4 Ways to Save Money On Dance Costumes

July 22, 2010: Radio City Rockettes portraits in the dressing room at Radio City Music Hall.

When you want to look spectacular on stage, costumes are an essential—but potentially expensive—element of any dance performance. Most dancers are literally on a shoestring budget, but the good news is you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make an impact with a fantastic dance costume. From shopping at discount stores to getting crafty, here are a few tips and tricks on how to look the part without breaking the bank:

Use what you’ve got. Sometimes, the best dance costumes come from your own closet. Look for breathable, even stretchy fabrics in colors or a style that matches the choreography. Suitable dance wear or street clothes are relatively easy to put together if the costume is for a dance solo. If it’s a group dance, try choosing a color scheme for your dance performance and have each dancer mix and match costume pieces from their own wardrobes.

Shop street clothing on the cheap. If shopping new is your preferred option, discount clothing stores are the way to go. These retailers purchase overstock from manufacturers or department stores and offer many items at more than half off. You’ll find everything from workout clothing (which can work for dance, too!) and ballet-inspired fashion to unusual designs that are perfect only for the stage. Sometimes, you can find a batch of like items, but be prepared to mix and match.

Get crafty. If you or someone close to you is handy with a sewing machine, making a dance costume will always be cheaper than purchasing one. You can craft dance costumes from old clothing or thrift store finds, or be brave and start from scratch. If your skills are no match for complicated spangles, fear not—classic lines and colors can look awesome under the bright lights of a stage. Just be sure to do your research if you’re working with stretchy fabric—they can be tricky to sew.

Buy used, barter or borrow. If your costume needs are very specific to a period or character, or you simply must go fancy or go home, consider buying or renting used dance costumes online. Ballet tutus and competition costumes are readily available on theatrical industry and consumer-to-consumer sales websites. You might also borrow a dance costume from a fellow dancer or costume swap at your studio.

Want more of the Rockettes? Click here to see us at Radio City Music Hall this summer in the New York Spectacular Starring The Radio City Rockettes.