Q: What's your recital fee, and how is it structured?

A: Clearly defined, itemized recital fees can reduce the amount of communication about when money is due and allow parents to budget and make appropriate choices. Recital fees vary greatly based on what's included. Typically, the fee includes costumes, tights, T-shirts, flowers and video or photos. Whether or not you include tickets depends on if your theater requires you to use their box-office service (which makes it more complicated). There are two fee formats: one flat fee, paid in full; or a fee broken up into nine monthly payments.


Once you determine what essential items to include, build your price. Consider offering sibling and multiple-class discounts. For example, you could charge $120 for a recital fee (which doesn't include a costume). Each student gets two tickets, one professional DVD of one show, a recital T-shirt, flowers presented onstage, a group photo in the program and a commemorative program. Any additional child in the family pays only $65. Or charge $129 for a recital fee that includes a costume but not tickets. Each student gets one recital costume, tights, accessories, a finale T-shirt and performance DVD. Additional costumes, including tights and accessories, are $85 each. You can create and customize add-on fees to allow parents options to suit their needs.

It's becoming more popular to offer an all-inclusive fee divided into monthly payments. You could charge $12 a month over the nine-month season to cover your registration fee plus a recital costume, T-shirt and DVD. If a student is in more than one class, add $5 per month per class for additional costumes. In these flat-fee scenarios, make sure you recoup any fees that would have been collected if a dancer registers into your program late.

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