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The cost of competing in ballroom dancing

The cost of competing

Competitive ballroom dancing is challenging, romantic, exhilarating — and expensive. “We’re spending our children’s inheritance,” says dancer Valerie Gillett, jokingly. If you have a yen to dance competitively, here’s how professional dancer George Lacerte, owner of Steppin’ Out Dance Studio in Lowell, breaks it down.

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1) Group classes or private classes. Typically, group classes in local studios range from $10 to $20 as a drop-in rate, or if you register for several weeks, it’s $10 to $15 per week. Lacerte estimates that private lessons range from $70 to $85 in the Boston area.

2) Shoes made for ballroom dancing have suede soles. The nap can be brushed to adjust to different conditions on the floor. These cost $150 to $175. Latin dances call for higher heels for both men and women (to exaggerate the hip action) and open toes for ladies.

3) Custom-made tuxedos and ball gowns. The gowns can cost from $1,400 to $3,000, but it’s possible to order less expensive dresses online, made in Asia. As for the gentlemen, don’t rent! A tux that fits a dancer like a glove runs about $1,400.

4) Competition fees. If you’re entering a pro-am competition, Lacerte says, the cost can be $20 to $35 per dance, depending on the size of the event, plus a fee ($20-$50) per dance to cover the pro. Dancers also often have to pay admission, he adds. That can range from $20 to $65, depending on the level of competition.

CATE McQUAID

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