Always Hiring! Dance Studios around the world are desperate for high quality dance instructors.
It takes a lot of dedication, self-discipline, focus and drive to be a good Dancer and it takes a lot of dedication, self-discipline, focus and drive to be a good Teacher. So if you don’t think being a good Dance Teacher is literally twice as hard, you are in for a reality check!
There are 3 ways to become a dance teacher.
Get hired at a Franchise Studio, an Independent Studio or Freelance. This page is for tips on how to become a ballroom dance teacher or improve as one only, if you want to open up your own studio click Studio Consulting.
What to expect teaching in a franchised ballroom dance studio.
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In a franchised or a chain studio, such as an Arthur Murray’s or Fred Astaire’s, you are not necessarily expected to have any dance training when you apply for the job. These types of studios will prefer to train their teachers from the ground up in their own way as it applies to the business. So they will school you to become a great teacher, a great dancer and also educate you on how to properly sell dance lessons. The studio takes on the responsible for getting you students to teach so they do earn a bigger cut of your lesson earnings.
Just like a Starbucks or Subway, these studios have a corporate office or headquarters that they receive regulated training from to help the continuous grow of their business and for that they will have to pay franchise fees to operate under the brand name. They use their company brand of dance syllabus, or set list of dance patterns, which is usually sanctioned and recognized internationally through governing dance entities.
Salary in a franchised studio is usually higher per certification you have in your dancing. $12 – $20 a lesson is what you might expect to receive per lesson you teach. It takes time to build up a student base but in a healthy franchised studio you will have a continuous supply of new students. So you won’t be making the big bucks your first day but some studios may pay you minimum wage per hour you work until you can hit a minimum number of lessons per week. Regardless don’t expect any insurance benefits.
What to expect when teaching at an independent ballroom dance studio.
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While working at an independent studio, it is possible that they will hire you with little or no dance training or they might ask for someone with prior or related experience. At these types of studios, the small business owner has the sole responsibilities of training you in your dancing, in how to be a teacher, and in how to sell lessons; they do not get any regulated help from anyone so it is important the owner be someone who actively seeks growth and is willing to provide you with the necessary tools to succeed.
They do not have to pay any franchise fees because they are using a name they made up themselves, not one that is already established. This can be good in the way that you will be able to earn more dollars per lessons you teach or bad in the way that if the owner doesn’t understand modern marketing you will not have anyone to teach. If they work off of a dance syllabus, it is their choice and they can choose any of the ones that are available; or not use one at all. This can be an added benefit if you like the idea of making up your own dance patterns or having fewer regulations to follow.
Salary in an Independent studio is usually higher per certification you have in your dancing. $15-$50 a lesson is what you might expect to receive per lesson you teach. It takes time to build up a student base and to achieve a high level of certification. Your paycheck will be determined by the owner’s ability to bring in clients. The owner may pay you minimum wage per hour you work until you can hit a minimum number of lessons per week but regardless don’t expect any insurance benefits.
What to expect as an independent ballroom dance teacher.
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You are now a small business owner! Your knowledge is your product and you are solely responsible for training yourself, finding a location to teach your lessons and getting your own clients. There are companies that help you make this transition by providing nationally sanctioned training materials, syllabi and a list of professional coaches so you can get in person training. We recommend DVIDA! You are considered an independent contractor to studio spaces so you can rent time slots to teach your students, like we do!
Salary as an independent instructor will get you the most per lesson versus the other studios. You can expect $50-$150 per lesson but you yourself will have to absorb all overhead costs from that including paying Uncle Sam. This is a great option for entrepreneurial minded individuals who have prior dance training and the self-discipline and drive to run their own business. If this is you visit out studio consulting page because you are now a mobile dance studio!
So what type of lifestyle would I expect to have as a ballroom dance instructor?
The lifestyle of a dance instructor is not your typical 9-5 schedule. It’s not just a job so you pretty much never clock out. The in studio hours will most likely range somewhere from Noon – about 10PM, Monday to Friday. Most studios are open around these hours because they need to be open when their students are off work, which customarily happens to be in the evenings. Saturdays vary between studios and can be work days or off days. Sundays and Mondays are the most common off days. It is normal for a studio to have special events maybe 3-4 times a year and that may fall on a Saturday or Sunday and you are expected to be there for your students.
Sometimes the studio owner will allow you to practice your dancing during work hours. If they do, you’re lucky. Studying for a dance certification requires a lot of effort, time and practice. Staying late after work, on your own time, will become a normal occurrence if you ever want to be successful in this kind of job.
What would my workplace environment be like?
A dance studio should be a happy place! When you show up to work, you should know what your schedule consists of and have your day preplanned. In the time when you are not teaching, utilize it by learning how to improve your skills in sales, dancing and teaching. Or work on your daily lesson plans, create amalgamations for your student’s education, set your lesson playlists, brainstorm new routines and ways to keep your students engaged. When you are at the studio, THERE IS NEVER a time when you don’t have something you could be doing to improve yourself or your paycheck.
What do I have to wear as a ballroom dance teacher?
Depending on the studio, they may want you to wear a suit, dress, or skirt as a dance uniform to work every day. Most studios will require that you wear professional but danceable attire like dress slacks and a button down collared shirt. You will be also expected to have good hygiene to include: hair, teeth, non-offensive breath and body odor or scents; such as smelling like cigarette smoke.
You will have to buy dance shoes and wear them while you are teaching. A pair of dance shoes can range from about $60 to $250. Eventually, you will also need to buy dance costumes for any dance routines you do. They are not required unless you are planning on competing professionally but they are part of the package your students expect. Dance costumes can range from $150 – $3000 and up are paid for out of your own pocket with the ability to claim it on your taxes. Click for our recommendations on dance costume providers.
Ballroom dance studio politics:
Every workplace has its drama; it can be just like high school. This comes complete with the “who is dating who”, “this teacher said this about this teacher”, “so and so took my lesson from me this week”, etc. All of that can be mostly avoided by a competent owner who trains their staff to be a team that works toward the bigger picture. Personally, you need to have the mindset that will bring a positive attitude to work and not involve your individual life. Leave that at home! Bringing pessimism to a place that is supposed to be positive and nurturing to your students brings down the morale of the entire staff and studio and will cause a negative environment. When you are at work, it’s not about you. It is about your students and what is best for them. Once you do that, the rest will fall in to place.
What is a ballroom dance studio’s teacher contract? How do I know if I should sign one? What does it mean to me as a teacher?
A ballroom dance studio’s teacher contract is a document that will bind you to a set of rules while working for a dance studio and sometimes even after. This document could be professionally drafted by a lawyer or pulled off a Google template; either way you need to know a few things to protect yourself as a teacher.
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“From group classes to private lessons, there is always a feeling of welcome and fun where I have never felt pressured to being someone I’m not, or that I didn’t “know enough” or have the right body type to dance. This is an incredible atmosphere. Instruction covers technique, as well as musicality. If there are more advanced people in a group class, the teacher will change the lesson to accommodate that and vice versa. Good advice on shoes, attire, dancing and life. The students and colleagues are all respected and treated well. Come one, come all! The more the merrier for group classes.” ~Rita-Marie McFadden