CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 31, 2014
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How to Become a Dance Teacher

Do you eat, sleep, and breathe dance? If you've always been involved in dance, why not build a career out of it? Becoming a dance teacher involves passion, skill, and knowledge. If you tick all those boxes, why not look into becoming a dance teacher?

What Exactly Does a Dance Teacher Do?

There are various positions regarding dance teachers. Some will work for a private company, others will open their own studio, and many will teach within schools. Whether you offer private lessons, or teach within your local church; dance teachers educate others. The following are some of the most common tasks that dance teachers experience:

  • Show their students how to warm up. Stretching, and properly warming up is a crucial part of dance. Not only is it more beneficial, it is safer.
  • Providing various dance moves, performing them, then teaching them step-by-step.
  • Choreograph dance moves, pieces, and performances.
  • Giving students feedback on where they can improve.
  • Encouraging students to succeed, as well as entering them for competitions.
  • Teaching the history and theory behind dance to give a more thorough understanding.
  • Developing their own skills and techniques.

There are so many varieties of dance. Some teachers will focus on one area of dance (e.g. hip-hop, or jazz), while others will be trained in numerous dance styles. A dance teacher may be teaching a student so that they can excel; or to help someone improve their health.

Experience and Qualifications Required

  • The experience and qualifications that you would need, differ across various teaching positions.
  • No matter where you're teaching, you need a high level of experience. Generally, teachers will have been dancing since they were very young. Many ballet teachers started dancing when they were four-five years old. They progress throughout their lives, improving upon their well disciplined skills.
  • Within all sectors, teachers must be able to display their role as a leader. Creativity is a great skill to have, as well as effective instructional skills. You may be an incredible dancer, but if you can't teach, you will find this career challenging.
  • For Private Teaching: Generally a dance teacher will be qualified to teach at least one dance style; ballet, tap, interpretive, lyrical, hip-hop, and many others. If you wanted to teach ballet at a private dance school, you would need to obtain your Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS).
  • To Teach in a Public School: Dance teachers who work within public schools (primary or secondary), will generally need a bachelor's degree. Their degree may be in education, or even fine arts. Sometimes internships will be available; this allows you to gain some field experience. This will lead to a teacher certification, which requires individuals to study dance education.
  • Teaching at College: If you're a teacher who currently teaches students K-12, you may want to look into teaching at a postsecondary school. This generally requires teachers to gain their master's degree. At this level, teachers may focus on; performance, research, teaching, or other artistic components. Although this is more work, it will make you eligible for a doctorate program. Once receiving a PhD, you may end up in more lucrative teaching jobs.
  • Running Your Own Business: If you are running your own dance studio, you will more than likely teach as well. You will require the same training as any other position, but you may also possess a degree in business or a related field.

Income

Type of Teacher

Income

Private Teacher

Income widely varies based on; number of pupils, hours, and type of dance school. 

Full-time Teacher Within State Sector

£21,804 to £31,868 a year (£27,270 to £36,751 in inner London).

Choreographer

Widely varies. Experienced choreographers working in commercial theatre earn up to £1,275 a week.

Career Development

  • The very first step is interest within dance. As mentioned above, many individuals will begin dancing at a very young age. From there, passion and skill-level increase.
  • Once you've become a teacher within a primary/secondary school, you may join the National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA). Through the NDTA, you may access resources that will improve your career. This includes; training, networking, and teaching resources.
  • If you have become a qualified teacher, you should apply for the CDET Recognised Awards scheme. It's designed for teachers who show that they provide professional practices.
  • As a teacher, you will already hold some sort of degree. If you would like to move up to postgraduate work, look into universities to see which courses they are offering. Some of the available courses are; dance, choreography, ballet studies, contemporary arts, and much more.
  • While running your own business, you will want to keep your studio updated. The Royal Academy of Dance, offers studio owners courses and events that help to keep their practice modern and up-to-date.

Whether you'd like to teach individuals to excel, or simply get kids involved in dance; there's various dance opportunities. Contact some studios, or organisations within your community. Allow your passion to evolve into a career, become a dance teacher today! 

Photo credit: Flickr

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