stores. There are also online stores, such as  Discount Dance Supply, where dance shoes, practice gear, etc. can be purchased for very reasonable prices.
  • Share studio space. If you and a friend are working on the same pieces and lack performance space, why not split the cost of a studio and practice together? I learned in the past few weeks that studios can rent for very fair prices. My classmates and I are splitting the cost of a studio to practice for 1.5 hours. Although we do not have a final head count, I don’t think I’m paying more than $4 for that practice.
  • Shop wisely. One of my favorite things to do with dance is take workshops. Those can indeed be costly. Although I encourage people who have time/money to check out everything, because you never know what you’ll like, it’s important to think about what you will learn at certain workshops. If you know, for instance, that tribal isn’t your thing, it probably isn’t worthwhile to attend a tribal workshop, particularly if there is another workshop coming up. I also am a big fan of asking around about teachers, workshop content, etc. People love sharing what they learned, so you can use their opinions to determine if the workshop is worth it to you. I also recommend checking local calendars, so you can really see what’s being offered and how to spend your money.

Anyone else have any other tips for saving money on dance?