How to become a dance teacher

a dance teacher coaching a young student.

If you have a passion for dancing and are yearning to turn your love into a viable career, teaching could be a great option for you.

From teaching in public and private schools to starting your own after-school programme or private dance studio, if you have the skills and patience required to pass on your passion for dance, there are a number of ways to turn your dream of teaching into a reality.

An immensely demanding but potentially lucrative career, to make it as a successful dance teacher in today’s day and age requires so much more than physical fitness and a knack for teaching. Fortunately, Markel Direct UK can help.

From investigating the different qualifications you may need to pursue a career in this industry and how long it may take you to be fully qualify, to looking specifically at what it takes to become a ballroom dance teacher or a tap dance teacher, this handy guide will help you get your head around the different ways you can achieve your goals. We have also included important information about the specialist dance instructor insurance policies you may need to have in place in order to practise as a dance teacher.

How do I become a dance teacher?

If you are looking into beginning a career as a dance teacher, there are a number of paths you can take. From taking National Dance Teachers’ Association-approved courses in your spare time to going to university and gaining a higher education degree in your chosen area of dance, becoming a dance teacher requires skill, patience and, perhaps most importantly of all, the necessary qualifications needed to get your foot in the door of the jobs you want.

What qualifications do I need to become a dance teacher?

When it comes to becoming a dance teacher, the qualifications you need will depend on where you want to practise your new profession and at what level you want to teach. For example, in order to teach dance in a state or private school, you’ll need to complete a relevant degree in dance or performing arts, in addition to attaining qualified teacher status. This can be achieved through a PGCE or similar course.

Alternatively, if you wish to lecture or teach dance at a university, you will likely need to hold a postgraduate degree in a relevant field, as well as teaching experience. Having professional performing experience is also a major advantage when looking to teach dance at this level.

If, however, you wish to teach dance privately, you do not necessarily need any professional qualification. That being said, if you want to learn your trade professionally, and give your private dance teaching business more credibility, completing a recognised professional qualification, such a course run by the International Dance Teachers' Association, is a sensible choice.

Remember, when practising as a dance teacher, as well as having the required qualifications, having specialised insurance policies in place is also a good idea. To learn more about this, check out our guide to dance teacher insurance.

How long does it take to be a dance teacher?

Once again, the time it takes to become a dance teacher all comes down to what level you want to teach at, what type of dancing you would like to specialise in and where you want to practise. For example, if you want to teach in a secondary school, aside from the time spent on your own personal dance development, you will likely have to complete a three year full-time undergraduate degree before then undertaking a one year PGCE course. If you choose to study part time, this process will take longer. Naturally, if you want to lecture in dance, or teach practical dance at a university, the required postgraduate degree could take another one to five years to complete, depending on the level of degree you wish to attain. 

If you do not want to go to university, or simply want to teach dance privately, instead of achieving a degree, you could opt for a part-time course. Courses such as the Certificate in Ballet Teaching and a Level 4 Diploma in Dance Teaching require only proven experience in dance to enter, yet provide professional qualifications that can be used to demonstrate your competency in your chosen teaching field.

How to become a ballroom dance teacher

If ballroom dance is your passion, you might want to know the best ways of qualifying as a teacher in this specific field. Well, fortunately, you do not need a degree or years of studying to become a ballroom dance teacher. For example, through the International Dance Teachers' Association (IDTA), courses are available to take - such as the IDTA Level 4 Diploma in Dance Teaching - that  provide everything you need to become a successful ballroom dance teacher.

Alternatively, courses run by other organisations, such as the British Dance Council and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, can also provide foundation to expert-level qualifications in dance teaching that can help you achieve your dream of becoming a ballroom dance teacher.

How to become a tap dance teacher

In a similar vein to learning how to become a ballroom dance teacher, there are a number of ways to become a tap dance teacher. As with all forms of dance teacher training, it helps to undertake a degree or industry-approved course that provides a foundation level understanding of all forms of dance teaching, before then honing your skills in a specific genre, like tap, with a level 3 or 4 diploma. For example, once again the IDTA Level 4 Diploma in Dance Teaching is a fantastic option when you are looking for qualifications that help on your way to becoming a competent and respected dance teacher. This course will teach a budding tap dancer teacher to:

-        Gain a general understanding of safe dance practice

-        Properly demonstrate and hone your dance teaching skills

-        Clearly demonstrate your skills, knowledge and in-depth understanding of your chosen genre (for example, tap)

Again, similar courses run by other organisations also provide foundation to expert-level qualifications in dance teaching, many with options to focus specifically on tap as you progress. These qualifications represent the perfect opportunity to build the foundation needed to become a successful tap dance teacher.

In-depth dance teaching courses of this nature also provide experienced tap dancers with the essential skills they need to successfully teach their chosen field by providing a comprehensive approach to teaching technique, performance skills and repertory dexterity.

What insurance do I need as a tap dance teacher?

As a self-employed dance teacher you will need business insurance to ensure you are protected in case something goes wrong, such as one of your students picking up an injury in one of your classes.

There are a number of insurance policies available to you which will help you protect you and your business in the event of a claim.

Because you work directly with the general public, it is important for you to carry public liability insurance which will respond in the event of an injury claim being made against you. The injury could be while performing a dance move or it could be innocuous and be a simple slip or trip accident.

Professional indemnity insurance is also a recommended insurance policy if you are providing instruction and advice. It will offer comprehensive protection against the cost of defending your dance business against allegations of professional negligence (such as giving incorrect instruction to a student) and if unsuccessful, the cost of damages awarded against you.

Click here to find out more about our specialist insurance for dance teachers.

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