I dance pro-am. The studio fills out all of the competition forms and then presents the students with a bill. I asked if I could fill out my own forms and they looked at me lie I was crazy. Some of the competitions lock their price pages, some do not; but or sure, the studio is charging a lot on top of the normal competition fees. Does anyone else experience this, or do you fill out your own forms?
You must be with a chain studio because they control the money and pay the pro. All comps post their entry forms on their websites so I presume you are talking about an in-house comp run by your studio chain. I usually sit down with my instructor and we fill out the form together only because I cap how much I will pay. So we figure out how I can get the most bang for my buck. We figure out how many single dances, championships etc., I can fit into my budget. I pay exactly what the comp is asking. Anything else, is itemized by my pro and a bill is given to me afterwards. There are no hidden fees, no misc. extras. I have always been very up front about what I will pay for and how much. It is a conversation every student should have with their pro/studio but many students don't want to look cheap or make their pro/studio angry so they don't talk. You should know exactly how much extra they are charging you and how they came to that amount. Do they charge by the dance, by the day? Studios pay the pro very little and keep the lion's share for themselves. I believe pro-am fees should be completely transparent. Keep asking questions, it is your right.
Please note that there are lots of NDCA competition organizers that do not post their fees, and entry and package costs online, and they state that they will release that information ONLY to teachers/studios. Virginia State is one that is like that. I find that position to be ridiculous. If a competition organizer will not tell me, the one who is to pay to attend their competition, what the prices are, then I will not attend that competition. If they want to "remind" me that their prices are wholesale and that studios/teachers may add on additional costs/fees, fine. I have no idea how an independent amateur couple, one that may not be affiliated with a studio, is to obtain pricing information from those kinds of competitions. Frankly, we have other choices, as many other organizers DO post their prices, and we seek out those competitions.
I have yet to see any NDCA ballroom comp post prices.
I do know there are several types of breakdowns. It's all hush, hush because instructors/studios pad on top of the price list.
For me, I will print out the Entry Form and circle the heats I want to do. My instructor and I then go over it together and tweak it if necessary. He has on occasion switched out a few heats before he files it so he can push me to grow. This might not be possible if your instructor has a large string of students going to a comp. I have some friends in this type of situation, they are told what heats they will be dancing.
If it's a local comp we dance off package so the heats are about $10 more. It's usually less expensive in the long run, we run the numbers both ways. We go out and have a better tasting, less expensive dinner close by. It's nice to go off and be able to clear your head before hitting it again.
My instructor gives me the price list of everything.
I know what the different package rates are. I know what the heat costs are ON packages and OFF package. I know what the ticket fees are to get into the ballroom. I know what the day rate my instructor charges to be with me and not home teaching. I know if there is a "teacher wear & tear" fee added to the heats.
I've sat in the office with my instructor on the speaker phone when he gets the price list. It's nice to be with an independent instructor.
I'm surprised that you haven't seen any NDCA competitions that provide the costs for entries, tickets and packages online. Many of them do. Heart of America, for instance, provides that information online - and they note that the prices are wholesale. HOA is a really nice competition, by the way.
If your instructor won't give you the price and itemize what he charges on top the answer is no....I am not going. Comp is fun and can help you grow as a dancer but if your studio isn't being transparent then they are probably cheating you and to be honest...cheating their instructors too...
Expect to pay around double whatever the actual fee is. On top of that expect to split the cost of your pro attending the comp with whomever else is going. My pro itemizes then splits...and there are always at least four girls who go so it tends to be fairly reasonable. He does our hair we do each others make-up and one of the other students has a dress rental company and so we just rent her dresses and don't end up going broke buying a $5000+ dress. Be aware some pros have a sponsor and get a kickback for everything you buy from their sponsor. I know who my pros sponsor is but he is honest with me and has been very upfront in sending me to a different dressmaker who doesn't give him kickbacks because she has been making better dresses (I'm hard to fit because I am so top heavy).
Most of us also compete am/am at the same comps and he is there for moral support and watches how we do so he can make legitimate suggestions and help us grow as dancers (no charge to any of us). He works to help us find amateur partners and when he brings in coaches he makes sure that they provide group classes so those who couldn't afford the one-on-one still get the personal attention and help to improve dancing.
For alot of years I didn't want to compete and he never pressured me. You shouldn't be feeling pressured.
No he isn't cheap but I never feel ripped off. At the chains I constantly felt ripped off and pressured. If you are feeling cheated...which it sounds like you are....time to find someplace else to be.
Thanks for this feed back. I am in an area where some Comps list their prices and some don't. So I have seen a few price lists and have a general idea. My studio is basically a want-to-be chain, and operates like a chain. I was really feeling ripped off for a while when they would quote me a price and then a week before the comp, call me to say I owed more. I freaked out and they stopped that. I am in a transition to an independent, and hopefully this will improve the situation. But to hear how you all handle the situation is very helpful and gives me some idea of how to insure I know what I am paying for.