Every dancer has probably looked up to his or her dance teacher and thought, “Maybe I can teach dance one day, too!” There’s a rather ignorant saying that goes, “Those who don’t do, teach.” But that is certainly not true when it comes to teaching dance. Many former and current professional performers teach master classes and at studios and conventions around the world. And, many “master” teachers were truly born with the incredible talent of passing on this art form to future generations of dancers.
Perhaps more than any other subject, sport, or art form, teaching dance requires an instructor to verbalize, demonstrate, adjust, vocalize (with sounds), and modify the material—in this case, movement—to best serve its students. Becoming a dance teacher—whether teaching “bitty ballet” to 3-year-olds, competition jazz to high schoolers, or master classes for professional dancers—is not for the faint of heart. And being an incredibly talented dancer does not necessarily translate to being a strong teacher. Here’s a little checklist to help you decide if you want to be a dance teacher one day:
You take note of your teachers’ corrections and apply them to your own dancing.
You enjoy working with children and teens of all levels.
You feel gratification when you help others reach their goals.
You have a strong technical foundation.
You look up to master dance teachers even more than professional dancers.
You can articulate movement in different ways (metaphorically, anatomically, etc.).
You love going to class and learning a variety of dance styles.
You continue to study human anatomy and physiology.
You are patient—very, very patient.
You have a strong speaking voice and can command a room.
You understand how a simple modification can transform a movement.
You know the importance of a proper warm-up.
You have served as an assistant to your dance teachers.
You believe that art is as important for kids as more academic subjects.
You absolutely love dance and the beautiful impact it can have on a person’s life.
Why do you want to become a dance teacher? Did your dance teacher serve as a mentor to you growing up? Do you love teaching young children how to express themselves through movement? Do you feel fulfilled when one of your students improves? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below.