What Can I Expect to Pay for Dance Costumes?

How Much Do Kids' Dance Costume Cost?If your kids are begging you for dance classes or lessons, one thing you’ll need to budget for is dance costumes. Your child will need appropriate attire to wear to class, as well as special costumes for dance recitals. This article will discuss the dance costumes that your child will need, how much they typically cost, and ways that you can budget and save money for this expense.

Class Attire

While what your child is required to wear to class can vary between dance studios, the guidelines listed below are what is typical. Although your child can wear the same outfit to each class, you may wish to purchase additional outfits depending on the number of classes your child takes and how often you do laundry. Of course, check with your individual dance studio or teacher before making your purchase!

  • Ballet

Your child will need to wear a leotard to ballet class. This formfitting suit allows the dance teacher to clearly see the movement of each student’s body. Many ballet classes require a black leotard, although some studios choose a different color. Leotards typically cost between $10 and $30. Girls may also wish to wear a dance skirt, which can range from $5 to $40. Styles include the classic tutu to a simple crepe skirt.

Your child will also need tights to wear to their ballet class. Pink is the most commonly requested color for ballet tights, although black, white, and nude tights are also popular. There are many different styles of tights, such as footed, convertible, stirrup, and footless. Usually your child can wear whichever style they find most comfortable, unless the studio has a preference. Tights typically cost between $5 and $15.

Finally, one of the most important items your child will need for learning ballet is the ballet shoe. Like tights, pink shoes are the classic choice, but black, white, and nude are also common. Ballet shoes are made from canvas or leather with a full sole or split sole, and can run from $10 to $20. As your child progresses in ballet class, he or she may be offered the opportunity to train en pointe. This iconic style, in which female ballerinas dance on the tips of their toes, requires specially fitted pointe shoes that cost between $30 and $100.

  • Jazz

The attire for jazz class is usually less strict than that expected in ballet classes. While some dancers wear a basic leotard and tights to jazz class, many will choose to substitute shorts or leggings for the tights. Dance shorts and leggings typically cost between $5 and $20.

Your child will also need jazz shoes to wear to class. These shoes are similar to ballet shoes, except they have a small heel. Jazz shoes are usually black or nude and cost $20 to $30.

  • Tap

The attire worn to tap dance classes is the same as that worn to jazz classes. The only important exception is the special shoes. Tap shoes have metal plates on the bottom, which click while your child shuffles and taps his or her feet to the beat. These shoes can run anywhere from $20 to $70.


  • Recital Dance Costumes

When your child starts taking dance lessons, the dance recital is sure to become one of the highlights of your year! These recitals give your child the opportunity to show the results of his or her hard work to all of your family and friends. Some studios have an annual recital, while others have two to four recitals spread out throughout the year. Many studios use the recital as a chance to raise extra money by charging admission. Although these tickets are usually relatively inexpensive, keep that in mind as you’re thinking about your budget.

In order to participate in each recital, your child will likely need special dance costumes. The costume will be chosen by the teacher to fit the theme and song selection of the recital performance. While dance costumes for recitals can range anywhere from $50 to $300, the typical cost is usually about $80. You child may also need separate dance costumes for the recital for each piece they will be performing, so this is something to account for if your child takes different styles of dance lessons each week.

  • Other Dance Accessories

Typically the cost of the recital dance costumes will not account for all of the little extras, such as tights, shoes, and hair accessories. Most of these items your child may already own and wear to dance class each week, but you may need to purchase a few items if specific colors are required.

Finally, no matter what style of dance class your child decides to take, he or she will need a dance bag to carry clothes and shoes back and forth to dance class. While any bag will do, you can also find specialty dance bags. Many dancers like to have their name embroidered on the bag so they can easily identify it. Dance bags start at $7 and increase in price from there.

Ways to Save Money

While you may be concerned about the cost of dressing your child for dance classes and recitals, there are many ways that you can save money.

  • Set Up a Monthly Budget

Handling large expenses is much easier when you set aside a little bit at a time. First, calculate the estimated expenses for your child’s dance costumes for the year, then divide this fee by 12 to see how much you need to set aside each month. That way, whenever your child needs new dance costumes, the money will already be there.

  • Set Up a Trade System

Children grow quickly and sometimes need larger-size dance costumes long before their old ones are worn out. To avoid this headache, try befriending other parents in the studio and set up a trade system to extend the life of everyone’s costumes. As your child grows, give their old costumes to younger and smaller students. In turn, your child will receive hand-me-downs from older students.

  • Shop Online

You can usually find great deals if you take the time to shop around online. Many online dance stores put items on clearance as new styles come in. If you see an item in your child’s size or a size they are about to grow into, you can usually grab them for a fraction of the original cost.

As you budget for dance costumes, remember that your child is learning many skills that they will carry with them throughout their entire life. Although your child many not choose to become a professional dancer, they will learn important lessons about health, grace, dedication, hard work, and more. These life lessons make the cost of their dance costumes worth it!

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Photo by Tommy Wong

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6 replies
  1. 26stars
    26stars says:

    Nothing is costlier than regretting the time when your child has the chance to shine and learn the expertise of the fun. Don’t e the reason of pulling off your child from the interest he/she has where they can excel and bring accolades and cheers. That feeling will be out of the world. So curb some of your expenses and fulfill the valid demands by investing in the future.

  2. Lona Smith
    Lona Smith says:

    This write-up covers the class apparel and end of year recital costumes pretty well.

    The dance studios that I work with are as follows: Recital costumes run at a maximum of $75 per dance/per dancer. Hip-Hop and tumbling run lower.

    If you and your child decide to enroll them and partake in competitive team dance, you will pay more for costumes. Custom-made costumes for team are made to last; they have to fit and last all year, usually from Nov/Dec through July. Costumes for competition are embellished with rhinestones. Custom group costumes run around $150 and up per dancer, while soloists run $350 and up.

    Catalog costumes are used for recital. They are adorned with sequin. I have seen custom costumes adorned with $1,200 in crystals alone. It depends upon the budget of the customer.

    • FaeOfDance
      FaeOfDance says:

      Don’t forget about competitions themselves. There are fees for each dancer/routine in the competition, so if your child is doing three routines in one competition, that’s three separate fees. Plus there’s travel costs (gas, tolls, food) and hotel stays. (Many competitions are over a two or three day period. Even if you are only involved in one day, they can start as early as 7am and go all the way to midnight.)
      Competition aside, if your child is in multiple classes, you may want to invest in some sort of costume travel case, like a costume suitcase or duffle bag. They come with clothing racks built in them that you set up once you get to wherever you are. This keeps everything out on display for when you need it, but also allows your costumes to breathe and not be piled on top of each other. While buying one can run you several hundred dollars just for the bare minimum, making your own can be relatively cheap, provided you have the necessary math skills and tools to play around with pvc piping.

      On a side note, having multiple children in dance really can be beneficial. The younger child will grow into the older child’s leotards and shoes, which are arguably the most expensive part of dance. (I’m not counting costumes in that, bc regardless of how many children you have, you likely will never reuse a costume.) Just about every studio offers discounts after the first class/child. Some studios even max out at a certain amount of classes you pay for, only further encouraging you to add more classes/children.

  3. Dance Clothing
    Dance Clothing says:

    These are the very things which are needed for dance. While we talk about price it depends upon customer budget.If Customer has low budget they go for cheap price product and if some have good enough budget they love to go for Branded Products.

  4. michelle
    michelle says:

    I think all the extra fees are over the top. I’d be happy for my kids to dance in some leggings and a plain shirt, I don’t care what they wear. I also don’t know why they have to be bought? why can’t the parents make them? Does a six year old have to look so professional?

    Paying $40 each for entry fee to see your child perform is also insane. You can hire a local hall for $30 an hour. It’s so sad that dance is so elitist and only people with money can afford to send their children. I also resent being told I can’t film my daughter perform and I must buy the DVD for an extra $30 -$50. It just plain sucks.


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