General Dance Discussion > Dance Instructor Training Offering

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by TripDubSki, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    Hi guys,

    I'm new to the forums as well as the world of dance. I did have a question for anyone that may have been through a similar experience as me, and I would like some insight. I've only had 2 private lessons, and 3 group lessons, but it was enough for me to understand that I really enjoy dancing! I have so much fun with it and I love meeting new people.

    However, due to some issues with my piece of garbage car, I could no longer afford the lessons as the money I had set aside for them are now going into payments for a new car. This was a bit upsetting, but life goes on. I brought this up to the studio director during my last lesson, and he offered to pay for training as a dance instructor.

    This caught me as a surprise seeing how I have little to zero dance experience. He told me that he loved my enthusiasm and could envision me as a potential dance instructor. What I want to know is:

    How common is this?
    Has anyone had this offer come up to them, and did they follow through? (How was it)??

    This one goes out to current instructors:
    How do you steel your mind against romantic notions towards your students?
    How do you handle moving from studio to studio, leaving behind your coworkers and former instructors?

    This all seems very mentally taxing. I feel like the most difficult part about being an instructor is the mental battle. Having the ability to not get attached to anyone you're instructing seems key in this field. I would really like some opinions, insights, anecdotes, and whatever else you may want to add before I take up this offer.

    On a side note, I currently have a full-time job in a field that I went to college for. I enjoy my work, but I could easily envision myself going down this career path simply because I could have so much fun with it. It pays less, but money would not be my main goal for joining. It would be out of pure passion.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    You posted in the general dance discussion area. Is this a ballroom studio, or some other type of dance studio??

    I'll let teachers answer most of your questions (I'm just a dance student). But here are a few things to consider:

    Yes, in ballroom at least it is common for some studios to hire brand new dancers as trainees for teaching. In the beginning (and some might say throughout, YMMV), your sales ability will matter more than your dance or teaching ability. If you stick with it, both will develop.

    If you are serious about it, be prepared to put in a lot of time for relatively low pay. But it's certainly a much cheaper way to learn to dance than paying for lessons. So if you think you might like teaching, and you can get a handle on the other issues you raise, consider it.

    Also, if you are serious about it, you might want to check out various studios in your area before tying yourself down to any. Talk to the other teachers from various studios if you can, or talk to other dance students from various studios, or try group lessons at a few places or something before you commit. There may be some studios that would be a better fit for you than others. There can be quite a difference in experience levels in the teachers that will train you ... hopefully you will be learning from someone who is an excellent dancer, experienced at training other teachers, and has the time and energy to help you. Don't assume this to be the case simply because they make an offer.

    Get detailed information from the studio about what they expect from you - hours, pay, dress code, non-compete or non-fraternization agreements, and anything else you can think of.

    And don't quit your day job until you are sure you like teaching and can make a living off of it. There are a lot more dance teachers out there than there are dance teachers making a real living out of it. Many do it as a second job. Lots of nights and weekends, works great for some people, not for others.

    Good luck and keep ups posted!
  3. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    Thanks for the timely response!

    I suppose it's ballroom studio. They teach many of the typical ballroom dances but other things as well, such as swing and salsa. I wasn't entirely sure what category to lump it in, so that's why I posted it in General.

    I discussed a lot of the details with the studio manager, and he explained that it would take around 2 years to be a "successful dance teacher," as in, two years to actually make OK pay. I told him that I'd most definitely stick with my full time job, and that this would be a part time gig unless I ended up liking it enough to actually switch careers. He explained that the biggest investment would be my wardrobe, and my time commitment. I could see myself working full time, and still being able to get in enough hours per week for the lessons.

    I was really wondering if this was a special opportunity presented in my life, and I felt the urge to not let it escape me. But if it is common practice as you say, I might be a little hesitant. He asked me not to mention the offer to any of the other dance students which tells me that:

    a. He offered them the same deal
    b. I just happened to be a significant case, and a much likelier fit for the studio.

    I have a feeling it is the former, rather than the latter. I'm meeting with him later this week to discuss some of these questions I now have after doing further research. I really would like to learn how to dance proficiently, but money constraints are an issue. It's definitely a crossroad in my life, and I'm not entirely sure whether to go right or left. Hopefully some dance instructors who have entered the professional dance scene can give me some advice/insight.
  4. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    He probably does not want you to mention it to other students so that they do not find out that totally untrained people with zero dance experience are being hired as teachers in their studio. And, when you begin teaching, that you will be teaching with next to zero experience to students who are spending their money thinking that they are getting expert instruction.
  5. MaggieMoves

    MaggieMoves Well-Known Member

    Throwing ethics aside for a minute as I have some first hand knowledge of this and was given a similar offer myself shortly after I finished undergrad...

    Well you can take the training to see if you like it. This sounds like a chain to me though... and I know someone who went through the same program as you are preparing to go through.

    Training lasts a few months (about 3-6) and is unpaid - so you'll have to keep your full time job. But you'll more than likely have to be there 4 days a week or more after work and/or on weekends. After that you'll be certified to teach total beginners and not really much else. It takes about 2 years to be "fully certified" to teach bronze & silver level students. How fast you go once you get past the training program depends entirely on how many outside lessons you're willing to take for someone to teach you the correct way.

    If you love to dance and can't afford it, I'd do the training. If you end up not liking it you can get thousands of dollars of teaching for just lost opportunity cost on your part. Just be sure to read whatever the terms of the contract are, if any, before you start. There could be reimbursement clauses for bailing out directly upon the training completion.
  6. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    I would say take a week and go to the studio every night and shadow a teacher for every lesson.

    Don't space out, make sure to pay attention and process every single word the teacher says. Never think about anything but the student that is having the lesson. Do not let your mind wander. Because as a teacher you are going to need total focus... on the student. Don't skimp on the dancing. Be sure to match the teacher step for step, with your feet and your arms...with your energy... all of it.

    If If you end up still wanting to teach once you realize none of it is about you... then take the training class.
    FancyFeet, debmc, Mr 4 styles and 5 others like this.
  7. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Are you male, or female ?. It's relevant to my response .
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Counter question: For how many years will you agree and commit to stay at the studio? You like to dance, so will you be allowed to dance at other studios, social events? Would it be possible to change the dance style? Are you allowed to take privates with visiting teachers, or abroad? Will they offer possibilities for your development, or will they simply benefit from your charisma?
    Simply try out ;)
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2017
  9. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    The studio director mentioned that. He specifically asked me to stick around for a few years to help further the school itself after completion of my training. And I totally understand why. I don't think it would be fair to use the lessons and then dip out immediately after. I'll make sure to read the terms of contract if there are any.
  10. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    I think this might be better done at another studio. The other students might find it odd that I'm shadowing their lessons. I'll do some research and calling around after work today to see what other studios I can find in my area.
  11. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

  12. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    The director mentioned that he would like for me to stay for a few years upon completion of my training, which I had intentions of staying in my area for a few years while I work through some student loans, anyways. It is a chain, and I asked him if I could move to a different studio across the country to teach, and he said that would be fine. You raise several good questions that I now have in mind to ask him when I meet with him at the end of this week.
  13. Loki

    Loki Well-Known Member

    3 things:

    Read the contract
    Read the contract
    Read the contract

    And get everything else missing in writing. If they refuse, stay at your own peril.
    s2k, IndyLady and raindance like this.
  14. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Your chances for getting "booked " is generally more advantageous .And, it is never easy implementing male staff .

    Things to consider.. earning power; depends upon hourly rate and or guarantee.

    Full time, opens up a new life style , as in times one gets booked ( evenings are a must, Fl not so much ) and, even W/ends .

    Here is a must ; IF you decide upon this as a career, then study for a Prof. exam with a recognised soc.
  15. Partner Dancer

    Partner Dancer Well-Known Member

    I'd be surprised any studio would allow a third party, especially a stranger, to audit someone's on-going lesson. Both the instructor and student would likely reject the idea of someone getting a freebie, for both the nuisance and theft factors. As a matter of decorum, it's usually frowned upon to have loitering students observing regular/coaching lessons from the side of the room, since this constitutes theft of intellectual property.

    As for the change of career, I'd think the major concerns would be opportunity cost and future potential. You didn't mention what your college-trained career was but did mention that it had higher earning potential, both immediately and likely in the future. You mentioned that you had student loans to pay and are strapped for cash. Yet, you'd consider switching course for a potential career that is more "fun" but likely more financially shaky in the long run. Weigh your options carefully. Can you easily go back to your original career if the dancing thing doesn't work out? Or perhaps you really just want to teach dance for a few years, as a side career.

    Of course, you have to consider your abilities against the dance-instructors out there. Do you have the personality/tenacity/traits to be a good dancer, a good instructor, and a good business person? Do you think you can be as good as instructors that have a decade or more of dancing/teaching over you? Would you be able to work the inevitable dance politics? Instructors are a dime a dozen, because the barrier to entry is pretty low, and a lot quit for financial reasons. It's a highly competitive business.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
    Loki likes this.
  16. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    Like I said earlier, this would be a side gig. I don't have any intentions of leaving my field anytime soon. It's essentially a big IF to decide whether or not I'd switch careers. If I become truly passionate about, if I have what it takes to be a professional dance/business man/instructor, etc.

    I'd like to try it out and see where it goes. My main concern is what is detailed in the contract, and exactly how binding it would be. If there's plenty of wiggle room that won't leave me tied up to this one studio, I'll go for it.
  17. TripDubSki

    TripDubSki New Member

    Any idea what I should be asking for that would be "missing in writing?"

    I have a few things in mind, but you may suggest something key that I would easily look over.
  18. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    Are you ready to make a multi year commitment to this second job after just a few dance lessons? And switch dancing for fun with dancing as a second job? Sounds like that is the commitment they are asking for.

    You are young (based on your profile, early 20s).. you might want some evenings and weekends free for socializing, dating, or hobbies...

    From the student side, try dancing as a student a while before you commit. Look around for cheaper options that fit your current budget, such as group classes at a studio or community center. Or going to open social dances that start with a group lesson. Entry level social dancing does not have to be expensive, though it certainly can be, particularly at chain studios.

    Look around and see what else is out there before you make a big commitment.
    debmc, s2k and IndyLady like this.
  19. raindance

    raindance Well-Known Member

    I am not necessarily saying they are offering you a bad deal, by the way. Just that I doubt you know enough about dance and the industry yet to know what you are getting into and whether it is a good choice for you.

    So my basic advice is to not rush in. It is very likely that the same opportunity or a similar one will be available to you in a few months, or in a year, or a few years if you are interested at that time. If not at this studio, then at another.
    s2k, kckc and IndyLady like this.
  20. snapdancer

    snapdancer Well-Known Member

    I recommend that you wait awhile, while gathering more information, before making this kind of decision/commitment.

    This studio sounds like one of the contract mills, that have "programs" or "packages" that are very structured and very expensive. There are other types of studios that are more ala-carte in their offerings. One can take just group classes and attend their open socials, optionally taking private lessons as finances allow. Look around at the studios in your area to see what options are available first.
    s2k likes this.

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