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Hidden costs of dance training


Tulip
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I thought I would open this topic up as it may be helpful to some parents just starting out. There are so many hidden cost once your child has successfully achieved a place at vocational school. What support is given by the government regarding rent etc. is there any other support available that other parents have been able to tap into. We mostly already know about DA DA and MDS's, but what about cost of living for older students. Travel cost to and from school, food and dance equipment. Just thought that this topic may be of help to someone out there.

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What we didn't take into account going into lower school was the number of visits we would have to do to school for shows, consultations, watching classes. A surprising number of these have required a overnight stay in a hotel, a cost we hadn't budgeted for. Tickets and donations for various events do add up especially with shows if there are differents casts and you would like to see your child in each cast.

Theatre trips, doctors trips and outings all get added to next terms invoice and are an added cost.

I know these were not the costs Tulip was thinking about but over the years they have added up for us and will continue through sixth form.

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One financial cost I hadn't anticipated was having to work part time because of the sheer logistics of attending these events.  I work in education and it was impossible to get the number of Friday afternoons off to attend events listed above, as well as having to collect my DS when he was in year 7 for exeats as he was not, at that time, allowed to travel on his own by train.

 

I still feel tremendously guilty every time I miss DS dancing or DD playing in events at her school.  And the guilt is much, much harder to deal with than any of the financial costs.

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For us the biggest cost has been travel to see DS twice a year. We felt this was an essential part of our agreement to let him go to train abroad, so that he feels we are engaged with his life at school and they know we aren't just absent parents at thre end of an email. We negotiated his scholarship (the means tested part for bed/board and education) on this basis, but the flights to USA have pretty much doubled in price in the last 4 years...

Other costs:

A better mobile phone plan and laptop so he is able to communicate with us more easily (and we him!).

Dance clothes have needed replacing more often than expected due to school changing uniform twice in 4 years, and DS growing 7 inches in the same time period (but I guess no pointe shoes so we should be grateful for small mercies).

Netflix so he has something to veg out with when knackered.

Pocket money (I know he would spend at home but I'm sure my sadness at him being away translates into greater generosity as a way of compensating!). Plus he has no real way of earning his own money like his siblings can as he just does too many hours of dance.

Cost of emergency care packages when he is sad/lonely (I know amazon is hateful but for sending stuff to DS it is a lifesaver).

Sending UK toiletries out to USA (apparently USA deodourant is terrible- who'd have thought?!)

Extra costs of putting his guitar in the aeroplane hold (when he started they used to let him put it in the cabin!) £60 per leg!!!!

Summer schools (USA has 14 week summer break- can't really have no class for 14 weeks). The Ellison SI cost us more than his entire school year at Kirov.

Medical bills. Even with insurance we have been horribly stung by not understanding the US system and what is included (or not) in the standard insurance package. I suspect we were a bit naive (and quite disorganised) but anyone sending their DKs abroad should be VERY careful to look into this in detail...

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This is a great thread, I am especially interested in advice for lower school as that's the age group my dd falls into. When people talk about health care....I thought that was covered by the MDS funding or have I got that wrong??? Thanks :)

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I've just found out that Central have some burseries. I think they are based on financial. There are lots of things, I suppose you have to ask. How come I didn't know about these burseries up until now grrr? Perhaps I was stupid and missed the boat so to speak? Perhaps and I don't know why central ask about finances?

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The excess on BUPA with an MDS is only £100 for the year. In my sons case this has already been used in the first term, so I have told him he can go see the Physio for the slightest twinge. What I also find amusing/concerning is that at state school, parents where contacted and approval sought for any trips where a cost was involved so you could accept or decline. At vocational school, no such approval is sought, you just get an email saying there is an educational trip on such a date and all children are going. No mention of the cost, of which there is the theatre ticket and also the transport. We have had 2 such trips this term - don't get me wrong, I think it's lovely, but when there is a financial implication I need to know in advance.

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Yes. A parent I know with a dd years ago at Tring said all sorts were added on and you only found out on next term's bill!!

 

I guess they don't have time to ask everyone about everything but you would think prior approval would be required over a certain amount. You wouldn't give your child free rein to spend whatever on your credit card at home.

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It can be very scary and if finances are already tight, you can end up in trouble. No one talks about this subject, but it is very important, especially if there is financial support available to target those that need it the most.

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This is the point I tried to make on an earlier post. At my daughters previous vocational school there where other extra costs eg Pilates, outings etc. I just hoped that neither me or my husband was ever made redundant in our jobs. I did however know that some things were to be charged in advance. Things are a lot easier with a student loan. But we are still paying out a lot on cost of living, travel and dance equipment, and I mean a few thousand per year. This year our middle child graduates ing with our daughter. Freedom yay. Somehow though I think the ballet will still need financial support one way or another.

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I thought you are told about trips etc in advance! I told my DD that IF she is accepted at a vocational school she will need to understand that she won't always able to go to school trips etc as we won't be able to afford it! Now it looks like there isn't an option for a child not to participate!

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The weekend trips are optional, and quite a few kids choose not to do them so I don't think you'd feel left out by not going. My son has chosen not to do any this term, preferring to be at school doing his own thing with friends. The 'educational' trips which occur in the week are not. Well they might be, but do you want your child to be the only one in the year group not to experience the ballet or latest musical which everyone wil be talking about for the next couple of days?

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May apply to only a few schools but we got stung for textbooks for A levels.  The school just orders them every year - no option to buy or even sell on.  Now stuck with history books on China, any takers?  DD has managed to resell a couple of her first year leotards. Helps the others when having to do their own washing to have a spare.

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The travelling (either by train or by car)

 

The overnights, no my 14yo can't watch a show in London that finishes at 10 & get the train back by herself to Norfolk. (& 14yos can't stay in hotels by themselves.....neither can 17yos for auditions)

 

Music - for MT sheet music - a song a week, unless they change their mind then it's 2

 

Leotards, tights, shoes (SHOES!! Ballet flats, Pointes, Tap, Jazz, Jazz trainers, Dance trainers, Ballroom ,Latin, Salsa - at least for African it's barefoot)

 

A red top for this, a yellow skirt for that, something torn up for a Zombie, everyone has a red leotard (apart from my DD)

 

Food lunch doesn't cost much, but a packed breakfast, lunch & tea plus snacks costs a fortune

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For us the biggest cost has been travel to see DS twice a year. We felt this was an essential part of our agreement to let him go to train abroad, so that he feels we are engaged with his life at school and they know we aren't just absent parents at thre end of an email.

Couldn't agree more CeliB, this is definitely an important additional cost to consider for parents with DDs and DSs abroad and I totally buy in to your rationale as I have followed the same principle while my DD trains in Moscow. Travel costs were also one of the biggest expenses when my DD was training in the UK during peak diesel/ petrol prices - as others have noted. 5 years' travel to Tring and Bristol from the North of England was not cheap!

 

Also critical must haves for overseas training - health insurance (a minefield to work through the options and noone wants to cover Russia!), internet and mobile phone packages (a UK sim and a Russian sim as those living between two countries will know only two well), money for living costs (the Bolshoi fees include meals but they are basic and not veggie-friendly which is no good to my vegetarian DD), costs of kit - aswell as normal training kit, exams at the end of the year are colour coordinated so students purchase identical coloured skirts and leotards. In Russia too, at the start of each year and following each exam, each teacher is presented with flowers - it's a lovely tradition but still an extra cost for each student! Training whilst back in the UK is also an additional cost!

 

Other additional costs are those associated with auditions and getting ready to approach companies for work - preparing a professional portfolio of photos, videos etc, fees and travel costs for international competitions and summer schools to get seen by artistic directors etc.

 

Lots to bear in mind aswell as the core fees!

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Other additional costs are those associated with auditions and getting ready to approach companies for work - preparing a professional portfolio of photos, videos etc, fees and travel costs for international competitions and summer schools to get seen by artistic directors etc.

 

 

Yes, I get the impression that audition costs often come as a shock (especially if you are on a tight budget and hanging on financially for your child to finally graduate and stop costing the earth). It's the sort of thing you need to start saving for at the beginning- after all if they choose to stop training it can always go towards college costs!

It's also one good reason for international competitions - I know some UK schools seem to consider them unecessary as they already have a good enough reputation that their graduates will get an audition- but that doesn't take into account the parents having to pay all the costs of getting to multiple auditions. According to Ernst Meisner (Dutch National Youth company AD) most ADs will pitch up at competitions (eg Lausanne) to check out the talent. So you could get seen by 10 or more in one hit (even if you don't get a prize)....

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Another cost to think about is post-graduate training. Just as in the non dance world, fewer graduates go straight into paid employment, many have to continue with unpaid internships etc. or pay for a course. Last year, for example, Northern ballet took dancers into the company from Norther Ballet Academy's post-graduate training year. Some of these dancers had previously graduated from ENBS but they still had to do another year's training.

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This is something we are planning for with our daughter of she doesn't get any work. I believe northern academy post grad is excellent but again hard to get into. This is going to be an expensive year and thank goodness both me and my husband are working, otherwise I don't think financially we would be able to support her. Again another point to consider a lot of these contracts are very short. Do they get time to audition for companies during a contract. How does it all work?

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I don't think you can generalise about possibilities of auditions whilst you are under contract,there are too many variables. Overall, I think the dance world is getting more like the acting world, contracts are for specific productions or projects of variable length. There are only a few full time "repertory" companies.

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The professional graduate programme at Northern is £3,000. However, just before it started this year extra funding became available which further reduced the cost to £2,800. It a very good value as being taught 5 days a week for 10 months by excellent staff. Living costs are what make it an expensive year.

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I believe the training is excellent there and a good bridge between graduating and professional work, especially if the student is young, which my daughter will be (summer birth). Mind you she will take anything going if offered. £3,000 isn't bad if youve got the money ofcourse.

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The only thing I'm consoling myself with at the moment, is that (if dd is lucky enough to get a place for 6th-form) at least we will save on what we currently spend on petrol & wear and tear on the car, associates, youth ballet, dance school fees and train tickets, and that can go towards upper school costs.

 

And - I will get my evenings back!!!!!

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