How do I become a dance teacher?
Teaching dance is a highly specialized subject, so it is essential to undergo proper training and gain appropriate professional qualifications through one of the recognized examining dance teacher organizations. These examining bodies offer professional qualifications in a variety of dance styles including Ballroom, Latin American, Disco/Freestyle/Rock'n'Roll, Sequence, and Country and Western, as well as alternative rhythms embracing dances such as Argentine Tango, Salsa, Merengue, Bacchata and Mambo. For some examples of professional associations, see our links page.
Each organization offers examinations at all, or some of, the following levels: Student / Pre-Associate, Certificate, Associate, Member / Licentiate, Fellowship, Examiner / Adjudicator.
Student / Pre-Associate Certificate or Provisional Member
This is the first examination available with some examining bodies and is taken by a student who is training to become a teacher of dancing. It is NOT a qualification to teach dancing but allows prospective teachers to join a teachers' organization and have access to the lectures and courses run by that organization. Holders of a this Certificate would normally work under the supervision of a qualified teacher if they were permitted to give instruction in a dance school, usually for a period of 6 months before being allowed to take their Associate examination.
This is the first teaching qualification. Teachers who have qualified to this level will still be expected to work under supervision and continue their studies. They will not usually be able to progress to the next level until they have held an Associate level for a full year.
Member or Licentiate
For continued professional development Associates may progress to the Member, or Licentiate, level examination. This examination can only be taken after a further period of study, this being determined by the examination board of the teacher organization concerned. It must be of sufficient duration to enable the qualifying teacher to have gained the necessary experience and wider knowledge required for the new level, and is often 1 or 2 years.
A further period of study and teaching experience is necessary before teachers can attempt to qualify at Fellowship level, usually 1 or 2 years. The training for this examination is more intensive and Fellowship holders are expected to be capable of training other teachers. They may also progress to being appointed an examiner or adjudicator within their teacher organization.
The examination will generally consist of two parts. The candidate first has to demonstrate his or her ability to dance the syllabus figures to music to the required professional standard (with a suitable partner unless the dance concerned is for solo dancing e.g. Freestyle). The second part of the examination is an oral examination during which the candidate will be asked detailed questions on various aspects of the syllabus figures, and will be expected to demonstrate the figures solo, both as man and lady.