Forum: Irish / Irish - Beginners

Irish dance budget question
By bornintheclouds
On Sun May 10, 2009 01:42 PM

Hi! I am new to this forum...
I am hoping to start taking Irish Dance sometime within the next year, and first have to find a job:) I have always wanted to take Irish Dance as far as I can remember, but the nearest school is more than an hour away, and my parents could never afford it. I am 16 now and I am trying to find a part time job to cover the cost of the classes (and the gas!) and am wondering if it is really exspensive once you add up all the accessories, classes, etc., to take Irish dance? Do you think a part time job at minimum wage (worst scenario:) ) might be able to cover that?
Thank you!

15 Replies to Irish dance budget question

re: Irish dance budget question
By Al_Pal
On Sun May 10, 2009 02:12 PM
I think that it depends on what you're wanting do do with irish dancing. Are you just wanting to take classes or will you be wanting to compete as well? I think that a minimum wage job could definitely cover the costs of classes, shoes etc.
At my dance school a 1-hour class once a week costs $60 per month.

But if you're going to compete it gets more expensive with wigs, dress, entry fees etc. If you want more information about the costs of 'accessories' and competition things just let me know.
re: Irish dance budget question
By rainbow_rawr
On Sun May 10, 2009 02:19 PM
Well, at my school, it is about $250 a semester (september-december&january-june) for a one hour class once a week. THe wigs are about $90, soft shoes are about $75 (new) , hardshoes are about $110 (new), school costumes are $600, and solos can range from $500-$2000 used (that I've recently seen), but keep in mind that this may not be your reigon
re: Irish dance budget question
By HobbitsMom
On Sun May 10, 2009 03:10 PM
It depends on the school and location. But to start out as a beginner, most schools offer by month or term tution. Most will have an anual registering fee. You don't need the ghillies to start. At our location we tell intro beginners that ballet slippers (jazz for the men) until you are ready or want to compete. Some schools also offer an open practice time for extra help at a low fee, again depending on how serious you wish to be. Best would be to check with the school that you want to attend. When you start competition, you don't need a wig or fancy dresses but your school will have their own dresses that they might want you to buy or rent. I wouldn't worry about this until you are ready for Feiseanna. Again it's best to check with te school that you are thinking about attending. That way you will know the exact amount you will need to start.
re: Irish dance budget question
By oooshinymember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 11, 2009 07:15 AM
When you're just starting out the main expenses will be for class & gas. I don't expect that your new teacher would start you out buying a new dress, new wig, new shoes, etc., etc. right away so you have time to save for those things. I really do think a part-time minimum wage job would cover those minimum costs. I was able to do it when minimum wage was $5.15, so now that it's - what, $7.something? - it could also be doable :)

And just to give you an idea of the variation in costs from school to school, rainbow_rawr's estimates seem awfully high to me, going by my own school's standards. A 1 hour class once a week is $50 a month at my school, 2 1-hour classes are $90 a month. And when we used to go by semester it was only $135 ever 4.5 months. I got my first wig for $60. My school dress was $350. My first pair of ghillies were $45. And my first pair of hard shoes were $135. And everything was bought new.

So if you haven't already, discuss the probable expenses for a beginner at your future school with your future teacher & prepare to save! But it is definitely something you will be able to do, so good luck! :)
re: Irish dance budget question
By lorna_doonemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 11, 2009 08:27 AM
I raised $800 from my job (i only worked saturdays and sundays, a total of 12 hours for the weekend).
I got paid $ 7.30/hour

I say it's certainly realistic! If you have a goal to strive for, then you'll make it work! =D

Good luck!!!
re: Irish dance budget question
By ReelGirl343member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 11, 2009 10:09 AM
It's definitely not a cheap activity, but I think that with some perseverance and budgeting, that you could easily manage it. Where it gets really expensive is with competition when you have to factor in the wigs, accessories, and dresses. Even with that, though, there are many less expensive options. If you have any sewing skills (I do not. I cause fires when I try to sew), you can even make some of your own gear.

Best of luck! The Irish dance world is really an absolutely wonderful thing with amazing people.
re: Irish dance budget question
By SewingBeetle
On Tue May 12, 2009 05:21 PM
Irish dancing is not cheap. Having said that, I think that you can be within your budget. Shop around for schools to get their prices. Some schools have bags of used shoes that you can purchase from at a big savings. That is all you should need to get started. Later you can get the other things, such as a dress, wig, etc.
re: Irish dance budget question
By Hop_123member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue May 12, 2009 05:27 PM
It's also possible to get decent hard and soft shoes off of ebay for 1/2 or less of the cost of new. Just ask questions of the seller, make sure you know if they are Irish or US sizes, and that the seller has lots of positive feedback!
re: Irish dance budget question
By Reelathlete
On Thu May 28, 2009 10:04 PM
You might be able too but keep in mind that you won't have any money to play around with, you can buy used shoes and other used stuff to cut down on costs. The price for dance lessons sometimes it depends on your dance level and how many days a week you go. THe teacher of the ID school should know all of this to give you some info. Some teachers might work with you to get a payment plan or something. Hope this helps!
re: Irish dance budget question
By Celtic_Rosemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed Jun 10, 2009 08:46 PM
Well, the amazing Fiona of the website Dancing in Eire has managed to come up with a list of the necessary items in many different currencies for many different locations.

geocities.com . . .

This is a lovely website, and I used it (and still occasionally use it) for my entire first year of dance lessons. Although this list is sort of old it's accurate. Except, this was in the time when people didn't really use wigs, which cost, for buns, $30-$60, and full-head wigs, $60-$120.
re: Irish dance budget question
By BethanysMAIDmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Jun 11, 2009 08:34 AM
We have two, 2 hour classes a week - 4 hours total, for the equivalent of $46 a month, so most of the costs above sound an awful lot to me, guess we are lucky :)

First ghillies were bought from ebay for $12
re: Irish dance budget question
By reeldancerstep
On Sat Jun 20, 2009 04:12 AM
...you can find some great deals out there if you look. I got DD's wig for $20 on Ebay a really nice Emerald Key display model and bun covers are 12.50 at theirishdancer.com . School dresses: you have to hope for a dance-me-down...shoes on Ebay are a crap shoot, good luck!

Also remember that in most cases you can resale a lot of these items and make about 50% back if you take care of them.
re: Irish dance budget question
By rosalinde
On Sat Jun 20, 2009 05:17 AM
I'm sure you can definitely do Irish Dance on a strict budget. Gas and classes will be the costs least negotiable, but you can save money on just about every other area of Irish Dance.
* shoes: try eBay. Otherwise, ask people in your school. As a beginner you don't need the latest and greatest and brand-new. Second-hand in fair condition is good
* costume: unless your school is adamant about a $$$-school costume, you can compete in a skirt and top. The poodle socks (you can't fake those) are very cheap
* wig: like them or hate them, but they're not necessary. In fact, I don't even like them on beginners, but that is just my opinion, your teacher may have a different opinion. Wigs, too, can be found second-hand on eBay or in your school.

Ask if you can assist in some way and let that pay for part of your tuition. A girl in my school whose parents are really poor is training to become a nurse (almost graduated). My teacher has waived her classfees in return for her services as a First Aid person (compulsory for sport organiations where I live). This has helped her a lot towards affording her hobby.
re: Irish dance budget question
By emmiei
On Sun Aug 09, 2009 02:50 PM
It depends if you're going to compete or not. If you choose not to compete, you have to pay for shoes, lessons, and gas. Good quality shoes alone [Hard and Soft] are going to run you about $200-$270. I don't know what lessons cost for your school that you're planning on going to, but for me, it's $45 a month for regular, and $40 a month for extras.

If you plan on competing, get ready for your bank account to be a lot smaller. You'll need to buy a school dress [$350-$400], poodle socks [$12 a pair], you'll have to pay feis fees [$20-$50], and a wig [$75-$150]. Once you get better you can go to the regional competition called the Oireachtas. If you go for Solos, entries are $30, if you do Traditional set, entries are $10, and ceili is $10 [In the Mid-America region]. Solo dresses can be anywhere from $500-$3000 [3000 is usually dresses made by SR, or Gavin with a lot of crystals].
re: Irish dance budget question
By wildwoodflowermember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Aug 09, 2009 08:09 PM
You really can spend as much as you want. Brand new shoes can be a little expensive, but you can get used ones from someone in your school for much less. If you find a benevolent parent you may be able to exchange shoes for a few nights babysitting. You can also talk to your school about payment plans, making monthly payments instead of all at once. Many teachers are flexible about that, as are many dressmakers, which puts expensive things like dresses and lessons within the reach of those of us on an hourly wage. Also, when you get to your school, talk to everyone there, you may be able to carpool, even if you pick them up halfway there, splitting that little bit of gas can make a big difference.

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