I often get asked by my pupils how to become a dance teacher, teach children and if I think it is a worthwhile profession.
How To Become A Dance Teacher
If you want to become a dance teacher, it does require the following:
- Years of dance training, preferably from a young age;
- Studying through the dance organization of your choice once you have finished your matric;
- Lots of patience and a love of working with and teaching children;
- A good eye to spot faults and then you need to know how to correct the faults;
- Plenty of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears – ok exaggerating just a bit, but it is hard work.
You will need a matric education and no criminal record to apply.
I would advise anybody who wants to dance professionally or teach children to dance to get something else behind themselves as well. A good business course or computer skills course would complement your career choice, and if you should suffer an injury in the future, you always have something to fall back on.
Can Anybody Become a Dance Teacher?
Most dance teachers have been dancing all their lives, some from as early as three years old. It is a lifelong skill and love of the art form that takes years to develop and learn.
To become a dance teacher, you can’t just finish school and suddenly decide that you want to become a dance teacher if you have never danced in your life as the learning curve will just be too enormous.
The reason it takes so long to learn to dance in the first place is the muscle memory involved in learning to dance.
From a young age, movements need to be repeated over and over again so that your brain can transfer messages to your muscles and you can learn the correct technique, so that movement in a certain way becomes second nature over time.
To suddenly force your legs to turn out and your feet to point when you are 20 years old can take a lot of serious effort, although it is not impossible.
As a teacher of dance, you need to be able to demonstrate the movements to your pupils, and your pupils will imitate your movements. If you don’t do them well, then just guess what your pupils are going to look like.
How To Become A Dance Teacher
If you have been dancing for a long time and you have reached a level in your dancing that permits you to study to become a teacher, there are various ways to go about doing this. Each organization is different, and there are many you could opt to teach for, including RAD, Cecchetti, AIDT, etc. Most dancers tend to go with the organization that they were trained in.
For your own safety make sure the organization is reputable, international (in case you need a job abroad one day) and is stable with a proven track record.
- You can enroll at a university or college that offers a dance teaching course as a subject and study through them.
- You can enroll at a university and do the dance teaching course through means of correspondence. You will still need to work with a dance studio to get the relevant teaching experience and knowledge, in addition to your home studies.
- You can study on your own at home, and just go to an examiner for lessons and help with the teaching aspects that only years of experience can show you.
- You can watch YouTube videos and learn all you need to know about opening a studio and teaching – Just kidding – number 4 is definitely not the way to go, although I have seen it happen.
The dance teacher courses on offer at the moment normally take anywhere from two to four years to complete. With some dance organizations, especially if you want to become a modern dance teacher, it could take even longer as you have to teach in between, get experience, and then do the relevant exam.
After you have finished studying to become a teacher, don’t think you are home free. The world of dance is constantly evolving, changing and growing. In fact, the more you think you know, the less you actually know.
There are many continuous professional development courses which you need to do to keep yourself updated and current on a regular basis. In fact, if you belong to a good dance organization like the RAD, for example, they will insist that you do course each year to keep current with new trends on how to teach dance.
To become a dance teacher, you need to have a passion for what you do, because you cannot become rich very easily in this profession, although it is possible to build yourself a large and successful studio over time. Be prepared for long hours on your feet, varicose veins and difficult children. You may even have a few difficult parents to also deal with.
But if you love to dance, love working with children, are patient, calm and a bit of a perfectionist, then this could be just the career choice for you.
To read some more articles on teaching dancing and how to become a dance teacher, click here.