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HOW TO RUN A HIGH SCHOOL DRILL TEAM ON A $500 BUDGET

Updated on October 21, 2014
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TIPS FOR DANCE CHOREOGRAPHY ON A BUDGET

I grew up in a single parent home and money was always tight. There were so many times where I was unable to continue dancing simply because of finances. Because of this, as a business owner, I never want a client of ours not to be able to have the best choreography, because they are tight on money. That is why I decided to help write this budgeting article, to help other drill team coaches or studio owners be able to run a competitive and successful team on a small budget.

Recently, I have choreographed a competition jazz routine for a brand new high school drill team, who was on a $500 budget. Naturally, this budget would seem nearly impossible to be able to dance, compete, hire choreographers, get costumes, and so on.

However, Lai Rupe's Choreography didn't simply help teach them a 1st place jazz routine, they went above and beyond with advice to help run a High School Drill Team on a $500 School Sponsored Budget.


This is what we will help you do for your drill team or dance studio. Within this article you will find the tips to help you run a successful dance team, without going over budget.

1. Split Costs with Parents

As a dancer and student, the parents always had to pay for everything except choreography. Shoes, costumes, competition entry fees, travel, housing, everything was to be paid for out-of-pocket, by dancers and parents.

Now as a dance studio or drill team on a tight budget splitting costs is something you NEED to do. I know it is obviously not something that you may want to do, but it will definitely be a necessity if you want to take the best care of your dancers and help them receive the best dance quality, in the long run. Split these costs with your dancers and team:

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Team / Studio Coverage:

  • Choreography - $300 - $500 / Routine
  • Competition Fees - $100.00
  • Music Cuts - $50.00

Dancer / Parent Coverage:

  • Costumes
  • Foot Attire
  • Competition Travel, Lunches, Boarding, Flights, etc.
  • Competition Entry Fee

(For soloists or additional dances chosen by dancers to participate in.)

*All Fees for Dancers and Parents can be covered with Fundraiser Participation.

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2. Fundraising

One of the aspects of sports, dance, and school is Fundraising. Most people think of fundraising as a way to annoy parents to help the school earn more money. However, the truth behind fundraising is to help the students and parent eliminate costs that the schools or sport events are unable to cover. Fundraisers can be done in hundreds of different ways and can actually help students cover ALL costs associated to their extra-curricular activities. As a high school drill team or studio, with a tight budget, I would required all dancers to earn a minimum amount from fundraisers each year. If the dancers and parent chose to opt out of the fundraisers, then they can agree to pay the costs out-of-pocket.


In addition to fundraising, you may also want to find sponsors for your team. You can wear their logo on warm up or team shirts, or post banners at performances to help promote their company, and in return, they donate funds to your team to help you pay for competitions, costumes, choreography, and more. Sponsors are the key to success when you have a tight budget.

Here are some fun and successful fundraising examples to help your dancers earn more money. (Please note, not all fundraisers will be available all across the Nation, but they will offer you some great ideas for fundraising in your area as well.)

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3. Hire Inexpensive Choreographers

One of the biggest mistakes new studio owners and drill teams make is not hiring professional choreographers for their competition routines. With that being said, if you are on a budget, you need to make sure you can find a dance choreographer that is willing to work with your pricing budget.

This is one of the biggest benefits of working with Lai Rupe's Choreography, because of the flexible pricing, but there are tons of dance choreographers that simply want to help share their love for dance with the world.

Don't be afraid to negotiate choreography pricing and find the best deal for your competitive choreography needs. This is a must for maintaining a dance team on a budget, yet still being a competitive and serious team.

Lai Rupe's Choreography

"Dancing is my biggest passion. I never want someone to miss out on the opportunity to dance with professional choreography, simply because of money."

"I am more than happy to negotiate all of my pricing, so if you have any concerns, just talk to me!"

~ Alaina Rupe

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4. Clean dance routines on your own

As a part of choreography, some dance teams like to hire the choreographers to clean the routines with them. Cleaning routines take hours, and therefore money. Because of this, we suggest to clean your own dance routines. Cleaning routines isn't necessarily difficult either. It simply takes times and knowledge of the routine.

With Drill Teams, you can even select a captain or drill mistress that knows the dance the best, to clean the dance for their peers. This will help grow their leadership skills, and help you save money as a coach. For help with cleaning dance routines, please read this article, "How to Clean Dance Routines."

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5. Enter low-entry fee competitions

We all know that dance competitions can really be expensive. As a studio owner or drill team coach, you will want to be able to cover these costs, as much as possible. Just because you are wanting to prove your team in dance competitions, doesn't mean you have to be a part of ALL competitions.

There are tons of inexpensive dance competitions offered by communities and sponsored by high schools in your area. Local competitions will be able to help you save money on competition fees, and get a feel for the quality of dance teams around you. Look for competitions in your area that are affordable. You can always do team fundraising as well to help your team be able to afford these competitions, or work to afford State and National Competitions as well.

What Fundraising Techniques Have You Tried That Really Worked?

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Another great way to help your dancers be ready, without having to pay expensive competition fees, is to look for performance opportunities. You can always find local events needing performers, and this will help your dancers be ready to compete, without having to actually compete. The more times you can have your dancers perform, the better they will become for competition season.

In Conclusion

As a dancer, studio owner, or drill team coach, you don't need to be stressed about running a team on a small budget. You can do it! All it takes it following the tips above and being willing to fund-raise for your team. Fundraising and sponsors are really the key to running a company with a tight budget. With hiring low-cost choreographers as well, you will be able to cut costs all around and still create a dynamic team.

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Have any dance questions, concerns, or topics to discuss? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe's Choreography. I am here to spread the beauty of dance.

Also, feel free to check out the article, "Tips to Host a Junior Dance Clinic" to learn more about how to host one of the best fundraising clinics for dancers.

Thanks for your LOVE and Support!

~Alaina (Lai) Rupe

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    • lairupe profile image
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      Lai Rupe 19 months ago from Farmington, Utah

      Krista, the best way for me is through Facebook. You can follow local Competition providers and they will notify you of entries. The next best way is through the local camps. In Utah, our dances attend BDT, and they always post and share local competitions. You can also try going through your school district.

      Let me know your location, and I can try to search some great competitions in your area as well.

      Thanks hun!

    • profile image

      Krista 19 months ago

      How do you find out about local competitions?