Ask the Girl Episode 6 – Competition Budgeting

A fellow ballroom student, thinking about getting back into competing after several years, asked me for a refresher on what expenses she needed to account for as she budgeted for a comeback. It’s great timing as the new year brings a whole new cycle of ballroom competitions to enter. So for any other pro-am ballroom dancers gearing up for a competitive 2016, here is a quick breakdown of what you’ll need to include in your budget. Note this list is based on my experience with NDCA competitions.

For yourself:

  • Entry fees – usually $40 per single dance when not on package
  • Ticket to the session you’re competing in – $20-30
  • Hair/makeup (for women not doing their own) – $150-200
  • Dress rental (for women again, if you don’t already own a gown) – $250-300
  • Food, travel and hotel expenses

For your teacher:

  • Pro fee
  • Ticket to the session you’re competing in
  • Food, travel and hotel expenses

Different teachers charge in different ways for competing with you. Some will charge a flat rate per style or day. So if you’re competing in smooth, whether you dance 10 entries or 50, you’ll pay the same fee. Other teachers charge a per entry dance, so the more you dance, the more you pay. If you’re getting ready to compete for the first time, make sure you understand how your teacher charges for competition.

An important thing to remember is the cost of your teacher’s ticket and his expenses should be split among all of the students competing. So the more students entering the competition, the less you’ll need to pay. Food and travel costs may be covered under a preset per diem or calculated; talk with your teacher to find out how he determines his expenses.

If you’re competing through a studio, they will likely take care of your registration with the competition. Payment will go to the studio, and the costs for your teacher will be included. But I always think you should know what you’re paying for, so don’t be shy about asking for a breakdown of the price they’re asking you to pay! Note that a studio may also charge you a processing fee for handling all of the paperwork.

For tips on how to save on competitions, see the second book of the Dance Diaries series: Ballroom Budgeting.

Happy dancing!


4 thoughts on “Ask the Girl Episode 6 – Competition Budgeting

  1. Natalie says:

    It always amazes me how expensive ballroom can be… you’d think I’d be used to it by now! I compete in collegiate competitions (amateur only); it costs about $40 per partner (depending on how early you register) plus gas/food/accommodations. Some universities have loaner costumes, but mine didn’t, so I embellished my own dresses. The bonus to collegiate comps is that you don’t need to be a student to compete! While I love competing in full amateur comps, I’ve always wanted to try a pro-am. I think I need to save up a bit more money first 😉

    I applaud your budgeting skills! 😀


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s