how to become a dance teacher

If you are extremely passionate about dance, you may eventually make the decision to become a dance teacher. There are many different paths you can follow to do so, which can include:

  • College-level education
  • University-level education
  • Prior professional dance experience

This can include completing college and university-level qualifications, along with further dance education in your preferred genre.

Steps to Becoming a Dance Teacher

Step 1 – What Type of Dance Teacher Do You Want To Be?

Becoming a dance teacher takes different forms depending on where and how you want to teach. For example, to teach in a primary, secondary or special state school in the UK, you need qualified teacher status (QTS), which is received after completing teacher training. 

As a primary school teacher, you may not be able to teach dance as a sole subject, but may be able to teach this as part of wider physical education. In secondary schools, you may be able to teach dance as a single subject, or as part of physical education or wider performing arts. To teach dance at a university, you will need a postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, and perhaps wider performing experience within the industry at an advanced level.

However, if you wish to work as a freelance or private dance instructor or teacher, you do not need to achieve QTS, but will need to complete recognised qualifications in order to teach reputably.

It’s important to understand that where you teach will affect the nature of your teaching, the kinds of students you will have, and the degree to which you can specialise in a particular dance genre.

Your role as a dance teacher is likely to remain fairly similar regardless of where you teach, involving:

  • Leading warm ups
  • Explaining and demonstrating moves and proper technique
  • Choreographing
  • Assessing student performance
  • Submitting student for competitions and examinations

However, this will vary in complexity depending on the level of teaching you are doing, the nature of your students and the specific working environment.

While passing a course at college might put you on the path to becoming a junior teacher at a smaller institution, becoming a professional ballet company teacher will be very different. You must be prepared to work for over 20 years towards gaining connections in the dance world while working for major dance companies to gain the experience needed for the role. 

Step 2 – Understand The Qualifications You Need

In order to teach in a primary, secondary or special school, you will need a university degree in performing arts or dance, plus achieve QTS via teacher training following your degree. 

If you want to teach in a college, you will need a minimum level 3 qualification in dance or the performing arts, but this will vary depending on the seniority of your teaching position. 

As a freelance or private dance teacher, you can teach based on your professional experience in the industry, aided by industry qualifications. This can include ISTDRoyal Academy of DanceIDTA, or others. A full list of validated awarding organisations is provided by CDTA.

Step 3 – Do Your Research

Once you have a clear picture on the kind of dance teacher you want to be and the qualifications needed to get there, it is important to understand the time, cost and resources needed, salary expectations, and when you may be able to start teaching. 

Doing thorough planning and research ahead of embarking on your chosen path will help you make a thorough and informed decision that you will be satisfied with when you reach your goal of becoming a qualified dance teacher.

Teaching Dance From Home – Things to Consider

Over recent years, it has become increasingly necessary for dance teachers to adapt to teaching from home. While it may not be the most convenient, optimising your personal space can keep you educating your students when studios are not available for use. 


If you are considering becoming a dance teacher from home, you will want to make sure that your wifi connection is optimal. Where possible, it is recommended that you purchase your own private wifi to prevent any risk of infiltration from other nearby people or businesses. If your wifi connection is public or kept open, you risk other people viewing the files on your devices, spreading viruses, monitoring the websites you visit or more. Not only will you be risking your own safety, but potentially that of your clients’ as their personal data may be on your laptop, such as their contact information, Skype details or otherwise. 

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