Dance instructors work for private dance studios, community dance programs, recreational facilities, and elementary and secondary schools. Some work as dance professors at colleges and universities, and others are self-employed, operating their own dance studios or purchasing a dance school franchise (from companies such as the Fred Astaire Dance Studios) or working as a freelance dance instructor for several employers. There are more than 6,000 private dance schools, according to the National Directory of Dance Schools.
Most dance instructors enter their careers after many years of experience as a dancer. A dancer who is well known in his or her community may open a dance studio, work as a freelance instructor at a dance school franchise such as Arthur Murray Dance Studios and Fred Astaire Dance Studios, or begin teaching dance at a high school or college.
Job listings can be found at the Web sites of dance companies and schools, school districts, and local governments. Those who are interested in working at the college level should check out job listings in the Chronicle of Higher Education (https://chroniclevitae.com/job_search/new).
Some people break into this field by working as assistants to experienced dance instructors.
An experienced dance instructor at a dance school can advance to the position of head instructor. Some dance teachers choose to open their own dance schools or dance companies. Some instructors become choreographers. A high school dance teacher might advance to become the head of the art, theatre, or physical education department or, with more education, become principal. The normal pattern of advancement for a college dance teacher is from instructor to assistant professor, to associate professor, to full professor.
Tips for Entry
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Read Dance Education in Practice and the Journal of Dance Education (both are available at http://www.ndeo.org) to learn more about the field.
Attend the National Dance Education Organization’s annual conference to participate in workshops, master classes, and social and networking events.