How to Become a Dance Instructor

Pratiksha S., February 25, 2022

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Dance is one of the oldest forms of art. It is centuries old and people still practice it today. Dance is used to express joy, demonstrate the grace of movement, and is also a part of many religious ceremonies. However, in olden times dance was not perceived as a respectable career but things have changed now. People have started to see dance as a great career option.

Many television shows that host dance competitions have sprung up in recent times. Not just that, the dance itself has evolved over time. There are many dance forms that one can get their hands on. For example, ballet, ballroom, hip-hop, salsa, jazz, tap dance, folk dance, and many more.

In the United States alone, there are over 100,000 serious dancers and about 8% of dancers actively pursue their career as a professional in performing arts. Even though it seems fun, dance is not an easy career option. A lot of hard work goes in and only then is a person deemed as a professional dancer.

If you want to build a career in dance and are thinking about how to become a dance instructor then here are some steps that you might need to follow in order to fulfill your dreams.

How to become a dance instructor:

Start training:

Many dance enthusiasts begin training at a very young age. However, it is not necessary. If you have skills you can begin training at any point in your life. Training is a very important step in becoming a dance instructor. Training does not have to be professional, you can train yourself. With social media, many people have started to dance just by watching online tutorials. Getting professional training, however, will give you an upper hand when you are looking for jobs because people want professionals who are trained by esteemed organizations.

How to become a dance instructor

Sign up for instructor education program:

Education is an important part of any professional career, in order to teach one must learn first. Aspiring dance instructors must complete a teacher education program before they can start teaching. Education is also important for recognition.

The DEA (dance education on America) offers several training programs that revolve around a few dance styles: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Tap. These education programs teach you the principles of dance, develop a curriculum for effective instructions, and they also choreograph exercises in a way that is appropriate to the age, level, and skill of your students.

Get a certificate:

Obtaining a certificate does not just mean that instructors know how to dance, but it also means that they are skilled in teaching students how to become better dancers. Becoming certified makes you better prepared to explain dance theory and the reasons certain styles and moves are executed in a specific way. By understanding how to break down individual steps, you’ll be able to help students replicate the moves on their own.

Both training and certification are offered by the DEA. There are three certificate programs that they offer such as:

  • Associate Specialized Training Certificate
  • Advanced Teacher Certificate.
  • Student Assistant Certificate.

Obtaining these certificates might cost you money. The price varies depending on what type of certificate you are seeking to obtain. It can be anywhere between $500 to $3000.

Get Internships:

Most professional dance instructors started out their careers as an intern. Internships will help you land a great job as a dance instructor as it gives you first-hand training.

One of the key steps on how to become a dance instructor is to keep track of fellow dance instructors. You need to be updated on what is trending in the market. You can follow other dance instructors on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. You can reach out and ask them if you can assist them in their classes This will also help you learn skills from them and you can also reach out to them to learn about their journey to become a professional dance instructor. In the dance industry, you can never stop learning. People change, their choices change and so does their liking towards a particular form of art. Therefore, dance instructors need to learn new skills and grow every day in their professional lives.

You can also take part in dance competitions. Research about events that are coming up near you and apply. You can also volunteer to teach dance to students for free. This will look very good in your portfolio.

How to become a dance instructor quickly

Build Portfolio:

Gaining experience or building a portfolio is one of the most important things that a dance instructor must-have. A strong portfolio will help you get your dream job. Building a CV is also an option.

There is no one correct template for a dance CV. Performers, agents, and customers all have different preferences. Make it clear, professional, informative, and honest.

What to add to a CV?

Include an accurate description of what you offer or what you are offering on this occasion. It could be different skills e.g performance, teaching, choreography.

Relevant testimonials/quotes you have from the audience, agent, or client recommending you from previous bookings and performances are a good way of showcasing your timeliness, professionalism, and stage presence.

It can be helpful to list a couple of examples of where you have performed. You can make this varied so it showcases the fact you are versatile and that your acts fit in different locations and venue types. Or it may be more appropriate to focus on the types of venues that you are aiming to get more work in.

This may not be necessary if you are looking to teach in an organization. But if you are looking to become a private dance instructor then it is very important that you advertise your skills. You should start by understanding who your target audiences are and what intrigues them to use the services you are offering. This allows you to provide services that people cannot deny. You should also research who your competitors are and what services they offer so you can provide the services others do not offer.

Once you identify the target audiences and understand their needs as part of your marketing research, you should start by creating a plan to advertise your services.  When you create your advertisements make sure of your strengths and uniqueness and focus on the things that you offer differently than your competitors.

Apply for jobs:

When I say apply for jobs I don’t just mean to apply in an educational institution. You can apply for jobs as a private dance instructor. Send out your portfolio to potential clients. You can even meet them face to face and discuss the services that you provide. You might have to work on your communication skills as most part of your job is to communicate with your students and potential clients.

Why become a dance instructor?

Now that you know everything about how to become a dance instructor, you might be wondering why become one. Here are some points that will help you in your decision:

certified dance instructor
  • Various job opportunities: A certified dance instructorcan teach in many places. From teaching in public schools to universities, dance teachers with the right credentials can find an array of opportunities. They can teach in dance studios, Gymnastics clubs, and gym and fitness clubs.
  • Getting Creative: Being a dance teacher means you have endless opportunities to get creative and showcase your skills and individual style. You get to choreograph your own performances and enjoy the rewards of seeing your vision come to life.
  • Flexibility: This is not your normal 9-to-5 type of job, and that is one of the things we love about it. You can schedule your own working hours.
  • Rewarding: One of the most rewarding things about being a dance instructor is that you get to take part in a circle of knowledge. You learned from your teacher, and you are passing that knowledge along to your student who may, one day, become a dance teacher too. There’s something about passing on skill and art in this way that is very rewarding.
  • Money: A dance instructor makes up to $30 an hour. This rate varies from state to state. You can check how much a dance instructor makes in your state at Zippa.


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