“Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” - Maya Angelou
The ultimate goal for many artists is to earn their living by simply doing what they love.
For dancers, some may dream of working with a dance theatre. Others seek the path of training students and teaching what they know through choreography.
Becoming a successful instructor with a famous dance company, however, needs more than just having good moves.
Similar to other professions, there are several qualifications for dancing that vary according to which type you do, for example, contemporary dance or classical ballet.
Continue reading to learn about which qualifications dance teachers can get!
The Benefits of Dancing Qualifications
Become a Genuine Teacher
Similar to an instructor who is classically-trained, professional dancers with a diploma are able to prove their abilities in dancing as well as teaching.
There is more involved than just knowing how to do a particular style of dance, you will need to have a recognised authority approve and validate your teaching skills.
Performer well is the first step. But to be a good dance teacher, you’ll need to prove you can teach technique and organise a dance class.
There are many ways of becoming a professional dancer, you can choose from several qualifications, bachelor and postgraduate degrees.
Even though some pathways don’t explicitly require exams, there will be an enormous benefit to gain for your teaching and dancing skills.
Private dance tutors have freedom in their career, whereas if you decide to work for a dance academy or at a university you will have the advantage of having regular work too.
If you’re intent on teaching at a prestigious dance company, then it would be wise to consider attending one and getting the necessary training or certification. However, these schools are still a good option if you're thinking of pursuing private teaching.
Attracting More Dance Students
Teachers would be lost without their qualifications!
Whilst not always obligatory to have, qualifications can promise students a quality of instruction they'd otherwise have no proof of.
They can also help build the relationship between the tutor and students. This can still happen during each dance class, however, having the certification can allow you to engage more students faster.
You can appear more credible to prospective students by:
- Having good experience in professional dancing or educating
- Being a part of a dance troupe
- Teaching a wide variety of dance classes
- Showing positive reviews on your Superprof profile
- Becoming a master of different dance styles
Never underestimate the power of word of mouth! Teachers can also benefit from this even if they don't have a long list of qualifications. A student who has enjoyed a dance rehearsal is likely to recommend the tutor to their friends.
Many beginners aren't phased if their instructor has a particular qualification, they're more concerned if the tutor is a good teacher and choreographer.
More experienced students however or those attending dance academies and universities will be across the different diplomas and qualifications out there and how it benefits the quality of instruction. Better yet, many dance qualifications are internationally recognised.
Teaching in Dance Institutions
A valid qualification is often necessary if you want to work in a conservatoire, dance academy, or performing arts school. Former students will have the upper hand as well!
Being an alumni of a well-known or prestigious dance studio can assist you in making a head start into any of the academies, and qualifications from recognised institutions can further help you set higher prices for your tutorials.
You'll need to nail your audition of course, but with the right qualifications, you’ll be able to approach:
- Regional conservatoires
- Nationally academies
- Primary and secondary schools
- Universities with dance / performing arts undergraduate bachelor degrees and postgraduate master's degrees
Ragga, mambo, or kizomba - whichever class you teach, you will gain a lot from learning at a prestigious dance school with the right qualifications. After completing your exams, you should have the tools you need to begin, including putting together classes for others.
What's the Process of Getting Dance Qualifications?
The different options for obtaining formal qualifications
Students will often follow a set syllabus and complete a degree, diploma, certificate or licentiate from an examining body. There are also universities and education centres offering various standalone dance courses.
These may comprise of short intensive classes, or take up to two years to finish. Remember you may be able to skip certain certificates if you’re heading straight to an advanced degree. Either way, completing any type of dance training if you are considering teaching, later on, is a great idea.
Degrees in Dance or Performing Arts
Almost every job nowadays will require prospective employees to have a degree in the relevant field, dancing included.
Teachers working at any dance academy or conservatory are expected to hold a degree (often postgraduate) in dance or performing arts. Having the right qualifications is therefore an important entry point to some of the most well-known institutions.
What's more, you’ll be equipped with a solid knowledge of dance and its history, as well as more experience.
Dance programs often cover:
- Content on the history of dance (including historical knowledge and research)
- Physiology and anatomy
- A practical component (dancing and knowledge of dancing culture)
If you’re interested in completing a degree in dance or performing arts, having done a similar ATAR subject will be helpful when applying to the universities.
Find out about dance class equipment.
Postgraduate Degrees in Dance or Performing Arts
What if you want to become a university lecturer? You should think about enrolling in a postgrad degree.
Studying a master's degree for example would be useful for not only landing a job but also improving your industry knowledge. Before postgraduate studies are commenced however, you’ll have to complete and achieve solid grades in your undergraduate.
In Australia, postgraduate degrees typically last for 12 months.
You'll usually find the following aspects of dance in the curriculum:
- Teaching techniques
- Choreography and musical composition
- Didactic methods for dancing and intensive dance performance workshops
During the course, students will be required to complete written and practical assessments before completing a larger assignment at the end of the year. This will all pay off once you have the necessary qualifications for dance education anywhere in Australia.
If the cost of university is an issue, you may want to look into the availability of scholarships or other initiatives that reduce the funding needed. Trying for a placement or internship before going through the admission process can also be a great way of increasing your chances.
Can Dance Teachers Still Get Dance Jobs Without Qualifications?
If you're passionate about teaching dance, but don't have any certifying documents, don’t fret! You can absolutely still teach new students how to dance.
Even if dance academies or schools require qualifications, private dance teachers only need to have the necessary experience, a good level, and be good instructors. There are also several types of dance not taught in conservatories or universities. This means there is potential demand from students keen to learn these styles elsewhere.
Regardless of your qualifications, you can still teach the following styles:
- Contemporary dance
- Ballroom dance
- American dance
- Cuban or Puerto Rican salsa
- Cha cha
- Viennese waltz
- Hip hop
- Rock and roll
Some dance academies or studios might even accept teachers without qualifications on the promise they complete a training course or workshop. There are also dance schools that might be happy to accept teachers of modern dance, jazz, or ballet for example, without any qualifications.
If you're looking at teaching tap, ballroom dancing, Argentine tango, or even preparing a couple for their first dance, private classes are likely the best option.
Living in the digital age your students can even learn remotely in their homes using webcams if they have enough space!
There are many benefits for private dance teachers:
- Freedom to deliver private dance classes for individuals or groups studio or at home
- Flexibility to work whenever or wherever you want (this doesn't have to be in a classroom)
- Potential to earn a better salary than what you would get at a dance academy
- Ability to teach online dance lessons
- Teaching a range of different levels (from beginner to intermediate or advanced)
- Giving classes for several different styles of dance
- Meeting frequently with students in wherever the lesson is
- Improving your education skills and understanding of the art of dance
The average cost for dance lessons on Superprof in Melbourne is around $30 per hour.
And so the experience of dance teachers will be the most important aspect. Tutors are able to list their qualifications or their specialisations and their professional experience on their profile.
Potential students mightn't even pay close attention to the instructor's qualifications if they have plenty of great reviews. As a matter of fact, students often prefer a quality tutor over one with heaps of qualifications. To get your pupils excited about your dance class, think about integrating dynamic exercises with a bit of creativity!
So start creating your profile today. With so many people keen to learn about the art of dance, you'd be missing out if you wait any longer.
Make sure you also have all the materials you need for dance lessons!