How to be a dance teacher qualifications

Dance Teacher | Berklee

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Dance teachers educate their students in the technique, performance, and choreography of dance. Some teachers focus their approach on a single style while others work in many forms, among them ballet, jazz, modern, tap, ballroom, swing, salsa, hip-hop, folk, pole dancing, and traditional dance forms from around the world. Dance teachers work in a number of settings, from schools and private studios to community centers and gyms, and with an equally wide variety of students, from young children to elite professionals in premier companies.  Most teachers are themselves dancers and/or choreographers, and bring great knowledge and passion to their work.

Success as a dance teacher can come in many forms: opening one's own private studio, cultivating a fantastic public school dance program, or working for a prestigious conservatory or dance company.

While the specific activities and approaches employed by dance teachers vary greatly depending on the style and setting in which they teach, most classes involve some combination of warm-up exercises, technique-based drills, learning or practicing choreography, and rehearsing for performance. Classes may also include the opportunity for students to develop their own choreography, workshop each other's pieces, or practice improvisation. Dance teachers who work in early childhood education may incorporate dance techniques in playtime activities, aiming to develop fundamental aspects of rhythm and movement.

At a Glance

Career Path

Most dance teachers are experienced dancers or choreographers who specialize in one to three particular styles. They may become teachers after ending their professional careers or continue the two simultaneously as teaching artists. Most public and private schools require their dance teachers to have a bachelor's degree in dance as well as a teaching certification, while university-level dance teachers are expected to have an MFA degree.

Success as a dance teacher can come in many forms: opening one's own private studio, cultivating a fantastic public school dance program, or working for a prestigious conservatory or dance company. Dance teachers might also choose to work with nonprofit organizations as nonprofit artists, or acquire additional training and education to become dance therapists.

Finding Work

Dance teachers work in a wide range of settings, including public schools, private schools, dance academies, conservatories, universities, private dance studios, health clubs, gyms, and cruise ships. Many dance studios require teachers to carry dance insurance coverage or dance fitness liability insurance, while health clubs and gyms generally require a fitness trainer certification.  Those who teach as part of a nonprofit organization are likely to work in non-traditional settings, such as hospitals, prisons, community centers, homeless shelters, and rehabilitation centers.

Professional Skills

  • Dance technique
  • Choreography
  • Deep specialization in one style or broad knowledge of several
  • Teaching
  • Budgeting
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Physical fitness

Interpersonal Skills

Dance teachers are passionate about both dance and teaching. They have excellent communication, organization, and leadership skills, which enable them to manage a classroom, organize a curriculum, and convey difficult concepts to their students. Dance teachers who run their own studios are businesspeople as well as teachers, and must possess administrative and business skills.

Work Life

In addition to working on their feet in the classroom, dance teachers also spend time preparing for classes, observing and tracking the progress of students, and training and acquiring new skills.  The majority lead elastic work lives based around part-time teaching gigs in multiple settings—a flexible schedule that can leave room for personal projects and continuing work as a professional dancer or choreographer. Others prefer the stability and consistency of rarer full-time positions, which can be found at universities, conservatories, and private studios.

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The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Certified Dance Teacher

Becoming a dance teacher can lead to a very rewarding career in the field. In today’s ultimate guide, we’ll cover everything you need to make a lasting career as a certified dance teacher. 

What Does a Dance Instructor Teach?

A dance teacher is a person who teaches others the terminology and technique of specific steps and movements used in dance. There are many different disciplines in dance such as jazz, modern, tap, ballroom and ballet. Each has its own method of movement that a dance teacher must be very familiar with. 

Although there are many differences between the forms of dance, there are basic steps that overlap. With most dancers studying multiple genres of dance, it is good to be familiar with the different modes of dance to have a better understanding of the origins and how to teach them knowledgeably. Instructors are often responsible for developing lesson plans and delivering the plans in an easily understood way. 

Most students of dance are young kids and teenagers. While there are many adult dance classes, the vast majority are for children. When looking to start on a path towards becoming an instructor, it is important to know what age group you are most comfortable and suited to teach. Toddlers and young children require an instructor to have a great amount of patience while being able to teach the basic steps in a fun and inviting way. As the age group increases, the instructor should be able to demonstrate and have comprehensive knowledge of more advanced techniques and movements. 

How to Become a Dance Teacher

To become a dance teacher, it is imperative to have in-depth knowledge of the discipline you wish to teach. Dance teachers should have backgrounds with several years of dance experience. It is equally important to be in good physical condition to better show demonstrations of the exercises taught in class. Knowing what age group and difficulty level you would wish to teach is an important first step on your journey to becoming a teacher. 

After that decision is made you will need to know what genres of dance you would like to teach. Some dance instructors teach many different styles of dance, while others choose to focus on only one. The higher the level of difficulty of the class becomes, the more knowledgeable and advanced the teacher needs to be. This may be a deciding factor in whether or not you choose to focus on only one method of dance. Before pursuing an education in dance instructions, you should first look at the many different paths you can take in your dance instruction career. Education will set the foundation for your career choice. Having a vision in mind of where you are going before you even get started will help guide you through the journey ahead. 

Where Can a Certified Dance Instructor Teach?

There are many places a certified dance instructor can teach. From teaching in public schools to universities, dance teachers with the right credentials can find an array of opportunities.

Dance Studios

Private studios will give you an open environment to be more creative with lesson plans. With over 56,000 private studios in the U.S. alone, there’s sure to be a studio in any given city. 

Outside of privately-owned studios, certified teachers can find fulfilling work helping children find passion for exercise and movement in after school programs. There are more creative-leaning options such as, choreographer or even professional dancer. 

Gymnastics Clubs

Gymnastics clubs are often in need of ballet teachers and choreographers for routines. A certified dance teacher can significantly add to the staff in helping the gymnasts find finesse in professional-level choreography in their floor routines. 

Gyms & Fitness Clubs

Fitness clubs across the nation are offering classes like Zumba, a fast paced aerobic dance fitness class that allows students to have fun and let loose while they get a phenomenal cardio workout. Another emerging fitness class is barre. This graceful and beautiful form of exercise draws it’s movements directly from ballet. 

Another path is to pursue the healing field of dance therapy. It is a fast growing field of connecting the mind and body in psychotherapeutics.

Education Needed to Become a Dance Teacher

Being a student of dance will give you the physical know-how, while pursuing higher education will give you a more practical and academic approach to your teaching career. Teaching in K-12 public schools typically requires you to have a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts. College-level teaching usually requires a Masters. Instructors in dance movement therapy are required to have a graduate degree that fulfills all of the professional requirements of a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT) credential. 

However, not all dance teacher positions require you to have a degree. Private studios may be more interested in your personal experience in dance. It can be beneficial, no matter where you would like to teach, to receive certificates in dance education. There are many different ways to obtain certifications. Private and public colleges may offer courses, as well as many online programs and membership organizations. While certifications are not always mandatory to a position, they aid in demonstrating your passion for learning and teaching, giving you a potential bump up from competitors in the field.  

How to Get Certified in Dance

It is always best to do your homework on any certification you are going after, as there are many different options for getting certified. In-person learning may be something you are looking for, or maybe you prefer the flexibility of online learning. Either path you choose will present you with numerous course options. Some are basic and more broad, while others are much longer and in-depth. 

For example, the national dance education organization (NDEO) has a prestigious certificate in dance education that takes 3-5 years of course work to complete. You will want to find the right fit for the style and level of dance you wish to teach. Once you find your preferred program, you will be required to complete a certain amount of course work. This course work could include history, research, introduction to new techniques, and style specific pedagogy - the method and practice of teaching. 

After completing the course work, you will have to complete a final exam. Dance teacher exams are meant to ensure that the individual has successfully learned all of the material covered in the course and can apply them in the real world. Once the exams have been passed, the certificate will be provided to the student. 

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Dance Teacher

Certifications promote a mindset of continually learning and changing to the ever growing field of dance education. Programs that help you learn new, age-specific teaching techniques are vital for reaching a broader range of students. Each student is unique, so knowing how to apply many different modes of education will help your class excel. Additionally, curricula that include the science behind the movements and introduces you to the latest technology will give you a step up in creating the most modern of lesson plans. 

Not only do certifications give you a leg up in creating lesson plans, they also show current and potential employers that you are ready and willing to expand your knowledge and education. Some certifications help you attain high quality teacher (HQT) status. No certification is guaranteed to give you a higher salary, however, teachers that hold certifications are more likely to experience pay raises. Having a certification can give you the confidence needed to go after your desired job or ask for the pay raise you have been hoping to receive. 

Do Certified Dance Instructors Need Insurance?

The need for insurance is a question dance teachers will face when starting their career. Does the studio or school’s insurance provide adequate coverage in the event of a mishap? Will you have to pay for claims out-of-pocket while you are teaching? Will you be liable to pay for a student that was hurt during class? While your studio may have it’s own insurance plan, for the best protection individual dance instructor insurance is key. 

Dance insurance covers you for a wide array of different mishaps that can happen to even the most careful instructor. Thinking of the worst case scenario is never fun but being under-prepared if the worst happens is even scarier. Weighing the risk/benefit, you can buy a full-year of dance instructor insurance for just $179.

From slip and falls to student injuries, you can have peace of mind knowing you have comprehensive insurance that follows you every step of your career. Insure Fitness Group’s dance insurance also covers many different kinds of dance so that you can enjoy full coverage for a wide variety of popular dance modalities.

Getting Dance Insurance Online in a Few Minutes

Signing up for dance insurance might just be the easiest thing you do today. A quick application online is all it takes for you to find peace of mind while instructing your next dance class. 

where to study, salary, pros and cons

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Another name for dance teacher is a dance school teacher or dance studio teacher. It is clear that this is the name of specialists working in a specialized company. But a teacher or dance teacher can be called not only a teacher of a dance studio, but also a specialist of an educational institution where dances are studied along with other subjects. By the way, the ProfGid career guidance center has recently developed an accurate career guidance test that will tell you which professions suit you, give an opinion about your personality type and intelligence. The profession is suitable for those who are interested in physical education and singing, music (see. choosing a profession based on interest in school subjects). nine0003


  • Features of profession
  • Workplace
  • Dance teacher salary :

    Peculiarities of the profession

    Some teachers prefer to work with children, others prefer to work with adults, others can work with both. In any case, the task of a dance teacher is to teach their students to move, expressing themselves in dance. However, the higher the level of teaching, the wider the scope of the teacher's activity. It is also commonly believed that the higher the titles he won, the higher his value as a teacher. Also, he often acts as a choreographer: he puts dance numbers for his students when he prepares them to perform on stage. nine0003

    The dance instructor may have a preference for a particular dance direction: Latin American, jazz, Irish, etc. For example, on his resume, he might write "Latin teacher" or "Jazz-modern dance teacher."

    But that doesn't mean he can't do anything else. On the contrary, the profession of a dance teacher means constant learning and learning. As a spectator, he regularly goes to musicals, dance shows, competitions to watch the performances of his colleagues; attends dance workshops to learn something new for his teaching. Different dance and musical styles, teaching methods, eminent dancers and bright debutants - everything is interesting for a dance teacher. nine0003

    The teacher-dancer tries himself in different genres, sometimes changes his preferences, expands his role. In a word, it is in creative search. Beauty, joy of movement and creativity are the formula that can describe this profession.

    Of course, no person can perform on stage until old age. But while studying with students, the teacher maintains excellent physical shape for many years.

    This is enough to be able not only to explain, but also to show the dance to his students. Even if performances and competitions are in the past, the dancer remains a dancer who knows and feels the dance from the inside. nine0003


    Dance teacher salary for December 2022

    Salary information provided by portal.

    Russia 15000—75000₽

    Moscow 30000—100000₽

    A dance teacher can work in a dance school, studio, dance club, fitness center, comprehensive school, university, etc. Many teachers work simultaneously in different places, having time to perform and participate in dance championships. Also, a dance teacher can open his own dance school. nine0003

    Read also:

    Important Qualities

    The profession of a dance teacher involves a love of dance, artistry, an ear for music, good physical health, goodwill, patience, leadership qualities, self-confidence and optimism. He should be a sociable person, able to pick up the key to a variety of students.

    Knowledge and skills

    A dance teacher must be able to dance - this is understandable. But he should also know well the dance directions in which he works, including their history. Be proficient in teaching methods, be able to plan your classes. In order for dancing not to harm the health of students, the teacher needs knowledge in the field of anatomy and physiology. He must be able to competently manage physical activity. nine0003

    Where to study to become a dance teacher

    Most often, dance teachers become dancers who have been trained in dance since childhood. But there are other examples when already adults, having taken a great interest in dancing, reach notable heights and become teachers. Already having dance training, you can learn new directions of dance. As experts say, you can master some kind of dance style in less than six months, having worked out at a dance school.

    See also:

    Examples of companies with vacancies for dance teachers




    A vogue dance teacher tells how she got into dancing, how long it takes to start teaching, and how the case helped her turn her hobby into her favorite job.

    The ideal job and where it lives

    Stories of people who are happy doing what they do nine0003


    Dance teacher, St. Petersburg

    I was born in Siberia, in Krasnoyarsk, where I spent all my childhood and youth. To be honest, I never had any particular dream profession. There were a lot of hobbies and hobbies, so every time there were new options for what business I would like to connect my life with. According to the classic scenario, in early childhood I wanted to become a veterinarian or go to work on a farm - I really loved animals. Then I started to draw and, accordingly, I wanted to become an artist. In the second grade, I entered a music school in the piano class and was firmly convinced that in the future I would go to study at the Krasnoyarsk Academy of Music and Theater, but by the last year of study, the desire had disappeared somewhere. nine0109

    But there was a desire to form a rock band, because at the age of 11-12 I became very interested in British music. In general, it also did not grow together. By the way, I probably didn’t have any specific plan for my future profession until I was 22. In the 10th grade, I wanted to go to study as a clinical psychiatrist, but entering a medical institute seemed like a task on the verge of an unrealistic one. But psychiatry is still my area of ​​interest. Back in the ninth grade, she began to study English in depth, even passed the Cambridge exam, but for some reason did not want to enter linguistics. In my senior year, I suddenly decided that it would be a great idea to act as a theater and film actress, although I had never been fond of this before. I started studying with an actor from the Krasnoyarsk Youth Theater, he helped me prepare for the entrance exams, and after graduating from school I flew to St. Petersburg, applied to several theater universities. Naturally, I didn’t go anywhere further than the third creative round, but it was still an interesting experience. She did not stay in St. Petersburg, she returned to her hometown to rethink life. The following year, she nevertheless entered, but this time at the Academy. Stieglitz at the Faculty of History and Theory of Arts. I can’t say that it was a completely meaningful decision, rather, I just went where they took me. Too much I wanted to escape to the big city, apparently. Actually, she studied there for four years, but never received a diploma. She left a month before the defense due to health problems. nine0003

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    As you can see, the thought of connecting my life with dancing never even remotely occurred to me. My first acquaintance with this type of art happened at the end of 2017.

    I found out on the Internet about the vogue style, which originated in the first half of the 20th century in Harlem in a rather narrow circle of the African-American LGBT community. Initially, it was a dance based on the poses peeped from the models from the photos of Vogue magazine. Like any other style, over time it grew and changed, transforming into a whole culture. More battles began to appear, the style became more popular and began to gradually go beyond the initially isolated circle. Vogue gained worldwide fame at 1990 thanks to Madonna and the song Vogue that came out that year. After performing at the 1990 MTV Awards, the whole world started talking about style. Naturally, vogue came to Russia much later and began to develop according to a different scenario due to the difference in historical background, but thanks to television and the Internet, it is now quite a popular destination. Initially, I just liked the way the dancers move, so I decided to try this style, but gradually I began to delve into the culture and fell in love with it completely. nine0003

    It took me a long time to gather my courage, and finally I decided to sign up for a trial lesson. I liked it right away. I tried not to miss a single workout, went to master classes, came to practice on my own, spent five to eight hours a day in dance halls. I even skipped uni for this. Re-prioritised, dancing came first, and maybe it wasn't quite right, but I'm glad it happened that way. We became close friends with my first wog teacher, now he is my best friend. True, he now lives in Ukraine. I am very grateful to him, because he gave me the opportunity to try my hand at teaching, put me on replacements when he left, sometimes offered to conduct small master classes. When, due to the pandemic, he had to return to Kharkov from St. Petersburg, he offered me to replace him. For about a month I taught classes as a shift worker, and in September 2020 I was invited to work on a permanent basis. nine0003

    Tales from the editors, stories that got us hooked, useful and useless "lightning" messages - all in the Just Works TG-channel. Only you are missing.


    And for the last year and a half I have been working as a teacher at the dance studio S17. The school has grown a lot since I started there, and this is another reason why I am incredibly proud of my place of work. The point is not only that new halls have opened and the number of teachers has increased: the level of teaching and the requirements for both employees and students have also grown very much. I love our school with all my heart, I have not yet seen a cozier and more comfortable place to work. nine0003

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    I usually arrive at work much earlier than my classes start - to work out on my own or come up with choreography for the lesson. I communicate with friends, sometimes I go to classes with my colleagues, most often for contemporary, stretching or acrobatics. Then I conduct my classes - now I have two adult groups with which I work on an ongoing basis, and twice a week I conduct acrobatics in children's groups. Soon I will start working with my children's team three times a week, and I also want to start a group of author's choreography on Saturdays and Sundays. The schedule turns out to be quite tight, without days off, but in terms of the number of hours it turns out to be acceptable. I think it doesn't really matter when you're doing what you love. nine0003



    Since vogue is primarily freestyle, my teaching goal is to teach improvisation. We study the basic elements and movements, work out the flow, and on the basis of this, the guys begin to dance on their own. I try to help them build the structure of the dance or going to battles correctly, to work out some psychological clamps. Dance is a great playground, here you can try on any images, try to be what you cannot be in ordinary life. Everyone will find a suitable image for themselves, in which you can feel comfortable, and it will look harmonious. I think that my subconscious desire to feel more confident also played an important role in choosing a style. Vogue cannot work without an audience, we always need to direct our energy to someone from the outside, so self-confidence is one of the main conditions for performing. nine0109

    In general, I try to find an individual approach to each student. I consider mutual respect to be the main rule in working with students, without it, in principle, you can’t build any relationship. Therefore, it is also very important for me to feel comfortable at work, and I sincerely believe that I am very lucky with the team. I am friends with many of my colleagues, we all communicate well. I work with choreographers whom I respect and whose work I really like. It's very cool that I can learn from these people, learn from their experience not only as teachers, but also as dancers. nine0109

    I can’t objectively consider my work special, but for me personally it is exactly that. I would like to believe that I can really help people to reveal themselves and their potential, to overcome some complexes or clamps, to feel especially beautiful. Perhaps this can be called my mission.



    Feedback from students is the most enjoyable part of the job. The feeling that everything is done for a reason and that at least a little I manage to help people feel good. An unpleasant moment is the non-observance of personal boundaries and the disrespectful attitude of students towards each other or towards teachers. Whenever possible, I always try to resolve such a situation, because it greatly affects not only me, but the whole group. nine0109

    It seems to me that any person working in the creative field will sooner or later have to face the devaluation of their profession. For many people, a priori, creativity can only be a hobby, and is not even considered as a main job. Previously, relatives often asked when I was going to find a normal job, acquaintances asked what I would do when I got tired of dancing.

    Of course, I also had to deal with professional burnout. When you work almost seven days a week, this is probably inevitable. I just try to spend more time at home, and after I gain strength, I start going to classes with other choreographers, I draw inspiration from them and recharge my working mood.

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