I am looking for advice or guidance regarding the process of becoming a dance teacher.
I am a middle aged man who would like to take the IDTA Associate qualification in International Style Ballroom in the UK.
I am an experienced social dancer, who has been dancing on and off for about twenty years, but seriously for the last two. I dance about ten hours a week, made up by two weekly group classes, an hour's private lesson, two hours of private practice with my partner in a hired hall, and I dance socially at least twice (and sometimes more) a week. I have two regular partners, and while I have not been in the amateur medal system long enough to have progressed very far, I am preparing with one of my partners for her IDTA Star 4 Ballroom exam – and I am at least at (and in some respects beyond) her level. As I have only previously taken Bronze & Silver medals (both HC), there seems little point in progressing to Gold now. I have so many levels to dance through (and pay for!) before I could be examined at a level that would represent any real challenge, that I can't see much point.
However, I don't know how I should now go about the process of trying to find a teacher/coach, and a partner to train with. My two existing social dance partners are both significantly older than me, and have no interest beyond social dancing. I feel that I need to find another student, nearer my own age, so that we can train together. It is clear to me that the process of learning to teach is not just about the development of my personal dancing, and (apart from anything else), I am currently gaining no practical experience of dancing as Lady, rather than exclusively as Man, and I feel the need to be equally proficient as both.
My current teachers do not want to take on a student for professional coaching (and in that, unless I misread a gentle put-down, they are not trying to tell ME anything!), so I need to start from scratch with someone new.
I don't really know what would be the best way to go about taking the next step (really, the first step) towards becoming a dance teacher. Should I see whether any of the local dance schools want an (unpaid) assistant to help at lower level classes, and get to know one or two teachers that way? Should I just ask directly whether they would consider taking on a student for coaching, and whether they might be in a position to introduce me to a possible partner to train with, so that we could try out.
Any suggestions/advice/accounts of own experience would be welcome.
Starting from scratch with a new teacher is probably best anyway. Check with any local IDTA dance schools. They will probably have a senior teacher, preferably a Fellow of the society, who is responsible for training for professional exams. They will also be able to arrange for you to join in other teachers sessions to help and gain experience.
You don't need a partner to train with. Most of the training will be on theory and knowledge of the technique manual (Guy Howard's book for the IDTA).
Unless things have changed recently you will not have to dance with a partner as lady, but you will be expected to demonstrate solo as both man and lady. You can expect most of the questioning during the exam to be on the lady's part assuming you give a faultless demonstration as man.
Give some thought to the type of pupil you plan to teach. There is a general assumption that those entering teaching later in life will tend towards adult pupils. If you plan to tear around the country taking a bus-load of children to comps every week you may need extra training.
I have no ambition to teach youngsters, or to be involved in the competitive dance scene, but to teach and promote social dancing, so my expectation is to work with mostly people in middle age or the active retired (it would be nicer to see a wider age range in the social dancing community, but I can't change the way things are...).
I would be interested to read any other comments, particularly from anyone who might have qualified in recent times under the current IDTA Modular examination system.
We are looking for Ballroom Dance teachers to work part/full time in a dance studio in Dutchess County, New York USA. If you are interested or know some one who is, please send us an email back or fax a resume (845) 297-2759.