Is Learning Ballet Expensive? (Explained for Beginners)

Ballet classes can vary greatly in price. There are so many different options out there that it can be hard to understand what you are getting into. You may be wondering if learning ballet is expensive.  

In short, ballet can get expensive fast. The cost of classes, costumes, dancewear, pointe shoes, and other accessories can add up quickly, making the cost of learning more and more expensive.  

However, the cost of learning ballet can vary greatly depending on location, dancewear choices, and level. There are also ways to reduce the cost of ballet. 

Is Learning Ballet Expensive

Is Ballet Expensive? 

Ballet is expensive. There are many factors that play into the expenses, but even tuition itself can be pricey. Different countries have vastly different costs for ballet, but for the purposes of this article, we will be looking at the costs associated with learning ballet in the United States. 

If you are dancing many days a week, you can expect to pay around $200-$400 per month. This averages to around $3.6k per year for classes alone. Furthermore, this number can rise quickly with more advanced instruction. 

Depending on the ballet school, there are also many hidden fees that may come up throughout the year. These can include costume fees (either purchases or rentals), competition fees, exam fees, recital packages, audition fees, and more. 

Once in more advanced classes, especially pre-professional, the cost goes up. The tuition can be $5k-$6k per year and that doesn’t include summer intensives which can be up to $6k just for one summer. Dancewear and shoes also get more expensive as the dancer gets older and is dancing more often. 

Estimates for the total cost of raising a ballet dancer from toddler to high school senior come in well over $100k. It’s definitely not something to be taken lightly. 

Why Is Ballet So Expensive?

Tuition and summer intensives are very expensive, but there are many other factors that contribute to the high price tag on training to be a ballet dancer. 

The first factor is dancewear. Leotards, tights, shoes, and warm-ups are expensive, often more expensive than street clothes. Many dancers spend around or upwards of $500 a year just on leotards and tights. 

Another major factor to consider is pointe shoes for female dancers. Pointe shoes can cost up to $100 a pair and wear out quickly. On average a dancer in the middle of the pointe training could be paying $4k-$5k a year just in pointe shoes. 

All of this doesn’t even factor in the hidden fees that come with dancing such as competition fees, costume fees, recital fees, exam fees, audition fees, and more. These can add up quickly, costing thousands of dollars over the course of a dancer’s training. 

These can vary greatly depending on the school. You can expect that the low end is around $50 a year, where the high end is well over $1k, especially if purchasing your own tutus is a requirement. 

Finally, many dancers purchase other equipment for personal use such as resistance bands, barres and dance floors for home use, foam rollers, foot stretchers, pointe shoe accessories, and many other tools that are useful to dancers.

Some schools require some equipment to be purchased by the dancers while others don’t. However, regardless of the requirements, as dancers get older, this equipment becomes necessary to their success.

How Can You Reduce the Cost of Ballet?

There are a few ways to reduce the cost of ballet. One obvious way is to go to a cheaper ballet academy. However, this usually means that the quality of teaching will be less as well. This is often a sacrifice that people aren’t willing to make, especially if professional dancing is the goal.

A more practical way to reduce the cost of ballet is by buying used or discounted dancewear. Leotards can be found used at many online and in person stores or even for sale from other dancers that you know or follow on social media. 

You can also buy leotards or other dancewear at discount supply stores, often online. While the styles may be limited, usually you can still find high quality leotards for a fraction of the price. You can also wash your leotards more often and therefore require less of them to make it through a dance week. 

Another potential way to save money is by preserving your pointe shoes before they die. Many dancers use jet glue to reinforce their pointe shoes to make them last longer. However, most wait until they are dead or close to dead. 

This actually doesn’t do very much good. If you reinforce your shoes with jet glue before they die, then you can greatly extend their lifespan and therefore buy a few less pairs of the pricey shoes. 

Some schools will allow parents or students to work in exchange for reduced tuition costs. This can be really helpful, especially for a family with multiple children dancing at the school in question. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that many schools offer financial aid programs. There are also many foundations that help students with the costs associated with ballet. If you really need help financially, one of these options could also be extremely beneficial to you. 

Is Learning Ballet as a Hobby Expensive?

Many people want to learn ballet as a hobby. They don’t have any aspirations to be a professional dancer someday. It might be overwhelming when you see the high costs associated with dancing if you don’t plan on making a career out of it someday. 

Learning ballet as a hobby isn’t cheap, but it is much cheaper than dancing at a top-tier ballet academy full time. You can choose cheaper classes, go less often, and you don’t have to worry about buying tons of dancewear and shoes since you won’t go through them nearly as quickly. 

The good news is that technology can be a wonderful resource as well. There are many options for classes online. These classes are often much cheaper and  some are even free. This does mean that you may need to buy some equipment. 

There is a downside to this though, as you have less hands-on instruction. You have to be a more self-led learner in this scenario. However, you can use these online resources as a tool to supplement your in-person classes, reducing the amount of costs associated with a studio. 

Things to Remember

The most important thing to remember is that ballet is unfortunately expensive no matter which way you cut it. However, there are many ways to reduce the costs and dancing as a hobby can be much cheaper if that is more your speed. 

Another thing to remember is that financial aid is often available or at least a work exchange. Make sure to ask your studio about these types of options if you need them. Additionally, many foundations and organizations exist just for aiding with dance tuition.

Don’t let the price stop you from dancing though. Even if you can’t afford to dance at a studio or take lessons, there are tons of free resources online. And remember, you can just dance in your living room without any instruction, within reason, of course. Dancing is fun and the price shouldn’t take away from that.