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What's involved with festival dancing?

(15 Posts)
LadyLech Wed 24-Jul-13 00:40:21

Thank you Mother, that is most helpful.

I'm pleased that the costs seem manageable. The outfits look expensive, but I've told DD that they will have to make up part of her birthday / Christmas present, and I understand they last for two years, so once paid should be okay.

I'm pleased to see that the other costs are okay, and not too expensive. I can breathe a sigh of relief grin.

MotherAbigail Wed 24-Jul-13 00:31:17

I usually pay around £3-£4 entry fee per solo for comps. On the day, or days, if the comp runs across a few days, you will have to pay to watch, around £5. Costume costs depend on how high end you go. I have lyrical dress that cost a fiver off ebay, a tutu (not pancake) that cost about £30 and a couple of specially made outfits that were about £70 each.

Professional tutus, such as platter or pancake are ridiculously expensive, around £150. The comps we go to, most if the girls wear this style.

You will also need to shell out on petrol to get to the comps, possibly on multiple days, food and drink if you are there all day, etc.

Then you will also need hair and make up stuff, which can be an expensive initial outlay.

If you go the same way we have, you will also end up with professional level make up cases and personalised costume carriers!

We also have tights and shoes for each solo that are only used for comps, not classes, to keep them nice.

I find that it can take up loads of time mire than money - you can start to feel that you spend your whole life in dusty halls watching endless dances....


LadyLech Tue 23-Jul-13 13:49:51

Thanks, we're being charged £11 per half hour, so I'm pleased that looks about right. But it's more the hidden extras that I'm worried about grin.

I already pay £200 a month on my daughters' gym habits, so I need to ensure that this is manageable. I don't want to get a sudden expensive bill that I can't afford.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 23-Jul-13 12:38:47

I've been paying £10 for a half hour private ballet lesson but that was technique, not choreography.

LadyLech Tue 23-Jul-13 11:05:42

Right, I've found a way to make the gym and ballet work in terms of time.

Dd3 is going to have a weekly private lesson, to learn three ballet dances (and it is all ballet, not modern) which she will then compete. DD says the comps will be from Oct half term.

Can anyone give me an idea as to costs?

Obviously, it's the weekly private lesson to pay for, but beyond that what am I looking at? A general idea for the price of costumes, entry for the comps etc would be helpful. And whether there is anything else I've not yet considered.


LadyLech Sat 06-Jul-13 21:06:05

Thanks xylem, but I have already asked the gym, who were great about it. My DD currently does the maximum available (18 hours) and we talked about dropping a session, so going down to 14 hours. The coach said that this would have an impact, in that she wouldn't be able to do her national grades any more and would probably have to drop down a class, but if that was a decision my DD took, it was fine so long as she understood the consequences of her decision. I'm lucky that she goes to a very nice gym.

xylem8 Sat 06-Jul-13 17:18:54

will she just be able to drop hours with gymnastics? At my DDs gym you have to do the hours that the squad level you are at, does? I don't think they would take kindly to a gymnast announcing they are for example not coming on a Tuessay any more?

LadyLech Fri 05-Jul-13 01:52:50

Thank you sparkly - that's really helpful and has given me lots to think about and ask!

Sparklymommy Wed 03-Jul-13 07:50:37

My dc started doing festivals 8 years ago. My dd1 was 3. She did a ballet solo which she had learnt in private lessons (as many as you are prepared to pay for/as can be fitted into the studio schedule).

8 years later and she now does 9 solos and currently 1 duet (with her brother) and any number of groups at any one time (can be 3, can be 7 or 8).

Yes it's expensive. Solos she now has one private lesson to learn them usually, and then maybe a refresher lesson with a teacher and then we hire a church hall for one hour a week to run through the solos. Costumes can be hired or bought and we tend to buy them just so that she has what we want. Tutus are the bane of my life! Groups, we pay a flat fee per group (usually about £25) which covers the entry fees and teaching time and costume is usually provided.

Entry fees can be crippling when they do a lot! I pay almost £100 every couple of months but then my dc do about 6 festivals because they enjoy it. My ds1 also now has 2 solos and has done groups and duets and dd2 does a solo too.

Factor in also that if they win trophies you then have to pay for engraving (about £6 a trophy), if you have a few that soon adds up too!

Every school is different but the way ours works seems to garner good results and anyone who wants to be in groups has the chance to.

There are good things and bad things about festivals. I think they are brilliant for teaching children to actually perform and the friends she has made from other schools can be great. But she has also had her fair share of dissappointments and it can knock her confidence as well as build it. At the end of the day it is a competition and everyone wants to win!

LadyLech Wed 03-Jul-13 01:33:07

Thank you, that is really helpful and now I think I have a clearer idea about what questions I would like to go back and ask the ballet school. This has really helped. Cheers!

teacherwith2kids Tue 02-Jul-13 21:46:51

(I should say that the 'extra time per week' is only 2 hours for Groups + 30 mins for a solo lesson BUT because it marks DD out as a 'more serious' dancer, she also does e.g. a body conditioning class, an extra ballet class etc. She also progresses through the grades slightly quicker, simply becuase she dances such a lot and has more individual attention, so she does an exam in each discipline every year, with exam lessons leading up to that - so an extra 45 minute or 1 hour lesson per week each term on average. Total is c. 7.5 hours a week in non-exam terms - 8.5 next term because she is doing a ballet exam....oh, and along with many of the other festival dancers she is also doing the pantomime....)

teacherwith2kids Tue 02-Jul-13 21:35:38

DD's dance school is a graduated process:
1st invitation is to join the 'groups' who compete at the Festivals (3 per year). 2 extra hours per week, relatively cheap, costumes provided by the school.

2nd invitation may be to do a duet / trio. A series of private lessons to learn the dance, then no more. Most costimes hired from the school.

3rd invitation (perhaps 25% of Group dancers, increasing slightly as the children get older) is to do solos. Continuous series of private lessons (so very expensive), up to 6 dances in the repertoire at any one time (even without tap). Entry fees to festivals are cheap BUT costumes become more expensive. Some children who do solos do go off the the national ISTD competitions - DD did the ballet one this year - and that is faff and stress of a significantly higher order!

At the Groups level, it's low key. At the solos level, it sarts lowish key, but tends to build up in terms of commitment. Solos are expensive, because of the private lessons.

PandaNot Tue 02-Jul-13 18:32:50

Lots of time and money is what's involved! I'm sure the children enjoy it but I'm very relieved that my dc dance school doesn't do festivals.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 18:23:16

There are many more MNers who are a lot more involved in this than I am. But until they come along ...

First of all, I think every dancing school will have its own way of doing things. I see (and know of) variations between the different ones who compete in our local and then regional festival and I'm sure it's different again at the nationals (our school does regularly send kids to nationals and is doing so this year but this was DD2's first year and she only got as far as regional - and I don't know any of the nationals parents). So everything I say is definitely true for our school only. BUT it's indicative, and it may be close to what your school does.

At our school, you can choose. Some kids do umpty thrumpty classes, solo ones, duets, trios, groups....but there is no compulsion. This year, DD2 (9) did one solo class by choice, and was selected to be in two group entries. The group entry fees were paid for by the school, and there was no extra charge for the additional lessons. For the solo classes, there were additional lessons which obviously had to be paid for, you could chose for your child whether you watned half hour or hour classes, and shared or single classes, depending on how much you want to pay.

It was a big commitment, really. Lots of extra classes. The cost in terms of good british sterling wasn't huge, but in terms of time, it was.

would we do it again? Apparently, yes. DD2 is doing the same number of classes next year. grin

LadyLech Tue 02-Jul-13 11:14:01

My DD (9) does gymnastics and ballet. She competes at gym, and does a lot of hours a week. But she also loves dancing. She has in the past been asked to do festival dancing, but the hours have always clashed with her gymnastics, and tbh, she's not always been that interested.

However, she has been asked again, and has now decided that this is something she would like to do. She would even be prepared to drop some gym hours to do this. But, what is really involved? I want to know the reality, not just the patter iyswim!

So can anyone please advise as to what it is really like? is it something that we can just do a dance or two off, or will it start a spiral of doing more and more dancing that will be difficult to keep up? Is it very expensive? What are the hours like? DD learns ballet and moden, but doesn't do tap. Do you have to buy lots of dresses? How in control of the hours are you? Or do you end up being at the the mercy of the dance school?

Any advice would be gratefully received grin

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