Each month we take a deeper look at one career pathway in particular. For in-depth profiles of over 600 job profiles, take a look at the Indigo Careers module. This month we take a look at the role of a Dance Teacher*.

Qualifications and courses:

The usual entry route for a dance teacher is to study for a degree, HND or Foundation degree or diploma in a dance-related subject.

If you want to teach dance in a state school you will need to reach Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). This can be achieved by doing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) after your degree or, alternatively, some undergraduate degrees in dance subjects incorporate study for QTS.

Those who wish to become a dance teacher in the private sector can take vocational qualifications available at certain dance and performing arts institutions. The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) offers diplomas, bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees, most of which provide students with RAD Registered Teacher Status (RTS). The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) also has teaching qualifications at both initial and advanced level. These schools are both accredited by the Council for Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre (CDMT), as are some courses taught at colleges and professional schools. The CDMT’s website has a full list of accredited schools.

Once you have qualified, you could apply for the CDMT Recognised Awards scheme, which will help demonstrate a commitment to safe and professional standards of teaching.

As well as having qualifications, you will need to maintain a high standard of personal performance. Many who have forged successful careers as performers opt to go into private dance teaching later on in their career.

Joining One Dance UK will ensure you remain up to date with new training, developments and teaching resources.

What the work involves:

You will plan dance lessons for pupils that adhere to a syllabus or curriculum set out by a school. In the private sector you will train and prepare pupils for dance exams or teach group sessions in health and fitness clubs.

You will help your pupils to develop their fitness and agility, ensuring that they do so safely without causing injury to themselves or others.

You will choreograph dance routines, as well as choosing music and costumes.

Type of person suited to this work:

You need to have a high level of fitness and possess good rhythm and balance. You should be able to demonstrate complicated dance moves and positions to your pupils.

You should also be very enthusiastic about music and the performing arts in general.

As a teacher of any subject it is imperative that your communication skills are impeccable, but for dance teachers this is especially important because you need to ensure that everyone in your class is dancing safely.

Creativity and self-discipline are very important traits to possess.

Business and IT skills are also useful if you are self-employed.


Working Conditions:

If you are employed in the state school sector you will be working during the school day but it is likely that you will also run classes after school in the early evening. This is certainly true of the private sector.

If you are a freelance teacher you can expect to travel as you will work at a variety of different venues; from schools and colleges to theatres and community centres.

Future prospects:

As a dance teacher you can progress to becoming self-employed and even to running your own dance school.

There are also other performing arts sectors you could branch into such as choreography.

For experienced dance teachers there is the possibility to move into community work as a dance therapist with further training.


The job is very active so you will stay fit and healthy.

Your work will often be fun as it is a very creative and expressive art form.

You may injure yourself from constantly dancing and this could jeopardise how much you can work.

Preparing for a big performance can be stressful, especially if you are working with children, who can be unpredictable!

Money guide

Earnings vary according to what sector you work in and location.

Newly qualified teachers in state schools start on a salary of around £22,467, or £28,098 in London.

As state teachers gain experience and increased responsibilities, they can earn up to £33,160, or £38,241 if they are working in London.

Earnings for dance teachers in the private sector depend upon the size, type and reputation of the dance school.

Self-employed dance teachers charge an hourly rate which can range from £12 to £50. These fees have to cover the cost of hiring a venue.

Further information

Visit the Council for Dance Education and Training, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, One Dance UK and the Royal Academy of Dance for further information. 


*Information in this profile taken from Careers, from Trotman Publishing – part of the Indigo family.