Choosing the Right Dance Teacher
Often a parent looks for a dance class for their child on a day they can attend, it is close to where they live and maybe their child has a friend that attends the class. I have even heard of a class being chosen on account of the colour of their uniform!
Little thought is given to the one most important factor that a parent should be checking. Is the dance teacher, qualified to teach? Alarmingly a huge amount of physical damage can be done by an unqualified dance teacher, damage that can have a long lasting effect on a child's feet, knees and back, that may not become apparent until much later in life. Sadly anyone can teach dance without any qualifications to do so.
As a parent you need to check out the teacher you are going to send your child to has a recognised teaching qualification from a reputable Dance Society. Whether they wish to learn Street Dance or Ballet or anything in between the teacher should have a qualification to teach dance.
The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) & the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) are considered the gold standard in Dance teaching qualifications. Their teachers will have trained as a dancer from a young age and then studied for their teaching qualification. Which most importantly will include anatomy in relation to the dancer. A RAD teacher is required to complete 20 hours of Continued Professional Development every year to ensure their qualifications are kept up to date.
A degree in dance is not a teaching qualification.
A registered teacher does not indicate they have a teaching qualification.
Being a member of a dance society is not a teaching qualification.
Training as a dancer alone does not give you a teaching qualification.
A good dance school will follow a syllabus where the student progresses from one level to the next. In Ballet this will mean that a 4 year old child will not be in the same class as a 7 year old. In slightly more relaxed styles there would be a wider age range in one class.
Watch out for Franchise groups! This may mean that a short training program (in some cases 2 weeks, sometimes over Zoom!) has been completed by someone with no dance background but has bought the Franchise. Generally they concentrate on the younger age group, where money can be made. Check the school you choose, holding lessons at Advanced levels can be a good sign, Although a new school might not have this age group yet.
A school that has qualified teachers will not be the cheapest dance classes in the area, this is because they have to pay their professional membership fees, partake in continued professional development and are expected to work within certain guidelines regarding minimum studio space and class sizes. Quite often this means your qualified teacher does not own their own premises as they must have a large hall to meet the requirements of their more advanced students.
Your child may join dance for fun but you don’t want to regret not looking into the teacher further down the line.