Teaching children how to dance is one of the most rewarding jobs within the arts community. While at times challenging, you are making a difference in little lives, one of which may grow up someday to be an extremely successful dancer.
The Joys of Teaching Children How to Dance
Kids love to be led, and they will soak up whatever new knowledge is made available to them. For countless little girls (and boys!) each year in the United States, a familiarity with the arts becomes an important knowledge base. And since kids love to be active, taking a dance class is often a logical step.
If you choose to become a dance teacher, your life will be full of plenty of perks. A flexible, easy schedule, a job that doubles as a daily workout, and the opportunity to be endlessly creative. However, the best gift of all will surely be the joy of actually teaching children. With their fearless personalities and willingness to try anything, you'll find yourself working to keep up with the kids, rather than the other way around! Teaching children gives you the chance to pass on something that is very special to you - your love of dance - and enjoy the opportunity of seeing how it is interpreted through a little body just learning to move like a dancer.
However, teaching children how to dance can also be difficult. Some kids are in dance classes only because their parents dropped them off there, and many families treat extra-curricular activities as a daycare service rather than an enrichment opportunity. Some children will be too shy or too disinterested to fully participate, leaving you with the awkward challenge of coercing a kid into doing something that just doesn't matter to them all that much. Parents can also be a challenge themselves, scrutinizing everything from your prices to your costume and music selection. So be prepared - your job will be wonderful and rewarding, but there will definitely be tough days along the way.
How to Become a Dance Teacher
A lot of dance teachers have their college degree in dance. However, it is not always mandatory. Depending upon the studio in which you are applying for a job, their requirements will vary. Some prefer those with at least a bachelor's degree in the arts, while others will hire a former student who has worked her way up the ranks. If you happen to have some education in child development, this too can boost your resume to the top of the pile when it comes to working with kids in the dance studio.
Creating Your Class
Teaching children how to dance is easy, as long as you are organized. Kids can sense nerves and unpreparedness, so devote some time each week to providing a structured, orderly environment while they are in your care. All dance classes start with warm-ups, and children will also need some across the floor time to review what they have learned the week before. If you're teaching ballet, spend some time introducing them to the barre and the exercises done there, and if you're teaching hip hop, allow them time to freestyle to a catchy song. Each dance genre has different ways to be creative, so don't be afraid to try new things, or observe a dance class in your chosen style to glean ideas from.
When you are a children's dance teacher, recital time is the most important of moments. You are putting on a show that shows parents what they paid for, and also works as an advertisement for your studio to those who may have come along to support a young performer, but have children of their own.
Consult your favorite parents on costuming and theming, so you can always stay in touch with what your clients expect, and pick songs that both parents and children will enjoy. Lastly, make sure each child feels special and proud of their accomplishment on stage - encouragement and praise is always, first and foremost, the most important part of your job.