Lessons, programs, terms and subscriptions – what provides the best value?Getting the most value out of your dance lessons
There are many different pricing options and models out there for dance lessons, so how do you decide which one is best? To help you we’ve decided to compile a list and compare them for you, so while you are deciding on which dance studio to take your lessons, you know what to look for and what questions to ask.
Last week we looked at whether or not private dance lessons are expensive, we learnt about the different types of dance studios and essentially put them in two categories. When it comes to the pricing models, you’ll find they generally fall into the same two categories by studio type.
Many dance studios sell dance lessons on a lesson by lesson basis. Whether you are learning a specific dance, working on technique or just starting out, generally you agree on what you want to work on and then you’ll buy a number of lessons to start with. With this model, you are only paying for the lesson time and nothing else.
Prices range from $80 through to $180.
Some dance studios run their lessons in terms, and usually coincide with school terms. Under this model, you are purchasing a defined package of lessons for a defined time of the year, as an example 8 lessons over 8 weeks beginning 1 February. Some studios have different tiers, where you can buy 1 lesson per week or multiple lessons per week to be used during the term.
There are also different rules that can apply to these terms. For example, you may only be allowed to miss 1 class, or make up classes are not allowed.
Terms usually apply to group classes for these types of dance studios. If you are wanting a private lesson, this would usually be in addition to your term enrolment.
Prices range from $160 through to $240 for an 8 week term.
Subscription offers usually involve a regular payment, weekly or monthly, and you can attend a certain number of classes within the subscription period. Missed classes are usually forfeited and there are usually limitations around placing your subscription on hold for holiday breaks etc.
Subscriptions are generally only used for group classes, so if a student wanted to take a private lesson, that would usually be purchased in addition to their regular subscription.
Prices range from $20 through to $60 per week.
Dance studios that offer programs, usually teach on a scholastic basis or part of a medal program (Bronze, Silver and Gold). Each program will fit within a level and it will be clear what you’ll achieve by the end of the program. The number of lessons for each program will vary based on a student’s ability, time commitment to learning to dance as well as other factors.
Programs can involve private lessons only or a combination of private and group lessons depending on the dance studio.
Prices vary widely depending on what’s included in the program and the length. Usually start at $400 and can go up to $19,000.
Which studios offer what
As we mentioned earlier the offerings generally fall into the two studio type categories.
Studios that offer terms and lesson only based offerings are generally those that operate out of the school hall, community centre or RSL club. Their classes run to a fixed schedule and are based on enrolment patterns.
They generally focus on group classes as their core business offering, with their schedule and operating times based on those class times. If you were looking to this type of studio for some private lessons, they would generally only be offered outside of those group class times.
These studios are ones that have their own dedicated space and offer subscriptions or program based offerings.
Those offering the subscriptions generally focus on group classes, but provide private lessons as an extension to their group classes. Whereas, those that offer programs usually focus on private lessons and provide group classes as an extension to the private lessons.
How to assess the value
There are a range of things to consider when trying to determine which offer provides the best value. Unfortunately, its not as simple as looking at the number of lessons, how long the lessons go for and the price. While these are important considerations, they should not be the only or most important things you consider.
For example, your learning style needs to be taken into consideration. Do you learn better in group classes with less attention or do you require a more hands on, one on one approach? Class sizes and length also have a big impact on our ability to learn. Longer doesn’t necessarily mean better.
When trying to determine the value, its good look closely at what is being offered and how it is packaged up. Here we are going to run through a couple of examples to let you decide which one provides better value.
Peter and Joan want to become good social dancers and are looking for a good mix of dances to learn.
In this situation, Peter and Joan would be better off attending a dance studio that offer programs as the learning structure. Depending on the studio, programs are generally student specific, so they will have the ability to choose a range of dances to learn and will be delivered via private lessons, meaning their learning across the variety of dance will be quicker than if taken as different block of group lessons in one style of dance.
Kelly is looking to meet new people while learning to dance and isn’t fussed about group or private lessons.
The focus for Kelly is meeting new people through dance, so it won’t really matter which type of dance studio she attends. If the level of dance competence is of lesser importance, then group classes only will be more suited to her.
Fredrick only wants to learn one style of dance, but wants to be reasonably good enough at it that he can dance with any partner regardless of their dance experience.
There are a few options suitable for Fredrick, but his preference should be for private lesson to focus on learning good leading technique, but must also attend group classes to practise leading with different followers. Fredrick can mix it up across different dance studios such as attending group classes at 1 studio and taking his private lessons at another. A program would be his best option if he was looking for a structured approach to his learning.
Still not sure?
Assessing the value proposition is not an easy task, nor is it straightforward. What will assist you is being clear about what you want to achieve with your dancing. That way you’ll be in a better position to ask your prospective dance studio the right questions. That said, don’t settle for the first studio you walk into either. Just about every studio offers a complimentary first lesson, so take advantage of that and decide on the studio that you feel most comfortable in.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is you are happy with where you are learning and you feel comfortable.