Most dance schools require parents to pay pricey fees for dance recital costumes. But how do you know if what you are paying is reasonable?
A brand new dance costume for your child’s recital will cost you around $75. Generally, junior students dance costumes cost less than this average, with senior students costumes costing around this amount, although some schools will charge you more, and we explain why there can be such price gaps further in our article. All prices are in US dollars.
How Much Are Parents Currently Being Asked to Spend on Dance Costumes Across America?
The following table has current information that is publicly available via the websites for the following 25 dance schools. Links to each are provided. We have tried to provide you with information from across the US and calculated the average price of a costume from this information. These prices were correct as of July 2019 and will be updated periodically for comparison each year.
|Dance School||State||Recital Costume Fees 2018/2019|
|Modern Movement Dance School||New York||$70 per costume (includes tights)|
|Expressions Dance and Music||Texas||$85 per costume|
|Studio West Dance Centre||Colorado||$75 (combo classes $85) per costume|
|Dance by Design||Texas||$62 for (Twos in Tutus, Dance 101, Combo Classes) and $72 (levels 1-5)|
|Stepping out Studio of Dance||Mississippi||$55-$110 depending on the costume ordere and does not include the cost of tights or alteration fees.|
|LTRC Tap/Jazz||Maryland||$65-$85 per costume.|
|North Pointe Dance Academy||Ohio||$85 per costume plus tax – $90.95|
|Dance Art Inc||North Carolina||$65-$70 per costume|
|Power House Dance||Connecticut||$105 for the first costume and $70 for each additional costume. ( Includes dancers tights, annual recital t-shirt )|
|Bridget’s Dance Studio||Massachusetts||One costume $60 (Discounts are given when ordering more than one)|
|Dance Mission||Missouri||$50 including tax per costume.|
|Armstrong School of Dance||Georgia||$50-$55 to buy and $25 to rent|
|West Valley Dance Company||California||$75 per costume|
|Artworks Academy of Performing Arts||Oklahoma||$65 Preschool, $80 Junior and $85 Seniors|
|Patti Medley’s Dance Centre||Kentucky||$60-$75 per costume|
|Dance with M.E.||Pennsylvania||$85 Per costume|
|On The Move Dance||Texas||$55-$70 per costume dependent on level|
|FreeForm Dance Academy||Massachusetts||$50 for Tiny’s and Beginner, $60 for Intermediate and Advanced|
|Xpressions Dance Academy||Idaho||$50 for size 11 and under, $60 for size 12 and up.|
|Straub Dance Center||Ohio||$50 per child size and $65 per adult sized.|
|Ballet Caliente||Maryland||$65 – $85 per costume.|
|Move Out Loud||Wisconsin||$60-$125 per costume.|
|A Fine Dance Studio||Massachusetts||$110 for 1 costume, $165 for 2 costumes (Price includes costume as well as a video, accessories & recital t’shirt)|
|Elite Dance Studio||Oregon||$55-$65 per costume|
Why Is There Such a Difference in Dance Costume Pricing Between Some Dance Studios?
There are many reasons your dance costume fee for new costumes might be cheaper or more expensive than the average:
- Your studio might prefer to buy the more basic options and may require you to hand embellish the costume with sequins or rhinestones.
- Your studio might prefer to buy the more expensive option for a complete no more work needed costume.
- Your studio might prefer to buy a more expensive option as they are cultivating a certain look and brand for their studio.
- Your studio might want to ensure that no one else has the costume and gets custom patterning or embellishment work completed.
- Your dance school might order a larger amount of costumes overall and receive bigger discounts from the wholesale supplier.
- Your teacher may be able to pick up your costumes and not have to pay for postage.
- Your fee might include tights or an annual recital t’ shirt, momento, trophy or medal.
- Your teacher may place an extra cost on the costumes to pay for their time or other staff to organise the costumes (read below for more information.)
Does My Teacher Take a Cut of the Costume Fee?
Do dance teacher’s inflate the price of costume fees to make more profit? In general no they do not. They may, however, increase the original purchase price to pay wages for their staff or themselves for the time and effort it takes to unpack all costumes ordered, ensure all items have been received and make sure all students and parents pick up their ordered costumes and to deal with any other issues that might occur. If your school has even just 50 students, that is a minimum of 50 costumes your teacher has to inspect, with most students performing in more than one dance which means double or triple the costumes. Most schools receive the costumes in plastic bags, so if you are receiving yours in a garment bag, hung on a hanger with a checklist, any extra commission your school is making off your costume order, has gone towards these extra details.
Why are dance costumes so expensive?
Dance Costumes are so expensive because:
- Although generally made through a wholesaler, they are not mass-produced like the clothing or dress-up costumes you see at Walmart or Target.
- Lycra is not cheap, nor are rhinestones and sequins.
- No dance school wants to turn up at competitions in the same costume as another school – therefore the companies designing these costumes are constantly revising their patterns and embellishments to stay relevant to their market, which costs money.
- Costumes are made to order with different sizes, colors and other elements being interchangeable. Therefore staff need to be paid to receive, sew, pack and deliver your order – how much would you want to be paid to do any of those jobs?
- The companies who make the costumes have large overheads that don’t just include administrative costs. They spend a lot of money on photo shoots and presenting their costumes in the best way to provide buyers with the most realistic view of their products.
- Some companies absorb postage costs into their cost-price analysis offering free or reduced shipping for orders over a certain amount.
- When ordering through your dance school your teacher may need to pay staff or even themselves to spend time organizing all orders that come through to the school as already discussed above.
What are dance costumes made from?
Most dance costumes are made from materials that include Spandex or Elastane which are interchangeable terms to describe the same synthetic fiber. Spandex is a synthetic fiber that stretches up to five times its length. Spandex needs to be combined with cotton or usually for costuming purposes, polyester and Invista, the company behind Lycra have successfully marketed their own blend, which is what most dance costumes are made with. Other fabrics such as chiffon, tulle, and georgette are used to embellish costumes or create flowing skirts and sleeves. Sequins, beading, rhinestones, flowers, and ribbons can be added to catch stage lighting and add sparkle or interest to a costume. Today there is an increase in the availability of spandex or lycra that incorporates a reflective and shiny but stretchable coating to provide the same dazzling effect as sequins or rhinestones with less effort needed by the costume maker.
If I am paying a dance costume fee, why am I also paying a dance recital fee?
When doing our research to find the current average cost of dance costume fees, we came across the Dance Recital fee. Most schools outlined that this fee covered production costs such as renting lighting and employing a lighting or audio technician, auditorium hire for all rehearsals and the actual recital, paying administrative staff to sell tickets or run ticket lotteries and for anything else that needed to be paid for including your teachers time and effort outside of classes in putting the performance together. Many schools include at least two free tickets to the recital with this payment, others make the actual recital, a ticket-free event allowing you to invite all your friends and relatives at no extra cost. The fee may also include the cost of a medal or trophy for your child or a gift such as a rose or a flower at the conclusion of the performance. Others use some of the money to order annual school recital T’ shirts for each student.
My school wants final payment for costumes by November as well as Recital fees paid. With Christmas coming there is just so much to pay for, and money is getting tight – Do you have any Dance Costume Money Saving Ideas so the Dance Season Doesn’t empty my bank account?
Pay when you receive your invoices, not when they are due. It is a good habit because many schools charge late fees which are forwarded on by the costume wholesaler for adding on additional items to orders.
Open a separate bank account and name it Dance Expenses and put away a small amount of money every week to ensure you can cover those costs.
Ask relatives to gift money for costumes as birthday/Christmas gifts or buy a less expensive gift for your child and explain that their dance costumes are also a gift from you. If you feel as though this might be lost on your child, you could create a gift card with a photo of your child’s costume on it if you have that info or it can simply say Costume Gift Card. Your child then uses the gift card in exchange for their costume when it arrives (this also reduces clutter from toys in your house and your kid gets something they really want!).
At the end of the day make sure you are going to a school that you can afford.
Head on over to our article about how to choose the best dance school for the best tips on how to ensure you enroll in a school that is the right fit for you and your budget.