As any parent knows, raising children is expensive. According to the U.S.D.A., the cost of getting a kid born in 2013 to age 18 is around $250k.
But raising graceful little toe-touching, leotard-clad ballerina children—now, that’s a big ticket item.
According to a new analysis by FiveThirtyEight, raising a top-trained ballerina who begins to dance at age 3 could put you out more than $100,000 by the time he or she turns 18. This estimate takes into account 15 years of tuition and fees at a top-tier ballet school ($55,000); six summer intensives programs ($32,000); new pointe shoes every three months or so beginning in sixth grade ($29,000); and 15 years of tights and leotards ($2,000). And the author calls the final figure “conservative”—after all, your aspiring Misty Copeland won’t make it to lessons if the car’s out of gas.
FiveThirtyEight points out that the exorbitant cost of a quality ballet education is one of the major barriers to greater diversity and accessibility for lower-income families in the ballet world—causes that the actual Misty Copeland, the first black woman to become a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, has been vocal about during her ascent as a ballerina.
But at nearly $120,000 a head, this estimate suggests top-tier ballet may be out of the hands of more than just minorities and low-earning Americans.