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How To Become A Dance Teacher
31st March 2021

How To Become A Dance Teacher

If you are extremely passionate about dance, you may eventually make the decision to become a dance teacher. There are many different paths you can follow to do so, which can include:

  • College-level education
  • University-level education
  • Prior professional dance experience

This can include completing college and university-level qualifications, along with further dance education in your preferred genre.

Steps to Becoming a Dance Teacher

Step 1 – What Type of Dance Teacher Do You Want To Be?

Becoming a dance teacher takes different forms depending on where and how you want to teach. For example, to teach in a primary, secondary or special state school in the UK, you need qualified teacher status (QTS), which is received after completing teacher training. 

As a primary school teacher, you may not be able to teach dance as a sole subject, but may be able to teach this as part of wider physical education. In secondary schools, you may be able to teach dance as a single subject, or as part of physical education or wider performing arts. To teach dance at a university, you will need a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, and perhaps wider performing experience within the industry at an advanced level.

However, if you wish to work as a freelance or private dance instructor or teacher, you do not need to achieve QTS, but will need to complete recognised qualifications in order to teach reputably.

It’s important to understand that where you teach will affect the nature of your teaching, the kinds of students you will have, and the degree to which you can specialise in a particular dance genre.

Your role as a dance teacher is likely to remain fairly similar regardless of where you teach, involving:

  • Leading warm ups
  • Explaining and demonstrating moves and proper technique
  • Choreographing
  • Assessing student performance
  • Submitting student for competitions and examinations

However, this will vary in complexity depending on the level of teaching you are doing, the nature of your students and the specific working environment.

While passing a course at college might put you on the path to becoming a junior teacher at a smaller institution, becoming a professional ballet company teacher will be very different. You must be prepared to work for over 20 years towards gaining connections in the dance world while working for major dance companies to gain the experience needed for the role. 

Step 2 – Understand The Qualifications You Need

In order to teach in a primary, secondary or special school, you will need a university degree in performing arts or dance, plus achieve QTS via teacher training following your degree. 

If you want to teach in a college, you will need a minimum level 3 qualification in dance or the performing arts, but this will vary depending on the seniority of your teaching position. 

As a freelance or private dance teacher, you can teach based on your professional experience in the industry, aided by industry qualifications. This can include ISTD, Royal Academy of Dance, IDTA, or others. A full list of validated awarding organisations is provided by CDTA.

Step 3 – Do Your Research

Once you have a clear picture on the kind of dance teacher you want to be and the qualifications needed to get there, it is important to understand the time, cost and resources needed, salary expectations, and when you may be able to start teaching. 

Doing thorough planning and research ahead of embarking on your chosen path will help you make a thorough and informed decision that you will be satisfied with when you reach your goal of becoming a qualified dance teacher.

Teaching Dance From Home – Things to Consider

Over recent years, it has become increasingly necessary for dance teachers to adapt to teaching from home. While it may not be the most convenient, optimising your personal space can keep you educating your students when studios are not available for use. 

Wifi

If you are considering becoming a dance teacher from home, you will want to make sure that your wifi connection is optimal. Where possible, it is recommended that you purchase your own private wifi to prevent any risk of infiltration from other nearby people or businesses. If your wifi connection is public or kept open, you risk other people viewing the files on your devices, spreading viruses, monitoring the websites you visit or more. Not only will you be risking your own safety, but potentially that of your clients’ as their personal data may be on your laptop, such as their contact information, Skype details or otherwise. 

If you are limited to using public Wifi, you may want to consider purchasing a VPN, which is also known as a Virtual Private Network. This service can be paid for monthly or even yearly, depending on your requirements. VPNs provide you with a protected network connection and can disguise your online activity which can make it extremely difficult for third parties to steal your data or track your online activities. 

Dance Flooring

The type of dance floor you need when teaching will depend on your budget and how long you plan to teach from home. If you will be teaching short-term, then you may want to consider purchasing a dance practice mat, home studio kit or even a tap dance practice board. Each product variant can be used for different purposes based on the type of dance you practice. 

Short-Term Teaching

There are several varieties of dance flooring available for short-term use. If you are limited by space or budget, it may be more preferable to invest in portable dance flooring in smaller mat or panel forms. While installing a full sprung floor may be a more pricey commitment, it is now possible to purchase individual sprung panels that can be fitted together to form a dance floor of your size choice. These can also be easily installed and stored away for convenience. Additionally, it is also possible to buy versatile vinyl dance floor mats that can be used to sit atop your sprung panels or wooden flooring at home. 

If you are planning to convert a spare room, semi-permanent dance floor installation may be a better option. These can be used to cover your entire floor and uninstalled if needed. 

Long-Term Teaching

If you are planning to teach dance at home long-term, a more semi-permanent or permanent option might be more suitable. Depending on the space you have available, you can purchase joinable portable dance flooring panels individually or roll-out vinyl floor mats that are specifically designed for educational purposes. If you are considering the conversion of a spare room into a dance studio, you can also purchase permanent sprung floors that can be custom-fitted and installed in your home. 

Whether you are teaching dance alone online or planning to invite students to your home, please remember that using the appropriate type of dance flooring can be extremely important to preventing any damage caused by insufficient shock absorption. Semi-permanent, portable and permanent dance floors are engineered to support vigorous activity, while standard wood or carpet is not suitable for the purpose. 

Other Things To Consider

While teaching dance at home, there are several other things you may want to consider. While away from the studio, teachers will encounter many challenges to their standard teaching practise. Here are some other things to consider: 

    • Are your lessons engaging? While you are teaching in the studio or classroom, your lesson plans may be fun, educational and engaging. However, learning from home can pose a whole new set of challenges for students. It can be easy to become distracted and unmotivated, so you may want to consider re-examining your lesson plans to make sure that you are doing best to accommodate your students. Be open to asking for feedback from your students and their parents (if applicable) to determine where your students are struggling and if you can help them improve. 
  • Do your students have the right equipment? While you may have all your teaching equipment sorted out, there’s a good chance that some of your students may not be able to afford or commit to purchasing dance flooring or additional equipment, such as portable ballet barres. If this is the case, you might want to adapt your lesson plan to remove the need for such equipment or suggest some ways of using cheaper/at-home alternatives. 
  • Can your students attend class properly? Some students may be limited with their electronic devices or broadband, making class attendance difficult. You can make attendance more accessible by using free online applications to host your classes, such as Skype or Zoom. This way, students can have the option to view your lessons via mobile devices if laptops, computers or other devices are hard to come by. 

Resources

Please find below a list of helpful resources to assist you in looking to become a dance teacher.

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