I’m going into 10th grade and I’ve been dancing my whole life. Dance is everything to me. I compete solos and group dances, and I would like to do something with dance when I go to college.
My parents just told me that I can’t take as many classes this year or be in as many competition numbers because they can’t afford it. This breaks my heart for many reasons, and I feel bad for thinking about how our finances will affect my dancing. I don’t want to have to cut back, and I’m afraid I’ll start to fall behind. I want to get better and do more, not less. But I’m only 16—what can I do?
We totally get how bummed you’re feeling—and trust us, we’re sure this was a hard conversation for your parents to have with you. The good news is that you’re 16, which means you can definitely help out as best you can, especially if you have your driver’s license. Here are a few things to consider…
- Get a part-time job. Hit up your local coffee shop or theater and see if they’re hiring. Bonus: If you get a gig as an usher at a theater, you’ll get to see all the good stuff from prime spots while earning some extra cash. And never underestimate the power of a good babysitting job—that money adds up!
- Talk to your studio owner about working at the studio in exchange for classes. You can assistant teach classes for younger dancers, put in hours in the office, help organize costumes around recital time, or choreograph solos for the company’s minis. Work-study programs are very common and can help ensure you’re still at the studio as much as you’d like to be.
- Get online. Thanks to YouTube, you can take free classes anytime you want! Just search for your favorite choreographer and follow along. You can find everything from barre classes to hip-hop choreography—the beauty of the internet! You don’t even need a studio (just remember to move the couch back to its spot when you’re done!).
- Seek out scholarships. Pick one convention that’s really important to you, and go to that one in hopes of getting a scholarship.
Most importantly, be selective. Pick which classes and groups are most important to you, and pursue those with intense passion. Being in fewer competition numbers doesn’t mean you’re a less talented dancer. Prioritizing is key. And always always always thank your parents for all they do for you!