“When we dance, we are free.” - Paulo Coelho
Many artists dream of being able to make a living off their passion!
Some dancers choose to transfer their knowledge of this artistic discipline to aspiring dancers by providing dance education and dance training rather than joining a dance theatre.
However, it takes more than just being a good dancer to become a good teacher and be recruited by a famous dance school or dance company.
Like most jobs, there are plenty of different qualifications and degrees for dancing and there are different ones depending on whether you do contemporary dance or classical ballet, etc.
Here are some of the qualifications that dance instructors can get!
The Benefits of Having Dancing Qualifications
Becoming a Proper Teacher
Just like classically-trained instructors, dance tutors may need a diploma or qualification proving their abilities as both a dancer and a teacher.
You need to know more than just a certain style of dancing to become a good teacher, you also need to have teaching skills that have been approved and validated by a recognised authority. Improvisation won't cut it!
Being a good performer won’t automatically make you a good dance teacher: You’ll need to prove that you’re capable of organising dance classes and effectively teaching dance technique.
There are plenty of different ways to become a dance teacher and there are plenty of different qualifications, bachelor degrees and postgraduate degrees, and pathways you can follow.
While some routes don’t require any qualifications whatsoever, you can still learn a lot about both teaching and dancing by completing them.
If you do choose to work for a dance academy or at a university, you’ll have the advantage of having regular work, too. On the other hand, you won’t have the freedom that a private dance tutor gets.
If you’re serious about teaching at a prestigious dance school, then it would be a good idea to attend one and get the necessary certification. However, they can still be a good idea if you're thinking of teaching privately. Here's why...
Appear More Legitimate to Potential Students
Where would a teacher be without their qualifications?
While not necessarily obligatory, qualifications can reassure students who otherwise would have no proof of the quality of instruction offered.
They can help establish a relationship between students and their teachers. While you can build a rapport with your students during each dance class, having a qualification can help you attract students more quickly.
Other ways to appear more credible to prospective students is to:
- Have a lot of experience as a professional dancer or educator
- Be a member of a dance troupe or have experience in dance companies
- Already be teaching a diverse range of dance classes
- Have positive reviews on your Superprof profile
- Master various different styles of dance, etc.
Some tutors will also benefit a lot from word of mouth regardless of whether they have qualifications or not! If the student enjoys it when their tutor teaches them how to dance, they're likely to recommend you to their friends.
A lot of beginners aren’t really bothered whether or not their tutor has certain qualifications, they're more interested in how good they are as an instructor and choreographer.
On the other hand, experienced students and those attending dance academies or at university will be familiar with many of the diplomas and qualifications available and what that means when teaching people about dance. It's also a huge bonus that a lot of these qualifications are internationally recognised.
Being Able to Teach in Dance Academies and Schools
Whether it’s in a conservatoire, dance academy, or performing arts school, a recognised qualification is often required to work in most professional dance institutions. This is even better if you're an alumni of another (or the same) prestigious school of dance.
Having attended a reputable school can help you get your foot in the door of other prestigious dance academies and institutions and these qualifications can also help you to command a higher salary.
As long as your audition goes well, with the right qualifications, you’ll open doors to different institutions such as:
- Regional conservatoires
- A nationally recognised academy of dance
- State secondary schools and primary schools
- Universities offering dance and performing arts undergraduate bachelor degrees and postgraduate master's degrees
Whether you’re wanting to teach ragga, mambo, or kizomba lessons, you could learn at a prestigious school of dance with the right qualifications. After finishing your qualification, you’ll know almost everything you need to start teaching, including planning lessons for others.
How Can You Get the Qualifications to Become a Dance Instructor?
Get a Level 3 Qualification in Dance or Performing Arts
If you want to teach dance, you’ll be required to get at least a level 3 qualification. In the UK, level 3 qualifications are A Levels (or equivalent qualifications) and are usually taken when you’re aged between 16 and 18 (though there’s nothing stopping older students from getting one).
These generally take around two years to complete, but you can skip this qualification if you’re moving on to a more advanced qualification like a degree. Nevertheless, if you’re at the age where you have the option to get your level 3 qualification in dance or performing arts and are considering teaching dance in the future, it’s worthwhile signing up to your school dance classes.
Degrees in Dance or Performing Arts
Many jobs nowadays ask for applicants to have a degree in a relevant subject and dancing is no exception.
Both dance academies and conservatoires expect their teachers to have a degree (and often a postgraduate degree) in dance or performing arts. The right degree can be a great way to get your foot in the door of some of the most reputable institutions.
Additionally, it means that you’ll have a good knowledge of dance, the history of dance, and years of experience performing.
Generally, dance degrees will include:
- History of dance (historical knowledge and research)
- A knowledge of physiology and anatomy
- Practical experience (dancing and knowledge of dancing culture)
Of course, if you’re wanting to do a degree in dance or performing arts, it’s very useful to already have an A Level in the subject when you’re applying to university.
Postgraduate Degrees in Dance or Performing Arts
If you want to become a lecturer at a university, you’re going to have to look at completing a postgraduate degree (usually a master’s degree).
Postgraduate degrees are useful for both getting jobs and improving your knowledge of the craft. Before you study a postgraduate degree, you’ll be expected to have completed an undergraduate degree and have achieved good grades, too.
In the UK, postgraduate degrees usually last 1 year (a full 12 months).
The curriculum often includes instruction in the following aspects of dance:
- Dance history
- Teaching techniques
- Dance culture
- Choreography and musical composition
- Didactic methods for dancing and intensive dance performance workshops
- Philosophy of dance
- Music, etc.
Throughout the year, you’ll be expected to complete a number of written and practical assignments before completing a larger project at the end of the course. However, it’ll all be worth it once you have the qualifications necessary to teach dancing as a lecturer in universities around the country.
If you're concerned about the cost of the university, don't forget that it may be possible to reduce the funding either through a scholarship. You can could also do a placement or internship before going through the admission process to increase your chances.
How Can You Teach Dance without Qualifications?
If you want to teach people to dance but aren’t in possession of any qualifications, don’t worry! You can still teach people how to dance.
While working in a dance academy or at a state school requires qualifications, working as a private dance tutor only requires that you have the necessary experience and be a good teacher. There are also plenty of styles of dance that aren’t widely taught in conservatoires and universities. This means there are a lot of students looking to learn these styles elsewhere.
Whether you have qualifications or not, you can still teach the following dance styles:
- Contemporary dance
- Ballroom dance
- American dance
- Cuban salsa or Puerto Rican salsa
- Cha cha
- Viennese waltz
- Hip hop
- Rock and roll
Some dance schools and dance academies will accept teachers without certain qualifications on the condition but will encourage them to attend a training course or workshop that can last anywhere from a few weeks to a whole semester. There are also dance academies, schools, and studios that accept modern dance, jazz, or ballet teachers, for example, without any qualifications.
When it comes teaching tap, Argentine tango, ballroom dancing, or even teaching a couple for their first dance, private tutorials are still probably the best option.
If your students have access to enough space at home, you can even consider online tutoring jobs through webcams!
There are plenty of advantages to teaching private dance tutorials:
- The freedom to teach group classes or individual classes in a dance studio or at home
- Flexibility to work when you want and where you want (you needn't teach your students in a classroom)
- The potential to earn a salary higher than that of a teacher in a dance academy
- Being able to teach dance tutorials online
- Teaching a variety of different levels (beginner, intermediate, or advanced)
- The option to teach many different styles of the art form
- Meeting regularly with your students in dance studios or at their home
- Improving your teaching skills and understanding of the art of dance
On Superprof, the average cost of tutoring jobs London for dance lessons is £17 per hour.
In this case, it’s the tutor’s experience that’s more important than anything else. Tutors can put their qualifications on their profile as well as their specialisations and their experience as professional dancers.
Most prospective students won’t pay much attention to your qualifications if you have tonnes of glowing reviews. In fact, students tend to prefer a quality teacher over one with tonnes of qualifications. Of course, if you want students to enjoy each rehearsal, make sure that you combine dynamic exercises with a touch of creativity so that your students look forward to their next recital.
So start creating your profile today. With so many people becoming interested in the art of dance, it'd be foolish not to.
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