In order to fly, you have to be free
— Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer) —
Who doesn't want a job where they get paid a salary for working and doing something they love every day? Admit it—you have a passion for dance and it's your dream to work as a dance instructor and maybe, one day, start your own academy.
What are you waiting for? Superprof can help you achieve your goals.
When people start to search for dance jobs, their foremost question is usually: What price will students be willing to pay for my classes?
How much is too much—or too little?
To save you the hassle, we've put together a guide on how much you can expect to be paid per hour in a teaching role, depending on different factors.
As a teacher, the amount clients will pay for your private lessons will be largely determined by your location and your competitors.
The approximate hourly rate dance teachers charge is dependent on two factors when you consider location:
- the average take-home salary of potential clients in your region
- the number of other teachers who offer the same style of dance instruction as you
If you teach in a low-income area, your rates will likely be lower. However, if you are one of the only nearby instructors for your style, you can command a little more than average.
What are your options when you're looking for somewhere to work as a dance teacher?
Local economy dictates the rates you can charge (and still expect to get dance teacher jobs), for example, if you're advertising in the centre of Sydney, you can safely ask for higher fees than if your lessons are held in the outer suburbs.
Likewise, if you offer hip hop lessons in your area, along with twenty other professional teachers or studio classes, you'll need to lower your rates to stay competitive.
So, what are the average prices for an hour-long tutorial in some of Australia's larger cities?
- Melbourne: $30 per hour
- Sydney: $32 per hour
- Brisbane: $25 per hour
- Perth $39 per hour
- Wollongong: $33 per hour
- Adelaide: $17 per hour
- Townsville: $37 per hour
The average rate across Australia that private tutors can expect to be paid for dance jobs is $24 an hour, however, you can see that it varies greatly between states.
Using the Superprof platform, you can check the rates other tutors are working for, particularly those who might be teaching near you. Also, spend some time looking at how many tutors offer the same dance style as you.
Armed with this information, work out what you can offer in your classes that will make students want to start learning with you. Then, when you set up your profile or create your fliers, make sure you emphasise your skills and your 'value-added' when it comes to your lessons.
Once you've decided, double-check that your rates cover your costs. You don't want to pay more for the rent on your studio than you earn from your classes.
Area of Expertise
What is your dance specialty? Do you have training and experience with choreography? Are you keen to start teaching jazz ballet, African dancing, classical ballet, salsa or good old rock and roll?
Your area of expertise will need to be considered when you are working out your rates. Factors including technical difficulty of the style (e.g. classical ballet), competition from other tutors and whether you're working with beginners or advanced level students will all have an impact on the fees you set.
One top tip: find out what dance styles are being taught at your nearby dance school or academy—if they are not offering what you are planning to teach, you can safely raise your fees.
Whatever you charge, however, you need to ensure you always prepare your lessons professionally and ahead of time.
To get you started on your search, we've listed a handful of average rates charged by Superprof dance tutors:
- Tango: $52 per hour
- Salsa: $39 per hour
- Choreography: $29 per hour
- Waltz: $49 per hour
- Ballet: $40 per hour
- Breakdancing: $30 per hour
- Zumba: $23 per hour
Remember to think about what you can do to make your classes stand out. Students are always looking for an instructor with a difference—someone they feel they are getting more than just the basic education or training from. Think about cultural links, theatre or drama aspects or performing techniques.
The more unique your teaching style seems, the more people will be happy to pay.
Promote yourself. Emphasise your expertise in your advertising and on your profile with Superprof.
Another factor that will determine your hourly rate is the level (beginner, intermediate, advanced, children, adults) of your lessons. Related to this is the purpose of the session (training, recreation, fitness).
Clients who are in training to audition for an elite ballet school will need more of your attention and expect to pay a much higher rate than those who are only looking at dance as a form of fitness or leisure activity.
Dance schools and private teachers generally divide their lessons into three experience levels:
There is no predetermined amount of time or experience a student needs to move into the next level. In fact, it is ultimately up to the individual teacher (or to a lesser extent, the school) to determine the level and the rate. Consider the preparation time needed to meet the student's goals and the amount of time it will take to get them there when you are determining how much you will charge.
It is not uncommon for dance teachers to be asked for specific services. If these requirements take extra time to plan, you should apply increased rates to reflect this. Such events may include:
- bride and groom's first dance
- school formal preparation for primary and secondary schools
- choreography for a special event
- secondary school performing arts showcase
- longterm training for students who intend to apply for a dance academy or performing arts school
- mentoring students who intend to apply for dance teacher jobs
- team teaching with drama teachers to stage a secondary (or primary) school musical
- focus on specific dance movements, styles or techniques
Any teacher or tutor who does not charge appropriately for the hours they devote to preparation and teaching time tend to lose credibility—always charge what you know you're worth!
Certain dance styles require specific resources, such as clothing or props, particularly when it comes to performing but also for general practice.
Make sure you adjust your rates accordingly if you choose to supply your students with necessary resources and equipment, including:
- clothing items (tights, happi coats, etc.)
- footwear (tap or ballet shoes, zori etc.)
- props (scarves, fans etc.)
- music and audio equipment (including microphones if needed)
Dance classes take place in various locations, all of which carry associated costs and need to be incorporated into your rates.
- Your home: electricity, cleaning
- Student's home: transport
- Studio, classroom, community hall: rent costs
Your Teacher Profile
Your Teaching and Dancing Experience
Many prospective students will ask about your experience before they enquire about your qualifications.
While qualifications are important if you apply for a high-level job in a performing arts academy, individual students are more interested in whether or not you're experienced when it comes to dancing and teaching.
An experienced, but unqualified tutor or teacher is often valued over a highly qualified, yet inexperienced teacher.
Which category best describes you?
- A passionate self-taught dancer with no formal dance education
- Skillful student, currently enrolled in a university-level dance course or at a performing arts school
- Fully qualified teacher with experience at a professional dance school or similar
Each type of tutor has the experience for dance teacher jobs, however, their rates may look very different.
Your Dancing and Teaching Qualifications
With or without experience, some students or schools may say they need you to have a qualification in dance and/or dance education.
While formal qualifications are not necessary for private tutors, having certification will justify you charging a higher hourly rate.
If you do decide to pursue formal dance education, you will need to decide what course of study to undertake. These range in length (and price):
- short courses (4 to 8 weeks)
- certificate course (approximately a year)
- diploma (1 to 2 years)
- bachelor degree (4 years)
- masters degree (2 years post-graduate)
For tutors whose goal is to open their own studio or academy, a formal qualification would certainly be an advantage, along with some work in business studies and management.
A great reference or testimonial from a past student is worth its weight in gold! The more the better.
On the Superprof platform, tutors with the best student ratings will be listed first, meaning they catch the attention of prospective new students. To receive a good rating, your lessons need to be organised and good value, but you also need to have a friendly and engaging approach.
Positive reviews mean you can charge higher fees.
With a combination of great reviews and the right rates, you will grow your student base even in the most obscure of disciplines, such as:
- Chinese dance
- Acrobatic dance
- Street jazz
Discounts for Group or Block Dance Jobs
Potential clients want to know they are getting value for money.
Providing the option of '5 classes for the price of 4' or other similar package-style discounts will make your regular students feel valued, and attract new clients. Private dance lessons on a weekly basis can add up—offering discounts and incentives sends the message that you care about your students.
Other ways you can promote your 'value-added' benefits on Superprof include:
- giving your first session for free, with no obligation
- online lessons at a cheaper rate
- lower per-person rates for group lessons, or at less popular times
- discounts for longer sessions
- negotiated (or one-off) rates for specific events (such as an intensive lesson prior to an audition)
- 'mate rates' — discounts for family and friends
- discounts for referrals
Remember, if your clients feel they are getting value for money, they'll recommend you to their friends. Word of mouth is powerful advertising.
Using these tips and hints, you should now feel confident to work out your hourly rates as a dance teacher.
Do you want to know more about teaching ballet?