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.

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.

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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.