IS there a science to setting class fees? To help you decide the right balance for your studio, DT approached several studio owners from around the country to discover there is a method to the madness: rates, payment schedules, methods of payment and more!

Suzanne Blake Gerety

Kathy Blake Dance Studios

Amherst, NH

With approximately 900 students enrolled, Kathy Blake Dance Studios has fashioned itself after a performing arts school format with a 10-month “school year” from September to June. Families make 10 monthly payments in cash, credit card or check, of $52–$58 based on the number of class hours dancers opt to take (from half-hour to one-and-a-half-hour increments). For instance, a student enrolled in a half-hour weekly jazz class pays $52 monthly, whereas a student pays $56 monthly for a one-hour weekly hip-hop class. A 10 percent discount is given for each additional class, and an unlimited “Dance Pass” is $190/month. “Once you hit four classes, it makes more sense financially to flip into the Dance Pass,” says Vice President Suzanne Blake Gerety.

Overall, the monthly system has been a big hit. “When you break your tuition down into smaller payments for people, it can feel more manageable and cut down on sticker shock,” she says. “Going to a 10-month model has also made a huge difference in our own consistency of cash flow.”

Another positive development has been the introduction of parent discounts for the studio’s adult classes. “We give 50 percent off tuition for parents to take any class they want, which has really helped enrollment and retention,” says Gerety. “When parents are excited about taking dance classes, they’re less likely to take their kids to another studio.”

Janet Gray

Janet Gray Studios

Salt Lake City, UT

With the Salt Lake City area populated with professional dancers who grace everything from the Disney screen to the stage, Janet Gray sets her rates on par with other major metropolitan studios. “I continually check the drop-in class rates at Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Ailey Extension and L.A.’s EDGE Performing Arts Center and Debbie Reynolds Studio,” says Gray, who charges $15/single class. “Instead of committing to a huge dance card that will expire in 30 days, students can pay as they go to accommodate their busy schedules.”

She also offers incentives for those of her 390 students who take multiple classes: $12 each for 2 to 11 classes per month or $10 each for 12 or more classes. To take advantage of the lower rates, fees must be paid by the seventh of each month. Only cash and personal checks are accepted, which helps Gray keep costs down.

Dalana Moore

Encore Performance Company

Vestavia Hills, AL

Owner Dalana Moore offers a multifamily member discount at Encore. The first dancer pays $45 monthly per class hour, and each additional sibling receives half off tuition. Families can also take advantage of a five percent discount for paying the full year’s tuition in advance. And to be fair to all students, individual dancers who don’t have siblings taking classes pay $30 per class hour rates when they enroll in three or more classes.

Moore charges first and last month’s tuition upon first enrollment. “Even though it is a chunk of money, parents usually prefer to pay it in the beginning than have to add it on top of recital fees at the end of the season,” she says.

Moore uses Studio Director software for an online approach to billing and registration. Statements are e-mailed the first week of the month, and parents can check their balances online at any time. “It has saved us so much time in the office,” she says.

Julia Bubalo

Ozark Dance Academy

Ozark, MO

Julia Bubalo sets class fees by analyzing her expenses and dividing by the projected number of students. (She also charges a $10 registration fee and a $50 performance fee for those who dance in the annual recital.) With an enrollment of about 80 students, she also offers

multiple-class and multifamily member discounts: “My structure is that the more you dance, the less per class,” she says. “We want to encourage people to try other styles or go ahead and take that second class.”

Like Gerety and Moore, Bubalo charges students a monthly fee based on how many class hours per week are spent at the studio. Fees range from $30 to $150, with increments from half-hour classes to six hours per week. Those on the competition team pay an extra $20 monthly. When summer rolls around, Bubalo’s approach to pricing changes, with dancers purchasing dance cards in increments of 5, 10 or 20 classes to be used over several months. “If kids are in the pool, their parents don’t have to drag them out because they’re missing dance class,” says Bubalo. “It works well for us and adds an element of flexibility.” DT

A former hip-hop, dance fitness and cheerleading instructor, Jen Jones is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer.

Illustration by Emily Giacalone

The Feldenkrais Method is a somatic technique created by Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1950s. The method has two parts: hands-on sessions with a Feldenkrais teacher (Functional Integration) or group classes comprised of verbal cues (Awareness Through Movement).

Mary Armentrout, a dance teacher, choreographer and Feldenkrais practitioner, shares three ways that this somatic practice can bolster your students' training.

Keep reading... Show less
Your Studio

Oversexualizing young kids has been a hot topic among dance teachers in recent years. It's arguably the most controversial topic teachers and studio owners are faced with. Deciding which choreography, music or costumes are appropriate—or not—isn't always black and white and can be easily overlooked. Is showing the midriff too much for minis? Is this choreography too provocative? Is this popular song too suggestive for a competition piece? The questions can seem endless with no clear objective answers. Until now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Health
To make dancers stronger and less injury-prone, Burns Wilson suggest adding floor barre or conditioning classes. Photo courtesy of Burns Wilson

With a career spanning 30-plus years in the dance field, Anneliese Burns Wilson has cultivated a unique perspective on health and injury prevention for dancers. From teaching ballet to teaching anatomy, she then founded ABC for Dance, which publishes dance-teaching materials. Now through research for her next book, which will focus on training the female adolescent dancer, she's delving even deeper into topics many dance teachers have overlooked.

Keep reading... Show less
Erdmann (left) on set for "Hairspray Live" (courtesy of Erdmann)

When Wicked ensemble member Kelli Erdman was training at Westlake Dance Center in Seattle, Washington, her teacher Kirsten Cooper taught her that focussed transitions would be pivotal to her success as a dancer. Now as a professional, she applies this advice to her daily performances, asserting that she will never let the details of her dancing get blurry.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers & Role Models
Khobdeh dancing Taylor's Speaking In Tongues. Photo courtesy of PTDC

For Parisa Khobdeh, music does more than set the tone for a piece—it's enabled her to connect with movement. And once she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2003, Taylor's body of work deepened this connection. "His choreography showed me the music, the architecture and the space," she says. "I now see the music."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Buzz

We haven't been able to stop watching Lil' Mushroom since she popped and locked her way into Ellen's heart last week. We know you've got a long night of teaching ahead, and this is the dance inspiration you need to get you through. Check it out and tell us what you think about her killer moves over on our Facebook page! (She starts blowing minds at about 2:16.)

Keep reading... Show less
How-To

Because the chassé is often neglected during the execution of this traveling step, Judy Rice asks her students to do a minimum of a six-inch chassé before transitioning into the pas de bourrée. She encourages dancers to pay close attention to their shoulders and hips in effacé, too. "Kids tend to open it up. They look like they're fencing," she says. "You don't want that." Both shoulders and hip bones should be facing the corner.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored