Ballroom Dance > Franchise Experiences

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SDsalsaguy, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. 2010 Arthur Murray Superama price

    This is my first time posting on this forum. I feel the need to speak out, and I thought this might be the appropriate thread. (I haven't really been lurking around the forum very long, so I might be wrong.)

    I recently signed up to take private lessons at the local Arthur Murray. I guess I have improved rather quickly, and my instructor feels that I should go to Superama in Las Vegas. However, when I was told the price, my jaw nearly hit the floor. The price to go to the 2010 Superama was quoted to me as being more than $11,000!!! Not only that, but that price doesn't even include registration for the individual dances (they are $40 each)! Although I do have to admit, the manager who was trying to sell me into going to Vegas said that only one other student from our school had signed up to go this year, so I guess there wasn't exactly a lot of people to spread around the costs... but still... a 5-digit price tag?!?!

    Is it just me, or does that price seem outrageously stratospheric? I've read other people on this forum saying that Superama cost something like $4,500 a few years ago, but one of the students in my school said that she went to Vegas last year, and it cost her in the $8,000 range. Is the economy doing so bad as to warrant a more than $3,000 increase in the price over the course of one year?
  2. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    I dance at a FADS studio and to go to our nationals in orlando, it normally costs me about $10,000. That includes all 70 of my dance heats (i.e. all of my individual dances which cost about the same as yours) and some championships and scholarships. This does not include hotel/food/flight.

    A lot of people don't do 70 heats though so it would be less for other people and probably round out to be about $10,000 for everything except flight.

    If the comp is a local regional comp, it will probably cost you more around $5,000.
  3. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    Welcome MidwestDancingGuy! I did dance with an AM studio for over two years and took part in several of the "matches" as well as the competitions. However, there is a point to draw when it came to price tags like that, without going into huge detail - as much as I liked the social community of my studio - I went to Independent teacher/studio and drastically cut my competition costs by doing so, there are ways to compete in an AM event without that ridiculous price tag. I will PM (private message) you.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I do not dance with a cheap instructor by any means and that is my view
  5. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    Putting aside the actual dollar amount, do you think you'd get good value for the money if you spent it that way?

    Personally, my answer would be "no". I'm trying to figure out how many *years* of dancing I would enjoy for that amount at my own current rate of dance spending; or alternatively, what difference that amount would make in, say, my next car.
  6. Yeah, $10k is the difference between, say, a compact, like a basic Ford Focus, and a really nice mid-size sedan, like a fully-equipped Toyota Camry.
  7. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    ...or even between not having a car and having a new (albeit low-end) car that will last for 10 years.
  8. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Your instructor may feel that you have improved, and you may have, and if so congratulations! However, dance studios and teachers have been known to ask students, even brand new ones, to participate in events whether they have improved or not, if they can ask a big price for it. I'm just being real and trying to give you a dose of reality.

    $11K with NO entries? Why not ask for a price breakdown? You are the customer, and you have a right to know within some reasonable level of specificity where your money is going. Just get a general idea. I do this for students if they like for any competition. I can almost guarantee that they will not like being asked this and will try to get around the issue, but maybe not.

    Yes, even for me, and I don't blink at a $5K price tag for a pro/am competition.

    But at the end of the day, the question for you is, will the money you spend be less than what you receive in returned value? For some competitors, $200 is a lot of money, and a relatively inexpensive pro/am comp at $2K is a lot of money. For those who spend $5K at a pro/am comp, your eventual $14K or so price tag will seen astronomical. But at the end of the day, only you can tell you how to spend your money, and you must decide if it's worth it for you personally.
  9. Piggles

    Piggles Member

    Hi Midwest, I used to compete pro-Am at Arthur Murray and ran into an interesting situation that might shed some light for you.

    I went to Superama the last year it was in New Orleans before being moved to Vegas (Oct 2008 I think). I believe the base price my studio charged was somewhere between $4500-$5500 USD. This price included my registration, accommodations, meals, teacher expenses, program book, and participation placque. I had to pay for additional fees such as entries and airfare. The total cost of the comp (excluding airfare) was ~$7300. I was frustrated with the price, but my studio would not allow my teacher to compete at a non-Arthur Murray comp. So be it.

    Fastforward a few months. One of the ladies I competed against in New Orleans came to visit my studio as a guest and came out with us after the party for a social drink. She asked me point blank how much I paid for the comp (she was very direct, no wiggle room on this question) so I told her. Unfortunately it spoiled her night because like you, she was quoted a price in the $10K range and paid it.

    Concerned that I might have caused some tension between the studios, I spoke with the manager of my studio and apologized. What she told me is that each studio is responsible for setting their own prices. This makes some sense given that some communities are more willing/able to spend money on hobbies than others. Her advice to me was not to worry about it; part of being an owner is determing the price that your students are willing to pay for a service. So in other words, your studio is charging a particular base-fee for Superama, but that doesn't mean that other students within the franchise are paying the same amount. Some may pay more, some less.

    Today, I am no longer a student at Arthur Murray. I compete through an independent teacher and find that my comp expenses are significantly lower.
  10. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Or keeping your nice, two year old car and trading it in for a new one of the same model, which a lot of people also do.

    Personally, I'd rather spend the money on lessons rather than on attending a single event, but if I had a lot more money I might feel differently. From the perspective of yearly costs, lots of people spend many times that each year on their dancing.
  11. Arrion

    Arrion Member

    To be fair, $40 per dance for the registration fees is low, so it sounds like the $11,000 includes all of the studio and instructor's actual profit. It might be a reasonable deal if you were going to dance 100+ heats. Of course, that jacks up the total cost even more.

    Independent comps are much cheaper. And since less of the cost is in the up front package, it's easier to compete more often and do a relatively small number of heats per comp which I greatly prefer.
  12. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Their expenses can differ, too. Some studios may send more employees per student, for example. Also, while the price may not have included your air fare, it had to cover the studio employees' air fare, which could obviously differ depending on studio location.
  13. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Even in non-franchised studios, I have experienced "spectator packages" costing huge amounts of money, say $2000 for a couple of days at a comp, where the comp charged about $150 total in tickets, food could be had for $100 a day, and the hotel charged $200 per night. Just going to the competition's web site would have yielded a total cost of maybe $800. (just throwing out round numbers here)

    And in this scenario, the studio provided literally nothing other than the "privilege" of having the students who were "spectating" be able to sit with the studio at the event. This is the kind of practice that has given many dance studios a bad name.
  14. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    I always see the posts from new people, and they were told by their instructors how fast they're learning, and what a natural they are! Strangely enough, I learned sooooo fast in the beginning too!

    I've always wondered, has ANYONE been told when they first started, "You really learn quite slowly, you don't have much talent. Perhaps you should spend a little less on your dancing. No, no! Don't take a private lesson. You learn so slowly, that would be a waste. Go on the studio cruise? Nooooo, I think you should save your money. You want to give us $20k and compete at the UberExpensive Competition of Googillions of Dollars? Nooo, I think you should stick with our $15 group class."
    Born2Ball likes this.
  15. kckc

    kckc Active Member


    So glad I wasn't drinking anything...
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    omg...that was my EXACT....EXACT,,,thought when I read wooh's post as well
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    [/digression alert]

    No offense to anyone (now you know I'm about to be offensive, right? *grin* ) But this is why I've chosen to do social dance. In some contexts, it seems that it's all about how good you are at dance, as if somehow enjoying it isn't enough reward in itself.

    All franchise talk aside, for a moment, I'll tell two stories about why i decided to step out of the ballroom rat race. Neither has anything to do with dance, but both are pertinent to why I dance the way I do.

    Story one. Years ago, I read an article on parenting which talked about kids and creativity. It said that, in kindergarten, kids were asked who could draw, everybody raised their hand. When in fifth (IIRC) grade, a similar group of kids was asked the same question, 7% of kids raised their hands. Seven percent. Seven. Can you dance? Raise your hand. Hmm. :-?

    Story two. Many moons ago, I used to play first violin in a sight-reading community orchestra during the summers. So much fun. Every summer, there were these two old guys who sat at the back of the second violin section, who couldn't hang, couldn't play the parts, and for all I know, couldn't keep up with reading the music. It was rest-chunk-chunk, rest-chunk,chunk for those two guys all the way, every week, every summer for years and years. I'll tell you what. Those two old guys had joy. They LOVED making music.

    What y'all are talking about is why I don't give a flip about studios or competitions anymore. I just want to feel magic in my soul, body or spirit when i dance. How good (or bad) i am doesn't matter to me.

    [/end digression]

    Eleven grand is a LOT of money.
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    good points P...not sure they have much to do with the issue, as you acknowleged, but definately important things worth saying here for all of us to constantly evaluate as we weigh those issues for ourselves...and I will likewise offer a vastly different end of the continuum that still makes the same point that you do about contemplating the merits of 11K worth of dollars...I live in the midwest...not a mecca of concentrated ballroom talent...not a wasteland but not a mecca...I dance with arguably one of the best pro/am teachers in the US..I regularly dance in excess of 100 heats...and 100 heats w/ organizer fee and pro expenses has never cost me 11k...100 heats... although, I have come close to that amount at my heaviest comps with all of my expenses for 0ver 100 someone who is new, dancing less than that at a closed event with less recognized instruction might want to re-think that...and if my goals were not extremely serious there is no way in hades that I would drop that kind of coin unless I simply had more money than God and was feeling charitable...granted, I am just one person...and we all have to do what works for us...but it is, as you say, very very important to know what one is after...not simply be led down the primrose path...which is easy and common when one first falls in love with dance..not saying this is OP...just howling into the void
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    If I were to become a dance activist, which I have considered many times (and I am a kicka$$ activist,) I would not press to get high level dance competition in the Olympics or some such. I'd fight my [expletive deleted] off to get Moms and Dads damcing badly in their living rooms most days.

    Both have their place. But this is where my passion lies. :cool:

    To me, dance is about happiness and (potentially) lifelong good heakth.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    And yes to what you say, as well, f. Caveat emptor.

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