Dance School Owners and Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

The knowledge you obtain by taking business, accounting, mathematics, computer science, and marketing classes will come in handy as you run your business. Dance school owners and managers often still work as instructors, so be sure to take physical education, theatre, art, and dance classes to improve your fitness and develop your artistic abilities. Speech and English classes will help you to develop your communication skills, which you’ll need to interact with customers, manage staff, and prepare marketing materials.

Postsecondary Education

Dance school owners and managers do not need a college degree, but some have degrees in dance education or business management. About 240 colleges and universities offer programs leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in dance, generally through the departments of physical education, theater, music, or fine arts. For a list of more than 80 accredited dance programs, visit the National Association of Schools of Dance’s Web site, https://nasd.arts-accredit.org/directory-lists/accredited-institutions. Degrees in business management are offered by nearly every college and university.


Certificate programs in business management, accounting, customer service, and related areas are available at many colleges and universities. They may be useful to aspiring dance school owners and managers. 

The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) offers a certificate in dance education to those who complete 33 continuing education credits through its Online Professional Development Institute.

Some colleges, dance schools, and dance studios offer dance certificate programs. A few colleges—such as MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California—offer certificates in dance instruction. In MiraCosta’s program, students learn the basics of dance techniques, alignment and movement principles, elements of choreography, dance pedagogy techniques, and marketing and business operation skills. Contact schools in your area to learn about available programs.   

Other Education or Training

Many dance education associations provide continuing education (CE) opportunities. For example, the NDEO offers online classes such as:

  • Creative Dance in Early Childhood
  • Introduction to Dance Education K-12: Theories and Practices
  • Foundations of Dance Pedagogy
  • Teaching Dance to Students with Disabilities
  • Dance Pedagogy: Learning Styles and Theories
  • Elements of Dance
  • Developmental Domains in Dance
  • Introduction to Creative Dance for Early Childhood
  • Ballet Theory and Composition

The National Retail Federation offers classes and other professional development opportunities. Topics include customer service, management issues, and marketing. The International Franchise Association provides continuing education classes, workshops, and webinars such as Marketplace Fundamentals and Cash Flow: How to Prevent Your Cash Flow From Going South. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides online classes in starting, funding, and managing a business at its online Small Business Learning Center (https://www.sba.gov/learning-center). It also offers in-person workshops and seminars at locations throughout the United States. Dance/USA and the National Dance Teachers of America also provide CE opportunities.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The National Retail Federation Foundation offers several voluntary certification credentials that will be of interest to managers and owners, including the retail industry fundamentals certification, customer service and sales certification, and advanced customer service and sales certification. Contact the foundation for more information.

Since many dance school owners and managers also teach dance classes, earning dance-related certifications will be a good way to show potential customers that you’ve met the highest standards that have been established by your industry. Certification programs are available through the following sub-organizations of the National Dance Council: Arthur Murray International, Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Dance Vision International Dancers Association, Fred Astaire Dance of North America, National Dance Teachers of America, North American Dance Teachers Association, Pan American Teachers of Dancing, U.S. Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and U.S. Terpsichore Association.

Dance studio owners typically need business licenses, which are issued by local and state governments. Contact your city and/or state's department of business regulation for more information on licensing.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Dance school owners typically have extensive experience in managerial positions at dance studios or in other business settings. Managers usually have several years of experience as assistant managers at dance studios or in other managerial positions.

Owning a business is extremely demanding, and dance school owners require a variety of personal and professional skills to be successful. First, they need excellent customer service skills to interact effectively with clients, who may have concerns about everything from class schedules, to the teaching style of instructors, to the owner’s evaluation of their skill level. Since their business will grow or decline based on word of mouth and repeat customers, it’s important that owners and managers address customer concerns in a friendly, patient, and competent manner. Dance school owners also need strong business and marketing skills, an outgoing and energetic personality, a deep love of dancing and teaching, and excellent time-management and organizational skills. Owners and managers who teach classes must be in good physical shape, and be willing to learn about new dance steps and techniques throughout their careers. Finally, owners and managers must have the ability to use dance studio management software, which provides assistance with bookkeeping, scheduling, payroll, and advertising mailing lists.