I'm not referring to the private lessons as much as all the other stuff that goes into being a successful competitor. Comp fees, dresses, jewelry, travel, coaching, doing enough comps to get the floor time in, etc, etc. I don't begrudge anyone their individual costs, but when it is all combined ... Whew! That being said, Larinda is right...wish I made enough to 'play to the fullest extent'.
Yes, it's a lot. But you're asking a professional dancer to compete with you. I don't understand how anyone could find it shocking that this is expensive. The entire category "pro/am" is literally paying your partner money to compete with you. It is the most expensive way to ballroom dance.