With the popularity of dancing shows today such as “Dancing with the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance” many people are unaware of the price professional and amateur athletes and performers pay to become accomplished in this sport (that is, of course, if you’re not naturally talented). In particular, the training, competition and costume fees of ballroom dancesport can rival those of equestrian riders, formula race car drivers or nautical racers.
It can be difficult to justify an $80 coaching fee in the cha-cha when I see Cloris Leachman gallivanting around the ballroom doing little more than a cross-body lead. You think, “I could pull THAT off for free!” and well, you probably could. If Cloris is the level you’re going for. However, most competitive amateur and professional dancers are shooting much higher.
To be adept at something takes training, time, effort, discipline and most of all, passion on the part of the performer or athlete. It’s not enough to “turn up” at your lesson. You have to arrive not only physically prepared, but be mentally committed as well. But while one may be able to muster up passion and train with precision, one’s passionate pursuit comes with an astonishing price to the mainstreme consumer.
Consider that training as an amateur or professional ballroom dancer, you would have to factor in what are called “floor fees” that’s like a gym fee if you were going to a gym to lift weights or train. There’s the added weekly cost of paying your coaches for their time and effort (competitive rates typically start at $80 for 45 minutes and increase from there) . In order to rise through the ranks, you’ll be looking to compete and be seen. Hotel and travel fees apply to those traveling to out-of-state competitions. Not to mention, entry fees ($1000+), costumes ($4,000+), shoes ($150+), and coaching fees (negotiable if you dance Pro/Am) can cost thousands of dollars.
Compare the cost of this sport with fees for an amateur or professional equestirian rider. For starters, you need a horse. A prooven champion can be about $17,500. More realistically though, some horses are priced around $3-4,000. Ladies, that’s about the same price as paying a professional male ballroom dancer to train and compete with you in competitions. You’re also expected to cover hotel accommodations, travel and entry fees for your professional–or “show horse” if you like. The same goes for boarding and care of horses on a ranch (up to $500/month). For horses, training and show fees can run up to $600/month on a ranch.
So, before you turn your nose up at the coaching fees for a professional ballroom dancer consider the price of their passion for the sport.