Ballroom Dance Instructors – Here’s the Lowdown

Ballroom dancers, you’ve gotta love ’em.  When the urge to dance strikes, nothing can get in their way.  This is why the super-enthusiastic and resourceful people who decide to become ballroom dance instructors are so special. The dedication to their students and their craft is amazing.  Ballroom dance instructors are loyal, hard-working people who just want to share their love of ballroom dancing with the world.

Making a living teaching ballroom dancing is a challenging journey.  Here are 3 things that you’ll need to do. 

1.  Find a dance home and receive training.

You don’t have to be a dancer to learn how to teach ballroom dancing.  Strange?  Not really.  After all, you’re at a ballroom dance studio and, that’s what they do.  They teach people to dance.  What’s more important is your personality and attitude.  For this reason, ballroom dance instructors have to love people and are skilled in making them feel comfortable.

Many ballroom dance studios, both franchise and independent, will offer teacher training to the right individuals at no cost.   Furthermore, if you’re a student already learning to dance, you may be able to interview to join your studio’s training class.

2.  Find people to teach.

This is, of course, an issue for beginning teachers.  They have to develop a following.  It’s similar to hairdressers who’ve just received their license.  They’re trained, qualified, and ready to work, but, they have to cultivate a clientele.  In fact, the same is true for new ballroom dance instructors.

And, it takes time.  This is where dedication kicks in.   When you’re a ballroom dance teacher you’ve gotta do what you can to make it until you’re able to teach enough lessons every week.  I myself remember being paid to clean the chandeliers at the studio where I trained on 5th Avenue in New York City.  I wanted to be a part of the dance world and would do whatever it took to make it.

In order to make it, a ballroom dance instructor must learn the following:

  • How to ballroom dance.  This means the instructor needs to know how to lead or follow any partner.
  • He or she must be able to teach.  In other words, be skilled in both leading and following.
  • And, importantly, an instructor must be able to sell ballroom dance lessons or face being left with no one to teach. See this post for information about ‘consultative’ selling.

3.  Decide on your specialty.

You’ve completed your training and finally, you’re officially a ballroom dance teacher, teaching lots of lessons and making money.  Read, “A Great Ballroom Dance Teacher is a Gem!” to find out how to be successful.  At a certain point, many ballroom dance instructors begin to enjoy a particular type of lesson more than others.

For example, maybe you love working with beginners.  These are the students who are just starting ballroom dancing.  Because studios need new customers in order to grow, being able to turn new dancers into committed students is one of the most important jobs at a ballroom dance studio.

Maybe you’re more the type to work with competitive students.  They really enjoy participating in ballroom dance competitions and dancing in studio recitals, which are called showcases.  Ballroom dance instructors know that competing will help their students to become better dancers and they themselves will improve.  Not to mention, a pro-am instructor will make good money.

female ballroom dance instructors love competitive male students

You might find yourself becoming a mentor to other teachers.  They’ll be comfortable coming to you for advice on dancing, teaching, lesson plans, and student program presentations.  In this case, becoming a supervisor or studio manager may be just the thing for you.  You’ll take part in training not just your own students, but the students of your teachers, as well.

Luckily, earning your living as a ballroom dance instructor can be just the start of a life-long career in this business.  Some other options are:

  • Dance Director
  • Traveling Coach
  • Adjudicator
  • Competition Organizer
  • Studio Owner
  • Regional Franchise Owner
  • Costume Designer
  • Vendor of Shoes & Costumes
  • …and so much more!

You could write ballroom dance manuals and do instructional videos.  Or you could be a photographer or videographer at competitions and performances.  The list goes on and on.

Give it some thought.  Hopefully, this post will encourage some to give it a try.  It’s also meant to shine a light on the incredibly talented, committed, and clever individuals who teach us to dance.


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