Dancers might never have learned the complex moves they demonstrate in movies or on Broadway without help from childhood dance teachers. These teachers demonstrate flexibility and balancing exercises, and then teach dancers basic ballet, tap and modern dance steps. Teachers gradually help dancers learn complete dance routines and perfect their students' performances for recitals and musical productions. If you have stamina, patience and good balance, a career as a dance teacher might be for you.
Most dance teachers who teach at elementary and high schools have bachelor's degrees in dance. If you teach at a college or university, you might be required to have a master's degree in dance. Over 70 college and university dance programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When teaching at dance studios, a high school diploma may be sufficient, especially if you are highly experienced performing or teaching dance. If you decide to run your own dance studios, business courses such as accounting and marketing might be helpful for bookkeeping and promoting your business.
Training and Experience
Dance teachers may start training as young girls as soon as they step into dance studios for the first time. In this field, you might learn ballet and tap dancing while in elementary school, and later study modern dance and jazz as a teenager. There are summer dance training programs where you can perfect your moves and prepare for college. Most dance teachers become professional dancers before entering the teaching profession, which enhances their marketability. You can also assist other instructors or choreographers in college or at performing arts, dance or entertainment companies.
Like other teachers, you must usually get certified to teach dancing in elementary, middle and high schools. However, there are multiple ways of attaining certification. Most college dance programs allow you to earn your teaching certification for grades K-12 for both public and private schools. You can also become certified to teach college-aged students or different styles of dance, including jazz, tap, ballroom and modern dance. The National Dance Education Organization is a nonprofit association offering online certification for generalist teachers or dance educators. Check with your state's board of education for available certification programs.
Dance teachers must have several major skills to be successful. They must be creative as they interpret the music and teach dancers the correct tempo for various movements. In this field, you might also create your own unique dance moves that you derive from different styles. You must have leadership skills to help dancers learn routines and perfect them for recitals, plays and entertainment shows. Organizational skills are also necessary for keeping track of lessons and scheduling dancers for various performances.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Dancer or Choreographer
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011 -- Dancers
- Hunter School of Education: Dance Overview
- Dance and Gym USA: Online Dance Teacher Certification
- National Dance Education Organization: NDEO OPDI -- Certificate in Dance
- University of Houston: Teacher Certification in Dance -- Secondary Education