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How do I Become a Ballet Teacher?

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  • Written By: Simone Lawson
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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To become a ballet teacher you should generally have had some formal ballet training as well as some experience as a dancer. Additionally, since ballet is taught in a number of venues, such as private dance studios or secondary schools, one should also consider the place they want to teach ballet before beginning their path of becoming a ballet teacher — different venues may have different requirements. Considering the styles of ballet — classical, contemporary, neoclassical — as well as different techniques — French, Italian, and Russian — of ballet you want to teach is also important, though typically ballet teachers are knowledgeable in all or most styles and techniques. Finally, you should consider the age group and level of difficulty you want to teach before embarking down this career path or hobby.

Experience and training is perhaps the most obvious and an essential prerequisite to becoming a ballet teacher. Most teachers have spent at least ten years as ballet dancers, training and performing on a regular basis. The area of performance dance is short-lived and most dancers retire by the time they reach their late 30s. These young, retired dancers often seek to train upcoming dancers to prepare them for the competitive world of ballet dancing.

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To help your success as a ballet dancer, accreditation is generally helpful. In the US, the National Associations of Schools of Dance is an accreditation association for collegiate level of ballet teaching. Many colleges and universities offer accredited degree programs in dance or the performing arts. This educational training usually consists of courses in dance history, movement analysis and the use of music in performance arts.

A degree is typically not a requirement to become a ballet teacher, but it could help improve your options of securing a teaching position. If you're looking to teach ballet in a secondary school, you may need additional, local certifications in addition to a Bachelor’s degree. Those hiring choreographers and private instructors generally seek out ballet teachers that have received training from competitive schools.

As is the case with many careers, making the proper connections may also help with success in the field. Many dancers meet performance producers or teachers during their dancing careers. In addition, building a relationship with a mentor or teacher may later prove to be beneficial to those dancers seeking to become a ballet teacher.

Building clientele can also prove fruitful. Many instructors work for years to build a reputation as a talented, and effective dance instructor. Ballet teachers just starting out may have to offer their services at discounted rates until they acquire more experience, trust, attention and clientele.

If you're looking to work for a performance company as a choreographer, you may need to work on several community projects for little or no charge. Hiring in these fields is extremely competitive and is generally determined by the strength of a teacher's portfolio and the range of his or her experience. Most ballet instructors begin by acquiring part-time work and gradually building up to full-time employment.

Ballet teachers should not only be talented and experienced dancers, but they should also posses the ability to easily relay this information and technique to many other students. That is, good teaching skills is certainly critical in order to become a ballet instructor. Instructors should also be able to work well with groups and be comfortable in authoritative roles. Ballet teachers will need to also continue some level of training themselves in order to be able to properly demonstrate and teach complex movements.

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