I recently went to one of my grandson's T-ball games, and as I was walking through the parking lot I noticed almost every car there had multiple window decals announcing their kid's participation in a dance studio, karate school, pee-wee football / baseball / soccer team, etc.
I remember years ago when my girls were small several went to a dance "academy". Judging by all the car window decals I see today I'm guessing the phenomenon has grown even bigger. And it's a great business, too, about as recession-proof as you can get. Parents will eat Ramen noodles three meals a day in order to scrape together enough money to keep their kids enrolled. But the tuition is just the tip of the iceberg.
Every little girl needs at least one dance outfit, and of course special shoes, and a monogrammed bag to carry it all in, and one of those car window decals for mom's minivan. All these things and more can be ordered directly from the dance studio. It was the original one-stop shopping. *Cha-ching!*
Then every 6-weeks or so you would get a note from the teacher that says your child (all of the class actually) has REAL talent and is being promoted from the Beginner's Level 4 class to Beginner's Level 3 class. There were about 48 levels, best I could tell, each with their own distinctive outfit, bag, and window decal. Also conveniently enclosed with the note was a new order form.
The payoff was the annual Christmas dance recital. My kid's dance school rented the local 1,000-seat high school auditorium for both a Friday and a Saturday performance. The lights would dim, the curtain would rise, and out would trot 15-20 kids....the "Tuesday, 5pm, Beginner Level 4 Class, aka The Dazzlers." They would do their little kick / spin around / fall over / pick nose / curtsy, and the curtain would close.
Five minutes later the same thing all over again, this time the Thursday, 6pm Advanced Beginner Level 3 Class, aka the "Highsteppers." Then the "Showoffs", followed by the "Lil Darlin's", then the....
It was funny watching the parents in the audience. The mom's were always grinning and waving and taking pictures, while the dad's were sitting there doing mental math.
You could just see their wheels turning: "20 kids to a class @ $40 each, they're running through 10 classes an hour, 4 hours on Friday night, 8 hours on Saturday, plus all the tutu, gym bag, and decal income....and these are just the little kids. Then there are the cheerleader classes....that's next weekend. Holy crap! I'm in the wrong business."
But of course we all did it because it made our kids happy, plus it kept peace in the family. And give 'em credit, this is probably where most of today's world-class ballerinas got their start, not to mention more than a few pole dancers. :)