What does a Dance Teacher do?

Dance classes for groups or individuals are led a dance teacher and are designed to teach participants various dancing techniques. Many professional dancers retire in their late 20s or early 30s due to the physically demanding nature of the profession, but they can put their skills to good use as dance teachers. Full-time dance teachers are frequently hired schools, universities, and production companies, but many dance teachers are self-employed.

Most dancers begin taking classes at a young age and learn a variety of different dance styles over the course of many years. Dance degree programs are available at performing arts schools and some colleges. Some employers prefer to hire dance teachers who have a dance degree, but anyone with a strong background in dance can work as a dance teacher regardless of their educational background.

Because dance classes are frequently physically demanding, a typical dance teacher should have a basic understanding of fitness training to guide class participants through warm-up exercises. Some dance teachers work primarily with children, in which case a background in education or childcare is frequently beneficial. Adult classes can draw people of all ages, so a dance instructor must be able to adapt the program to accommodate both experienced dancers and people with limited mobility. Teachers who work for schools and colleges are either contracted or salaried employees who are paid regardless of class attendance levels, whereas self-employed teachers usually charge a per participant fee.

Many dance teachers specialize in a specific style of dancing, such as ballet, tap, or ballroom. Teachers frequently have to demonstrate dances before the class in order to effectively teach students new dances and moves. Younger, more agile people are more likely to teach classes that involve more physically demanding types of dance, whereas older teachers are more likely to focus on slower, less physical dance styles. Self-employed dance teachers who work one-on-one with clients are expected to have a broad understanding of dance techniques in order to adequately prepare students for auditions for dance roles requiring a variety of skills.

Choreographers are dance instructors who create new dance routines and prepare dancers to perform in recitals and stage shows. Stage directors collaborate closely with choreographers to create dance moves that are appropriate for the themes of a particular play or musical. Several dance teachers work for major ballet companies, some of whom train individual dancers while others choreograph and assist in the coordination of dance performances.