Thursday, November 18, 2010

The $40 Question

Here’s the question: Should we have to pay $40 to watch our daughter do her little two-minute ballet dance at the recital coming up Dec. 14?

I’m gobsmacked that I even have to ask the question, but then again, both Michelle and I are still a little shell-shocked at the price tag for tickets to this little event, especially after paying for the monthly ballet lessons and the monthly costume rentals. Even more worrisome is the fact that there are two performances, and I’m afraid we’d have to pay an additional $40 to get into the second one.

We admit selfishness here: We’re not going to this performance to see any of the other dancers. We’re going to see our little girl do her little plies and twirls. She loves to dance, and we love to support her.

We just can’t afford it any more.

We were spoiled by our daughter’s previous ballet instructor. We still bought the shoes and outfits. We still paid the monthly tuition. But when it came to the recitals, we came, we sat in the pews at the Rexburg Tabernacle Civic Center and we watched. We didn’t have to pay to get in. We’d have stuck with her as an instructor but she decided she wanted a break from instructing, which I can understand.

What is the $10 per ticket going for, I’d like to know. Given that our daughter’s previous instructors could afford to use the same venue for free, I can’t believe it’s the venue that’s costing that much. Nor is there anything by way of advertising for this – it’s just generally expected that parents and grandparents and, yes, our two disinterested boys, ages 10 and 6, should have to pay to watch the dancers.

I know: Pay commensurate with the instruction received. We’re already doing that, through the monthly tuition and the costume rentals on tatty little costumes I’m sure were paid for years ago – not to mention the $55 we have to pony up for costume rental next semester. So this $10 per ticket is going beyond meeting expenses and helping the business profit, it’s going into excessive profit padding.

I know: I don’t know the numbers. Maybe she’s barely squeaking by. But I don’t think so. I think the instructor’s got the families right where she wants them, and, for the most part, the families just pay up.

Not us. We’ll be looking for a new instructor next semester. And we’ll be sneaking into the performance as well. OK, maybe not that last one. But I’m seriously thinking of sending my wife in to watch while the boys and I stand outside and picket, holding up signs that say we can’t afford to watch our daughter/sister perform.

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