Becoming a dance teacher and teaching dance classes independently is a very rewarding thing, but how do you get started? This article is going to break down everything you need to get started teaching independent dance lessons in your community.
Why Teaching Dance Independently is so Different
While it’s true that you’ll be teaching dance in both scenarios, teaching in a studio and teaching independently are very different.
When you decide to teach dance independently you’re taking on a much higher level of responsibility than working at a dance studio. Many times, a dance studio will take care of things like student registration and scheduling. When you run a class on your own then these responsibilities and many more will fall to you.
A dance studio sells its overall brand, not just individual teachers. When you’re an independent teacher, all you have to sell is yourself and your experience. Your students are only coming to class because they believe in you. When you work for a dance studio, you at least have some reputation to fall back on when your own is not sufficient.
What You Need to Become an Independent Dance Teacher
There are several things that you will need to figure out before you can become a fully independent dance teacher. Below we have listed some of the most important elements that you need to have in place to begin teaching dance independently.
While you don’t need to have a performing arts degree to teach a dance class, the more formal education you have the easier it will be to sell your services. Having a degree or certificate builds confidence and allows you to gain the respect of your peers.
Being a good dancer makes teaching dance much easier. It’s possible to teach dance without actually having great skills yourself, but being able to demonstrate how things are done is very helpful during class. Most dance teachers will have had experience as a professional dancer in the past, so inspiring students to do the same becomes second nature.
Preparing for a dance class and keeping one going are time-consuming tasks to say the least. It’s definitely possible to treat dance instruction as a part-time job, but don’t think for a second that it’ll be easy. You obviously have to hold your classes at a time that will line up with your students. You’re going to find that later in both the day and week will work best for most people. Many more people will want to come to a class on Friday at 7 pm than one at 8 am on Monday.
By far, the number one factor that will determine if you’re going to be a good dance teacher or not is attitude. As the teacher of a class, it’s your responsibility to keep morale high and your students focused on the task at hand. Bringing a positive attitude with you into class can make a huge impact on how much your students are progressing.
Much like having a good attitude, a good dance teacher needs to have a considerable amount of energy to run a productive class. The teacher is the center of the class’s energy, if the class can stay high energy then some serious work can get done. If appropriate, music can be a great tool you can use to direct the energy of a room.
Finding space to teach a dance class
The classic dilemma of teaching a dance class is “where do you teach it’? This question becomes even more important when you’re independent because you’re the only person who can answer it.
Look at your community first:
There are many places that have space available to rent or borrow right in your community. Places like the YMCA, American Legion, local churches, or community centers are all great places to start looking.
Private yoga studios are also a possibility. The best part about borrowing time at a yoga studio is the fact that they are already set up for any kind of dance class that you might want to hold. Many of them will come fully equipped with ballet bars and full-length mirrors, which can be a big help.
A short-term rental might be right for you:
If you’re having trouble finding the right kind of space from one of the options that we mentioned above, then simply renting a dance space by the hour might be a good idea. Having complete control of where and when you rent a dance studio space can be a game changer for many intrepid teachers.
Getting started teaching dance independently is a relatively simple yet demanding job. If you plan on making any money being a dance instructor, then you’re going to spend some time on the basics.
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