Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dancing Without So Many Dollars

My daughter, hamming it up backstage
Dance recitals can be expensive!  I was spoiled the past couple of years by having my kids dance at the Jackson School of the Arts, which is a non-profit with the objective of "making the arts accessible to Jackson County youth regardless of income."  There, the costumes were borrowed, with only a $10 cleaning fee to use them, the photography and videos of the recitals were reasonably priced (I don't remember how much the photos were, but do remember you could get them a la carte, so I just bought the shots I wanted rather than a package and the videos were $15), and the ticket prices weren't terrible either.  They also weren't picky about things like the kinds of tights used in the performance or whether the kids wore stage make-up, so parents could choose things that fit their budget.

This year has been very different.  We moved away from Jackson, so had to find someplace else to have the kids dance.  We came in late enough in the year that I opted to not let my son dance this year in a full year course, since it would screw up the plans for the recital, which were already in the works.

At the school she's in this year, costumes had to be purchased.  Her class had one of the cheapest ones--at $53!  Tights have to be the exactly the same, so they have to be purchased through the school--at $8 a pair--and of course they recommend you have a spare on hand in case one gets torn!  A video is $45 and photo packages start at $25 with no option to only buy a la carte.  No cameras of any sort are allowed at the performances either, so if you want a video of the actual recital, you have to buy one of theirs.  Makeup is also mandatory (at my daughter's age, just blush and lipstick).

Despite these constraints, I still found ways to save money.  I did buy one of the portrait packages, because I didn't think my phone's camera would take a good group picture like some of the moms were doing.  A lot of these same moms were planning on taking their ballerina bears to chain studios for cheaper portrait packages that included a lot more prints than the one offered on-site.  While no video recording was allowed at the recital, recording was allowed at the dress rehearsal.  I don't have a video camera, but one of the other moms did and she also had a baby with her, so I offered to hold the baby while she videoed, if I could get a copy of the video later.  (To tell the truth, after seen how hard my baby girl was trying to do her best at the recital, more than she ever has in her short little life, I'm thinking that video may be worth the $45, if it is still available and I can come up with the money somewhere!)  I don't wear makeup and didn't want to buy some special just for the one thing, so I borrowed some blush from my mom and got some lipstick samples from a friend of a friend that sells Avon.  As far as the $8 tights went, I took my chances and just got the one pair--and it worked out fine.  If I was really looking to pinch pennies, I could have volunteered to work backstage during the recital and saved myself a ticket price that way, but I was backstage for her performances for the last 2 years, so I was thrilled to be able to just sit back and enjoy the show this year, even if it did cost $13!  Totally worth it!

Someone got worn out.
So, yeah, it still cost a small fortune, but seeing that grin on her face when she was on stage and feeling that enormous swell of pride in my heart for my baby girl, it was worth every penny.  And, yeah, we're planning on doing it again next year.

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