As a dance teacher, you know a lot goes into creating the perfect dance routine. From music selection and choreography, to cast and costume choice- there are multiple components you must pay specific attention to when preparing for an upcoming performance.
Whether it be for a dance competition, dance recital or community performance – you expect your students to put their best foot forward during rehearsals to dance the part perfectly. But are you doing everything you can do to help the look the part?
Ordering dance costumes can be overwhelming. Whether you struggle with your creative vision or the logistics of measuring and submitting orders leaves you shrugging your shoulders- we’ve pinned the ultimate guide for dance teachers on how to order dance costumes.
Why are dance costumes important
Costumes help bring to life the vision you and your dancers worked so hard to create. The right costume will help accentuate the moves your dancer make throughout the routine, as well as help evoke emotion from the audience.
Where can I order dance costumes?
One thing’s for sure, there’s no lack of high-quality dance costume providers available to you on the Internet. So how do you know which costume company to choose?
Ask yourself the following questions. If the company meets your criteria, you can start shopping the latest trends with that provider!
Do they have the full variety of selection you need now, and in the future?
When choosing a costume company, it’s all about variety. From the style of dance to sizing and price point to accessories, make sure any potential company has everything you’re looking for.
What value-add services do they provide?
We’re talking about customer service here, folks!
At the end of the day you’re not just buying costumes, you’re buying a service. Make sure you potential costume provider gives you a reliable way to get in contact with them, has excellent customer satisfaction reviews online and has quick follow-up response time.
While you’re at it, ask the company if they provide any discounts or incentives for customer loyalty. This is a great option for dance studios who are looking to purchase all their dance costumes through one company.
What’s in the fine print?
Be aware of all fees and payment terms associated with your order so you can establish your pricing structure and payment plan for families in advance of your order date.
How to measure dance costumes
Whether you’re measuring for a recreational dance recital or dance competition season, your dancers will feel the best (and thus perform their best!) in a well-fitted costume.
When measurement day rolls around in your dance studio, make sure to use a measuring tape and have an assistant ready to help you complete measurements for every student in your studio.
If measuring for costumes is a new concept for you and your studio, here are the areas you need to measure, and how to measure them, to ensure the best fit.
Girth– Place a tape measure at the top of the shoulder where a leotard strap sits, then down through the crotch and back to the same shoulder.
Bust/Chest– With your dancer’s arms relaxed down at sides, measure around the fullest part of the chest, keeping the tape measure parallel to the floor.
Waist– Measure around the natural waistline, the narrowest part of the upper body.
Hips– Measure around the fullest part of the lower body, keeping the tape measure straight and parallel to the floor.
Inseam– Measure inside the leg, from the crotch to two inches below the ankle bone.
Pro tip: Take all measurements while dancers are wearing leotards, as street clothes tend to be more bulky than traditional dance wear.
Ordering dance costumes through Jackrabbit Dance
Did you know that Jackrabbit Dance offers a Costume Module? This benefit to users allows for automatic sizing for all students in your studio in just a few simple steps.
In order to set-up auto-sizing for your studio, you will need to add costume vendors to your database along with their corresponding sizing chart. After you’ve uploaded that information, you can assign costumes to classes and enter each student’s measurements into your Jackrabbit Dance database.
Note: Auto-sizing in Jackrabbit Dance is based on girth, so make sure you add all of the needed girth size charts in without any overlapping measurements.
Want to learn more about the Jackrabbit Dance Costume Module? Begin your 30-day free trial to take advantage of this time saving opportunity for your dance studio today.
How much are dance costumes
When it comes to dance costume pricing, it may seem like the sky’s the limit. While some costumes can run students upwards of several hundred dollars, most studios charge around $75 – $100 per costume, per student. (View our list of the top dance costume companies.)
While you’re picking yourself up off the floor digesting that number, it’s important to remember what goes into determining the cost of dance costumes.
- Set-up and artwork fee. These are the labor fees associated with creating your costume. Just like in retail, the more elaborate the design, the longer it takes to produce the costume, which means a higher price tag for you.
If you have champagne taste on a beer budget, here are some tips for shopping for dance costumes on a budget.
- Fabric choice. When you really start looking at dance costumes, you’ll notice with some that you have the option to choose a premium or stock fabric. Fabrics like sequin or velvet will run you more than a traditional stretch lycra.
- Construction details. If you fall in love with a sleeveless costume, but you vision calls for long sleeves, all you have to do is ask. Most costume companies will allow for such additions to existing patterns. Just know that such construction details will come with additional costs.
- Number of items being ordered. Ask your costume company about group discounts, as this practice in common. The more garments you order, the higher your potential group discount. Keep this bonus in mind when searching for costumes for your entire dance studio.
- Embellishments. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, am I right? In the world of dance, so are rhinestones and appliques!
Just like costumes, embellishments have their own associated fees for set-up and creation. The more elaborate the sparkly embellishment, the higher the price tag.
How to set-up your costume fee
While the cost of some costumes may leave you running for the hills, it’s important to remember the business side of charging students and families annual costume fees. As an owner or manager, do you want to simply cover the cost of ordering costumes or do you want to net a profit?
Before you answer that question, let’s review the factors that go into the dance costume ordering process:
- How much time did your staff put in to searching and selecting costumes?
- As staff, did you attend any trade shows during the summer months to investigate vendors?
- How many hours of class time were allocated to costume measurements, trying on costumes once delivered and demonstrating alterations needed to parents, instead of focusing on dance technique?
- How long did it take to complete your order?
When you break it down, the process of ‘ordering costumes’ goes well beyond actually submitting the order. So if your goal as a business owner is to net a profit, you’ll need to take both hard and soft costs into consideration when determining the mark-up you’ll add to the base costume price.
Will you get some pushback from parents? Sure, but let’s face it, you’ll get push back from some parents if you decide to change the color of the bathroom walls.
The important thing to remember is that you can explain what the price includes. By helping parents understand that your administrative fee is a necessary operating cost, you’ll gain their respect by showing transparency.