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How to Become a Ballet Instructor

Learn how to become a ballet instructor. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career in ballet instruction. View article »

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94% college-bound high school students
…said it was important to communicate with colleges during the search process. (Source: Noel-Levitz 2012 trend study)
  • 0:01 Should I Become a…
  • 0:26 Career Requirements
  • 1:03 Step 1: Study Dance
  • 1:54 Step 2: Complete a…
  • 2:36 Step 3: Seek an…

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Ballet Instructor?

Ballet instructors teach techniques and methods of dance to various levels and ages. To be a knowledgeable instructor, it is important to study the various techniques that make up the art. Instructors may be self employed and teach only a few classes part-time, or they may maintain a weekly schedule of classes. Teaching dance can be a good transitional career for retired professional dancers.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Recreational programs may only require a background in dance; academic institutions may require a degree
Degree Fields Dance or ballet
Experience Experience or background in ballet or dance typically required by employers
Key Skills Instructional and organizational skills, as well as patience and creativity
Salary (2015)* $20.63 per hour (Average wage for dance teachers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), American Ballet Theatre, www.payscale.com.

Step 1: Study Dance

Employers typically look for applicants with some background or professional training in dance or ballet. This can include completing individual dance classes or a full degree program, such as an Associate of Arts in Theatre Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet degree. Although not typically required for recreational programs, students may consider a degree program in performance or dance education if they're interested in teaching at an academic institution. While being a trained dancer is essential in order to teach ballet, networking with choreographers and professors is also helpful.

Some may also choose to seek extracurricular experience. Completing a summer apprenticeship, internship, or entry-level position during or after college helps students learn related skills, such as choreographing and class instruction.

Step 2: Complete a Teaching Certification Program

Some programs offer teacher training courses that show students how to properly train others in using correct form and other ballet techniques. These programs typically have beginner, advanced, and pre-professional levels of training. Teacher training programs teach students instructional methods in everything from primary ballet to pointe and partner work. Students in these programs receive a teaching certification after passing all of the necessary training courses and comprehensive exams. For those who want to provide ballet instruction in a school environment where a degree is required, earning certification may enhance job prospects as well as future advancement.

Step 3: Seek an Instructor Position

Aspiring ballet instructors may find positions within a school or college or at private studios. Candidates may need to begin with a part-time position and then transition to full-time opportunities once experience is gained.

While working as a ballet instructor, it is important to continue performing. Taking classes and experiencing other choreography and teaching practices can foster creativity and personal enjoyment. New dance techniques can be learned and passed on to students as well.

Ballet instructors typically need a background in ballet as well as a degree in dance or ballet. They must complete teacher training programs in order to prepare them to be a dance instructor at a school, college, or private studio.

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