How Much do Dance Classes Cost?
Whether you’re looking at taking dance for the first time, or you’re just curious if you’re paying above or below the standard, you might want to know the average price of dance classes. If you’ve asked any of your dancer friends, their answer has probably been, “Well, it depends…”
Because it does. The price of dance classes depends on so much. So much that I debated if it was even worth writing a post about it. Here are just some of the factors you have to consider:
- The style of dance you’re learning (rare styles could cost more)
- The expertise of the teacher
- What type of dance studio you’re training at (see below)
- The income level of the surrounding community
- Whether the dance studio is aimed at recreational, competitive, pre-professional, or professional dancers
- The pricing structure of the dance studio (drop-in rates vs. monthly fees, etc.)
- The population of your city (higher population = more customers = bigger businesses)
- Whether you’re taking group or private lessons (see note on private lessons below)
- How long each lesson lasts
- Whether it’s a beginner or advanced class (at times)
- And so much more…
All that said, I have done my best here to give you an estimate of the average price of dance classes in different scenarios. I hope you find it helpful!
Make note: This article is not based on lots of data. It’s based on my observations through the years and a little Googling to get an idea of the price of dance classes in other cities. Thus, all numbers in this article are rough, broad ranges, rather than specific prices.
Make another note: This article is based on dance programs and prices in the United States. I do not pretend to know anything about the price of dance classes in other countries! (Someday… when I can afford to travel.) If you’re from outside the US, please leave a comment to compare!
The Three Types of Dance Studios
Dance studios fall roughly into three categories as far as their class structure and pricing systems.
Drop-In Based Dance Studios
A drop-in dance class is one that is offered on a weekly basis, but each week’s class stands on its own. You can show up as often or infrequently as you like without falling behind. It’s the same concept as group fitness classes at a gym. At a drop-in based dance studio, all (or almost all) of their classes are drop-ins.
Session Based Dance Studios
A session based dance class is one where each week’s lesson builds on the previous material, and you’re expected to attend every week. These sessions typically last 4-10 weeks and focus on a specific topic. For example, a ballroom studio might offer a 4-week foxtrot workshop.
Session based dance studios are the rarest in my experience. It’s more common to see session based classes mixed in with drop-ins and school year classes. For example, most school year dance studios (see below) host a 5-7 week summer session. There are some cases, however, where you’ll find a studio that operates this way year-round.
School Year Based Dance Studios
When you think of little girls in tutus twirling around onstage at their first dance recital, this is the kind of dance studio you’re thinking of. Typically geared toward ages 3-18, classes at school year based dance studios run from September to May or early June. Students progress through a curriculum year by year, and a full year of commitment is expected.
Hybrid Dance Studios
It’s worth noting that most dance studios offer a combination of drop-in, session, and school year based classes. However, one class style will typically be primary over the others. For example, a ballet studio might offer mostly school year based classes, but supplement with drop-in classes for adults and summer workshops in other dance styles.
Drop-In Based Pricing Systems
You’ll have two options to pay for drop-in dance classes: individually or with a class card.
Individual drop in classes range from $10-$20 per class. Outliers could be up to $25.
Class cards tend to come in 5-10 class packs, ranging from $8-$15 per class. Outliers could be up to $20.
High-end example: Broadway Dance Center
- Individual drop in class: $22
- 5-class pack: $95 ($19/class)
- 10-class pack: $185 ($18/class)
Session Based Pricing Systems
You’ll pay for the whole session in one payment, up front. Session-based prices vary a lot. Here are some examples:
- My local parks and rec dance summer camp is $68 for 7.5 hours of instruction. About $9 per hour.
- A pre-professional ballet intensive will be $300-$500 per week, roughly $25-$40 per hour.
- The American Dance Festival Dance Professionals Workshop is $875 for one week, about $43 per hour of class. (There’s a lot more than just classes included in that price, though.)
Sessions During the School Year
- An after-school theatre program in my hometown offers a 9-week session of dance lessons for $210. That’s 2 hours a week, so about $12 per hour.
- A ballroom studio in my town offers a 4-week session for $36, $9 per hour.
Here’s my very rough and mostly guestimated generalization of session based dance class prices:
- $9-$15 per hour for kids camps, beginner workshops, and anything at a low-budget dance studio (or one that is really striving to make its classes affordable).
- $15-$25 per hour for regular classes at a more high-end dance studio, or recreational summer intensives (not pre-professional).
- $25-$50 per hour for pre-professional and professional summer intensives and workshops.
Make note: camps, workshops, and intensives that happen over the summer in a little “package” (including extras like mock auditions, resume review, masterclasses, shows) are almost always more expensive per hour than drop-in and school year based classes. Make sure to weigh in all the extras you’re getting, and what you think they’re worth, when you consider enrolling in a summer dance program.
School Year Based Pricing Systems
When enrolling in a school year based dance program, you’re generally expected to commit to a whole year. Most students will enroll by the first or second week of class in September, and continue taking class every week until the cumulative recital in May or June.
All dance studios I’ve worked at have allowed new students to enroll through at least the end of October, often through the end of the fall semester. At some dance studios, you can enroll as a new student in January or February as well, though you will be playing catch up with students who are a whole semester ahead of you.
You’ll have the option to pay for the whole year up front, with a discount, by semester with a lesser discount, or pay month to month.
Pricing by Class or by Hour
There are two ways for school year based dance studios to price their classes:
- By hours of instruction. So taking two 45min classes per week would cost the same as one 90min class per week.
- By class. So taking one 60min class per week would cost the same as one 90min class per week.
Discounts for Additional Hours per Week
A standard pricing model at dance studios is to give a greater and greater discount as you add more hours of class per week. So one hour per week might be $15/hr, but two hours a week might be $13/hr.
These numbers are all from studios I’ve worked at, but for privacy purposes I will not be revealing their names.
- 1 hour per week: $9.50/hr
- 2 hours per week: $9/hr
- 3 hours per week: $8.75/hr
- 1 hour per week: $14.50/hr
- 2 hours per week: $12.50/hr
- 3 hours per week: $11.50/hr
Private dance lessons are a whole other matter. Frankly, I’m not familiar enough with the practice to make accurate estimates. In fact, in my experience, private dance lessons aren’t even that common. (The exception being children and teens who learn solos for competition.) I wish it was more of a thing, but alas.
If you do have the opportunity to take a private dance lesson, your price is going to depend on:
- The qualifications/prestige of the instructor
- The cost of renting the space you’re practicing in, if applicable.
- Competitors’ prices and the amount of demand for private dance lessons in the area
- The length of the lesson
- The nature of the lesson (i.e. basic ballet barre with pointers vs. helping you choreograph your senior solo)
When I was 16, in my first year of teaching, I taught a few private lessons for $12 per 30-minute session. (People told me that was very cheap.)
If I were to offer private lessons now, with 8 years of teaching experience and a bachelor’s degree in dance, I would probably charge $25 per 30-minute lesson.
At one studio I’ve worked for, students could get a private lesson with their instructor for $50.
Student, Senior, and Professional Discounts
Many dance studios offer discount drop-in rates for students. Expect this more in college towns, and don’t expect a student discount on school year based classes. Pretty much everyone taking a school year based dance class is a student, so giving a discount would basically just be lowering the standard price.
Seniors can often take adult dance classes for a reduced rate. At one studio I’ve worked for, dancers over 60 could take as many classes as they wanted for free!
In cities with local dance professionals, or where professionals often pass through, many studios will offer them a discount drop-in rate. When I worked at a theme park, many of the local dance and yoga studios would give you a discount if you showed your park ID.
Don’t be afraid to ask if your studio offers discounts!
A “family max” policy, (school year based studios only, in my experience) is one where there’s a cap on how much a single family pays per month at a dance studio. This is to make dance more affordable for families with many children or those who are dancing many hours a week.
So once you’re paying for, say, 8 hours of dance a week, every additional class will be free.
The studio that I called “example #1” above has a family max at 8+ hours of dance per week, $214 per month.
Overall Average Price of Dance Classes
Hopefully you’ve seen by now that there too many factors to generalize the average price of dance classes with any accuracy. However, if that number is what you came here for, I will make my best guess.
In the vaguest, broadest, most general sense, I would say the average price of dance classes is:$15 per hour.
For those reading this who are new to dance, I hope this article leaves you encouraged, knowing that there are many options to fit dance lessons into your budget!
For those reading this who have been dancing for a while, please leave a comment letting everyone know what dance class prices are like in your area! I obviously can’t speak for every city, country, or community, so the more input we can compile, the better!