Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips for Dance Mums

Most adorable tapper ever.
Maddy age 5.
Madeleine is finishing up her 10th year of dancing and Lorelei will be starting next year. We've been on tour 3 times with our studio, sold hundreds of boxes of chocolate, worn through our first pair of pointe shoes, and laddered countless pairs of stockings.

Dancing can be expensive, it can be time consuming, it can be cliquey, and it can be exhausting. But it's also alot of fun and for the most part our main adult group of friends come from the wonderful families we have connected with through dancing. There is something about sewing sequins on tutu's at 2 in the morning that just bonds you with another mother, and I know Husband feels the same about the other fathers he is now friends with thanks to the numerous BBQ's he has manned.

My top tips for making the most out of your dancing experience and keeping costs down:

Husband can do the Gangnam Style with
the best of them. Father/Daughter dance.
-Participate. In every possible way. Backstage helper, fundraising organiser, doing a Mummy's or Daddy's class (did you know I can tap? Although not very well), anything that gets you involved helps to make your studio a community and makes you an integral part of it.
-Get out of the car and sit in the waiting area with other parents. Stay off the smart phone and talk to the other families. Through building our dancing network we found other mums at the same primary school who were willing to help out with some car pooling. Often we have arrangements in place for one mum to drive kids to class, and another to drop some home. These will be the people who have your back if you are running late to pick up your dancer, and will also be keeping an eye on them when class is not in session.
-Buy your shoes second hand. In Term 2 eBay is full of second hand sporting goods, from kids that gave it a whirl and don't want to continue. Tap and Jazz shoes tend to follow very predictable sizing, although you may still want to get your ballet shoes fitted
-Buy your dance gear over sea's. Dance gear is quite expensive in Australia, especially for stockings. We tend to pool together with other families to get a shipment of stocking from Hong Kong which end up being a 3rd of the price. Google is your best friend!
-Open a dedicated dancing bank account and transfer an amount to it each pay to accumulate for end of year costumes. It's easy enough to pay for one costume, but once your child is doing a range of dances the end of year bill can be a shock!
-Barter your services for discounts or tuition. Most studio's are in need of a lick of paint, someone to make collections calls, man the office, sew costumes, the needs are endless. And while many dance principals may not be able to afford to pay for these services, they are in a position to barter. What can you do that would be valuable to your studio?

Dancing is never going to win the #1 cheap after school activity slot. But there are ways to make it more affordable. What are your top tips for keeping the dancing costs down?

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