To be able to dance beautifully is as wonderful for those watching as it is for those who seem to float just above the floor.

“When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.” – Paolo Coelho

If you think you have something of Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire in you - and if searching for dance classes is on your proverbial bucket list, then it is very likely that you have some of these questions on your mind?

How much do dance lessons cost?

Why are certain dancing styles more expensive to learn than others?

Will it cost more to teach a beginner than it does to teach an expert?

If this is you, the good news is that in this article, you will find the answers to these questions and so much more.

Firstly, before you go on your online search of 'dance classes near me' it is worth mentioning that when it comes to the cost of dance classes, it is the discipline, experience and location of the tutor that will impact the cost the most.

ballet dancer on point
The cost of dance lessons will depend on the style of dance you choose. ⎢Source: Unsplash

So whether you want to learn ballroom dancing, hip hop dance, or how to foxtrot or tango, this article will provide a guide to the costs associated with learning how to do just that.

The Cost of Dance Lessons by Genre

Generally speaking, group classes for beginners usually offer a fixed price to learn certain styles of dancing. These are usually the most cost effective of all types of dance lessons on offer and usually cost less than the tuition of private teachers.

For those who want to learn a few fundamental steps or learn as couples, or in very small groups, group classes are cost effective.

On the other hand, prestigious dance schools are far more serious about their dance curriculum and it goes without saying that the tuition fees are far higher. These dance schools often offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees which are often just as costly as any of the other courses at major universities in the country.

In South Africa today, you could find a private dance tutor on an online platform like Superprof for between R150 – R270 per hour. As you can see, the advantage of choosing a private tutorial is that you have options when it comes to working around your budget.

Often, there are tutors who are either self-taught or advanced students who are looking to earn part time while they study a more expensive degree, who do not break the bank with their tuition fees.

Another bonus about private tutorials is that you and your tutor can set a time that suits you and you will not be at the mercy of strict timetables for group classes.

 The Cost of Dance Tutorials Based on Location

There is no shortage of talented breakdancers in SA. ⎢Source: Unsplash

As with all cities in the world, some areas are more expensive than others and the cost of everything often depends on the average salary of those living in the area.

Having said that, metropolitan cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban, which might be more expensive than smaller towns like Bloemfontein or Port Elizabeth, will certainly offer more choice because of their size.

For those living in towns where dance classes are outside of their budget, there is the option of finding an online dance tutor for much more affordable rates.

Cost of Dance Classes per Style

The more timeless and traditional styles of dance, like ballet, ballroom dancing, salsa dance and jazz, which seem to never go out of fashion, have created a high demand for the need for these kinds of dance classes.

Students who are keen on these styles could benefit from the competitive market and more affordable lessons.

In South Africa, hip hop dance is also very popular and is therefore likely to be more affordable.

Less popular classes like the rumba, bachata, belly dancing, paso doble and chacha are usually more expensive as there are fewer tutors available to compete on price.

Whichever style of dance you are interested in, be prepared to pay more for a professional, good quality tutor which is likely to cost more than a dance studio.

Something else that can significantly impact the price of your dance classes will the level of expertise offered. Tuition for beginner dance classes is likely to be cheaper than intermediate or advanced tuition.

Traditional Indian dance
Why not consider a traditional form of dance popular in your area? ⎢Source: Unsplash

For example, an introductory lesson will not cost the same as private tuition for someone preparing a routine for an audition for a prestigious Bachelor of Music in Dance undergraduate degree offered by the University of Cape Town.

There are some dance classes, like Zumba, that are used for fitness programmes and can even be classified as sports classes. These are usually offered in a group at affordable rates.

Finding the right dance tutor really depends on your own goals and how far you want to take your dance steps. Perhaps you are simply wanting to perfect a specific routine for your wedding day, or perhaps you are looking for a tutor to help you audition for a prestigious dance company. Whatever your motivation, with the help of a tutor, anyone can reap the benefits of learning to dance.

Private tutors usually specialise in an area of dance, so try and choose someone who meets your requirements as this will take you halfway to making the process easy and enjoyable.

Private dance tutors are available to teach children too. The main thing to remember here is that the classes are enjoyable and exciting so that the children don’t lose interest. Children are less inclined to need highly qualified or experienced tutors, they simply want to be entertained.

For adults who desire more confidence on the dance floor, casual dancing tutorials are available too.

The Cost of Private Dance Classes Depends on the Dance Teacher

Obviously, the more qualified and experienced your tutor is, the higher their hourly rate will be. Before you decide on a tutor, ascertain your own needs and level of expertise. If you are a beginner on a budget, who simply wants to learn some very basic ballroom dancing for a one-time-event, it might not be necessary to find the most qualified and experienced private dance tutor in your area.

Remember that on platforms like Superprof you can always negotiate the hourly rate with your potential tutor. Having said that, it is not uncommon for tutors to redefine their hourly rates as the student advances in skill and experience.

guy doing hip hop dance
Don't be afraid to flaunt your skills after a few private dance lessons. ⎢Source: Unsplash

If you are intending to work with a private dance tutor for some time, it might be worth finding one who offers a free introductory class. This way, you can establish if they are the right tutor for you before you commit to the entire programme.

If both the tutor and the student are practising advanced dancing, it is possible that the student will pay a premium for their tuition.

Finally, when it comes to a dance tutor’s hourly rate, here are a few of the factors to consider:

  • Musical experience
  • Equipment offered (dance shoes, dance floor)
  • Dance qualifications
  • Experience as part of a dance company or troupe
  • Musical ability or instrument proficiency
  • Reputation
  • Reviews and testimonials from other students
  • Location of lessons: dance studio, their home, your home
  • Career as a teacher or choreographer (did they formerly teach at a reputable school or studio?).

Students need to consider the level of dance expertise of their tutors as well as their teaching ability. It makes no sense to hire a tutor who dances like a professional but has no ability with regards to imparting skills to a student. This is why dance tutors who have the right teaching qualifications can demand higher fees – they have proved to not only be wonderful dancers, but worthy educators too.

It’s really up to you to ask questions of your potential tutor to make sure that they have both the dancing and teaching experience you require to get your feet tapping and moving with confidence.

Discounted Dance Classes

If you are on a very restricted budget, don’t let that stand in the way of your dance dreams. As you search for dance lessons – consider places like gyms, leisure centres or your own school, college or university as these can be much more affordable.

If you are serious about a career in dancing, remember that there are scholarships and loans for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Don’t forget that if you are already a student, child, pensioner or learning in a group, you might qualify for a discount.

girl carrying ballet shoes
Pick up those dancing shoes and get ready to create magic. ⎢Source: Unsplash

Here are some other ways to discount your dance classes:

  • Purchase a year of tuition upfront
  • Purchase longer classes (an hour and a half as opposed to an hour)
  • Sign up as a couple
  • Sign up as a group
  • Take up classes as a family
  • Start with beginners classes
  • Start with an online tutor
  • Sign up for an intensive course.

Remember to find out if the first introductory lesson is free, if so, this allows you to decide if you connect well with your tutor.

If you do, you could really be on your way to a career in dancing, or at the very least, a level of fitness, enjoyment and confidence on the dance floor that you never anticipated.

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.