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Career in dance - the best way forward to achieve this


Confusedmum
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Hi,

 

I'm just looking for some advice.

My daughter almost 11 has expressed an interest in becoming a dance teacher. She isn't quite sure what she would like to teach yet but we want to help her in any way possible.

She's been dancing since 6 initially just ballet & tap and now takes classes in modern, acro, contemporary & street (although she doesn't really enjoy street so is thinking of giving this class up).

A couple of the girls she knows at dance have applied and successfully got into various associates and I'm just starting to see how the costs can increase and wonder how much it will cost if this is the career path she really does want.

If in a couple of years she still wants to be a dance teacher do we need to look at her doing different types of training ie associates and is one associate per year enough? Also one of the older girls applied to CATS a couple of years ago, should we consider something like this? Or would additional lessons all year round and one off workshops be better.

Thanks in advance.

 

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  • Jan McNulty changed the title to Career in dance - the best way forward to achieve this

Hello. If she is looking to become a dance teacher, then don't bother with any Associates at all. They will be unnecessary and a waste of money. I should imagine a good number of years of solid classical ballet training, coupled with training in modern dance, tap etc, should more than suffice. Then when she is older, if she still wants to, she can apply to do teacher training. 

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hello and welcome

If your daughter is interested in becoming a dance teacher rather than performing herself, I would echo the advice that associates are probably not necessary. Generally speaking  your DD will need to have taken intermediate exams in dance genres she wishes to train as a teacher in - where applicable - ballet, tap, modern - not all genres offer exams. So based on this, concentrating on getting a good solid grounding is probably most important with extra lessons, workshops, summer schools, associates an optional extra if you can afford it but not essential.

 

I would suggest that you have a look at the websites of Royal Academy of Dance, ISTD, IDTA for their courses in teacher training (dance) and colleges like Preston so you can see what would be studied, entry requirements etc and then work backwards for how to help your DD get to that stage

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Hi, Thanks for the welcome Janet.

Thanks Lisa and 2dancersmum.

I'm not sure what kind of dance teacher she means at the moment but think she means teaching in a studio/own studio rather than in a school.  

She really enjoys contemporary and acro so I think these may be styles that she would definitely want to teach so will look to see if there are any workshops nearby related to these over the summer. I really don't know much about dance, my older girl was a competitive gymnast so could you explain what intermediate exams are? Also if she wanted to teach in a studio/own studio would she need to focus on all styles or say in a couple of years focus more on contemporary, acro and ballet?

Will look at the websites quoted and thank you very much.

I think she was starting to panic because she/we hadn't thought about associates but others at dance of a similar age have been applying to different schemes.

 

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It is true that associate schemes are not necessary if your DD is planning on becoming a dance teacher. However, don’t rule them out completely, as they serve a wider purpose than preparing for a performance career. Associates are a good way of experiencing non-syllabus classes with a different regular teacher, good for networking with dancers from outside your immediate area, and can give a useful link to a prestigious institution, which certainly won’t do any harm on a CV or when attracting parents if she wants to open her own dance school one day. They are expensive, but if that is not a problem then there are lots of advantages to doing them.

 

Intermediate is a vocational exam, which is required for teaching as a registered teacher. It’s often taken at around the same time as grade 6 or so.

 

If she wants to open her own studio, being able to teach more than one style will make this easier, especially in the early days when she may be trying to teach all or most of her lessons herself so she can start to make a living. You don’t need to be able to teach all styles, but if there are big gaps in your offering as a studio you can risk having to share students with (and possibly lose students to) another dance school.

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Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), ISTD and IDTA are all training methods and exam assessors to teach ballet and other dance genres. Grades go from pre-primary, primary , then grades 1,2,3,4 etc. For RAD ballet grades 6-8 are level 3 qualifications (vocational equivalent of A level). Alongside these standard grades are vocational grades inter-foundation (optional) intermediate, advanced foundation (optional), advanced 1, advanced 2, solo seal. Intermediate is the level 3 qualification of these vocational grades and often an entry requirement- certainly for ballet, tap and modern. I'm not sure of the situation for contemporary, acro and street - they seem to be optional extra genres (not sure there are any grades)- certainly contemporary usually needs a solid basis in ballet first. My DD1 is a professional dancer and she only started contemporary properly at 16 so was only assessed as part of her diploma in professional dance

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All good advice; I agree that Associates aren’t essential but I don’t agree that they’d be unnecessary or a waste of money - it all depends how good your daughter’s local classes are.  A good, selective Associates scheme (or CAT scheme) can be really useful in all sorts of ways, not least to supplement local training and for the reasons SissonneDoublee mentions.

 

Another thing to think about is what academic qualifications might be of use; a GCSE or even A Level in Business Studies could be very useful if running her own school is an eventual aim.  

 

The RAD Teaching courses (or ISTD Teaching Courses) are probably what springs to my mind as a good route for a prospective Dance Teacher - the other option being the progression from performing as a professional dancer to the RAD Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma or the Royal Ballet School’s Teaching Diploma (https://royalballetschool.org.uk/train/dancer-training/dance-teacher-training/diploma-of-dance-teaching/).  

 

What will be important, as others have said, is a really strong grounding in ballet; your dd will need RAD/ISTD or equivalent Intermediate exam at a minimum, but to be honest she will have even more options if she can pass Advanced 1 or even Advanced 2.  A pass at Intermediate in Tap and Modern would also incredibly useful if she would like to teach other styles.  Acro is probably the least useful and Contemporary really needs a level of maturity so can be started later.  

 

And welcome from me too. ☺️

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My daughter is 18 and her long term aim is to own her own dance studio. 
She is going to study for a degree in musical theatre in September. She wants to dance professionally for a couple of years and then teach but will go straight into teaching if necessary.  She has done 2 associate schemes over the last few years and has just finished her A level dance and drama along with another unrelated A level. 
 

I would disagree that associates and wider training aren’t beneficial to trainee dance teachers. Although they are not essential they enable the dancer to see a variety of good (and sometimes poor) training as well as seeing lots of different choreography. 
 

She has put a lot of thought into what type of teacher she wants to be and what she wants her dance school to offer. She has picked up lots of ideas by attending associates and summer schools and really enjoyed these. 
 

What I would say though is that there is no pressure to apply for elite schemes. You have the freedom to look at what your daughter will enjoy and which schemes suit her best. There are lots of good quality smaller associate schemes or holiday schemes that you can research and make a decision based on her goals and ambitions. She’s only young so she has plenty of time to decide what she wants to do and explore her options x 

 

(Also edited to add try not to get drawn into the competition between students - who is doing the most hours, doing the best associate schemes, in the highest grade, spending the most money etc! We made this mistake briefly and it really isn’t worth it. Focus on what will be beneficial in helping your daughter meet her own goals rather than what other people are doing) 

Edited by oliviaT
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Thank you for the replies. Lots of things for us to take on board.

SissonneDouble I think I understand what you are saying about associates. Since some of the girls have got into them we have been looking around and noticed they appear to vary quite a bit. One girl is doing one that focuses on ballet, I think they said 1.5 hour session and sessions are once a month and then another genre for 1.5 hours. One of the others is one where they bring different teachers in each month to teach a routine and another is doing a different associate scheme every Sunday.

At the moment associates wouldn't be something we can afford due to her dads business suffering quite a bit these last 12 months but hopefully things will improve to allow us to apply to some next year.

2dancersmum, looking at the syllabuses you quote I've realised our syllabus isn't there. She is at a dance school who follow the UKA exams.

She's only been doing contemporary 6 months. During lockdown a lot of the older girls didn't enjoy zoom classes so the teacher allowed some of the younger one's to join and and continue with it when the studio reopened. 

AnnaC, will definitely look at CATS; DD's already said she wants to take GCSE dance but will recommend business studies as well.

We will also look at the dance timetable to see if we could attend another ballet class. If we couldn't; do students sometimes attend other studios for additional training?

OliviaT what type of associates scheme did your daughter do? Thank you for your last comment; I think this will be a very valuable comment to show DD because I know one girl who she chats to quite a lot told her she really should be doing X,Y,Z by now and I think this is why DD started to panic she will be left behind.

Just doing some thinking; is it better for example to do less styles but spend more hours doing those styles than doing every style you can fit in but less time doing each one?

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Confusedmum said:

Just doing some thinking; is it better for example to do less styles but spend more hours doing those styles than doing every style you can fit in but less time doing each one?

 

 

Absolutely.  With dance training, it’s *always* quality over quantity - especially at 11!  The only time you really need to think about adding in more hours - purely really for stamina and strength - is if you’re planning to audition for 16+ full-time dance training alongside students who have been at a full-time dance school from years 7-11.  But that’s more for those who are aiming for a career as a professional dancer.  For someone like your dd though, her first priority going forward should be good local ballet training (the foundation of almost all dance training; even Musical Theatre), then Modern and Tap.  RAD Ballet classes also give the opportunity to learn Character dance, which forms part of the RAD Graded exams.  I’m not sure if they still do so but when my daughter was an Associate at Central School of Ballet, Character was one of the classes studied, alongside Ballet, Pointework and Contemporary.  

 

If Associates are not affordable at the moment, it’s really not a problem.  You can look again in a year or two (or three) if necessary.  CAT schemes might be more affordable because I think they attract grants - and go up to 18, although I think 16 is the cut off age to apply:  https://www.nationaldancecats.co.uk/what-are-cats/funding/

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1 hour ago, Confusedmum said:

Thank you for your last comment; I think this will be a very valuable comment to show DD because I know one girl who she chats to quite a lot told her she really should be doing X,Y,Z by now and I think this is why DD started to panic she will be left behind.

 

I forgot to say, never EVER listen to competitive Dance Mums™️ and/or their offspring (and at auditions, never take any notice of those doing Competitive Stretching/Warmup routines) - they’re the dance equivalent to Trash Talking before a wrestling match; designed to psych you out and make the other person feel better about herself/himself.  

 

Every dance student has her own path, her own routine, and the only person your dd should compare herself against is her, and her progress.  It’s not a race, there’s no rush - she might change her mind and decide she wants to be an Astronaut!  Even if she doesn’t, she’s 11.  The only thing she *should* be doing right now is enjoying her dancing. 

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She could also take a look at some studios locally and further afield and see where their teachers and company owners came from. Do a bit of research and see who is successful and what their dance training journey was. Also as a consumer, what about the school/teachers would attract or put you off going there.
 

A lot of it will be about marketing and having big school names on there for training, even for an associates scheme does attract some people. Accreditation from a well known place like RAD may be reassuring to some of her future students, or perhaps a bit of performing experience? If she’s serious, a bit of research now could really help. 

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I mentioned RAD, ISTD and IDTA as they are the ones I have experience with but they are not the only ones that offer dance training. I just do not know the levels or grading systems of other organisations. The main thing is the minimum of 'intermediate level' to enter dance teacher training - this is the level which is the vocational equivalent to A levels and thus qualifies for UCS points. I'm sure UKA will have their own grade/assessment system and equivalent teacher training courses to those Anna C highlighted for RAD and ISTD. I think many of us on the forum are just more familiar with organisations like RAD for classical ballet as a lot of posters on her have children aiming for vocational ballet schools and I think UKA covers a much wider range of styles.

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That might be something she needs to consider in the future.  UKA is an accredited dance exam organisation, but it isn't a very common one.  Although her long term goal might be to run her own school it is likely that she will start off teaching for someone else first and RAD & ISTD are the more common boards that I see requested. You can move across boards later on but it is easier if you are familiar with them.

 

However at 11 it's more important to be focused on the quality of teaching and whether she is happy at the school with friends etc.

 

 

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How exciting and quite rare, my DD was very very lucky to receive her initial training from a RAD teacher / examiner who had from a young age wanted to teach and is passionate about teaching. She chose early on in her career to teach all abilities, which she still loves doing, although she occasionally takes classes at a vocational school where children tend to have more natural facility and musicality she prefers the challenge of children ‘ improving ‘ and dancing just for the love of it. 
She is such a role model to so many. 
 

I really hope your daughter keeps this passion and goes on to change the lives of many. 

 

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5 hours ago, Confusedmum said:

Thank you for the replies. Lots of things for us to take on board.

SissonneDouble I think I understand what you are saying about associates. Since some of the girls have got into them we have been looking around and noticed they appear to vary quite a bit. One girl is doing one that focuses on ballet, I think they said 1.5 hour session and sessions are once a month and then another genre for 1.5 hours. One of the others is one where they bring different teachers in each month to teach a routine and another is doing a different associate scheme every Sunday.

At the moment associates wouldn't be something we can afford due to her dads business suffering quite a bit these last 12 months but hopefully things will improve to allow us to apply to some next year.

2dancersmum, looking at the syllabuses you quote I've realised our syllabus isn't there. She is at a dance school who follow the UKA exams.

She's only been doing contemporary 6 months. During lockdown a lot of the older girls didn't enjoy zoom classes so the teacher allowed some of the younger one's to join and and continue with it when the studio reopened. 

AnnaC, will definitely look at CATS; DD's already said she wants to take GCSE dance but will recommend business studies as well.

We will also look at the dance timetable to see if we could attend another ballet class. If we couldn't; do students sometimes attend other studios for additional training?

OliviaT what type of associates scheme did your daughter do? Thank you for your last comment; I think this will be a very valuable comment to show DD because I know one girl who she chats to quite a lot told her she really should be doing X,Y,Z by now and I think this is why DD started to panic she will be left behind.

Just doing some thinking; is it better for example to do less styles but spend more hours doing those styles than doing every style you can fit in but less time doing each one?

 

 

 

Hi my daughter did two local, well respected associate schemes over the years (one at a time).
She was never going to be royal ballet material but that doesn’t mean she can’t have a career in dance of some sort. 
I would suggest asking around locally and hopefully she has a supportive teacher who you can ask as well. 
We are more familiar with what’s available in the north. So for example KS dance and ballet boost are places you could look at. But I’m sure you will find something similar if they are no good for you geographically - what my daughter needed was a supportive class of a good standard but without the pressure to be the very best of the best! 
Some places also offer taster days in the school holidays which is a cost effective way of letting her try something new without the financial commitment. We sometimes bought tickets to a dance convention or a short course as a birthday / Christmas present just for a fun day out. 

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I think some of the organisations like RBS associates and some of the summer schools provide funding for those on low income so that may be worth looking into.

I agree with the general view that whilst some things aren’t required to be a dance teacher they are desirable and can be a selling point: prior training by prestigious organisations (as associates/ summer schools as well as full time), performance experience, range of training/experience. I’d personally be looking for a teacher who has reached around the standard of a professional dancer and has some experience of performing and of ballet schools. Not to the same extent as a full time dancer but enough so that they have a good understanding of what is involved. 

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6 hours ago, munchkin16 said:

She could also take a look at some studios locally and further afield and see where their teachers and company owners came from. Do a bit of research and see who is successful and what their dance training journey was. Also as a consumer, what about the school/teachers would attract or put you off going there.
 

A lot of it will be about marketing and having big school names on there for training, even for an associates scheme does attract some people. Accreditation from a well known place like RAD may be reassuring to some of her future students, or perhaps a bit of performing experience? If she’s serious, a bit of research now could really help. 


there are successful teachers and Studios who don't necessarily have  stellar  Performing histories  and/or big name vocational training...  but there are also a hell of  a lot of teachers who 

Being a professional performer doesn't mean you are a good teacher ( and i've met a few  divas  along the way - lovely people to spend time with  but  not  good teachers unless they have hot and cold running pianists and PAs ) , but  good teachers who had had professional level experience do seem to have 'luckier' students ... 

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How wonderful that your dd has an idea of what she wants to be when she grows up.

 

My thoughts on this...ballet is the foundation for all forms of dance so it would be a good idea to be qualified to teach ballet if she wants to run her own studio, or work in a private studio.

 

Whatever syllabus your dd currently follows for ballet - I would look at that organisations website to look at the different pathways to becoming a qualified teacher.  For teacher training, passing exams is probably more important than it is for those seeking a performance career.

 

eg https://www.royalacademyofdance.org

 

I would suggest talking to her current dance teacher about dd's aspirations and how best to achieve them given your location and personal situation.  

 

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17 hours ago, NJH said:


there are successful teachers and Studios who don't necessarily have  stellar  Performing histories  and/or big name vocational training...  but there are also a hell of  a lot of teachers who 

Being a professional performer doesn't mean you are a good teacher ( and i've met a few  divas  along the way - lovely people to spend time with  but  not  good teachers unless they have hot and cold running pianists and PAs ) , but  good teachers who had had professional level experience do seem to have 'luckier' students ... 

I don’t think my post ever said that performance experience makes you a better teacher? I was simple raising a few different questions of things she may want to look at, from a marketing perspective, that attract a dancer or their parents to a studio given that was her dream for the future.

 

Unfortunately in the current climate social media and good marketing are going to be an element of maintaining a successful studio. You can be an excellent teacher and want to attract enough students to be financially viable. We all know what makes a good teacher, the average consumer may not. 

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Hi all,

i find this discussion fascinating. 

Thankfully there are many different types of dance teachers and many different routes into teaching. 
 

There has been an emphasis in earlier posts about gaining intermediate in a the dance genre to access teaching courses. 
Although this is a viable option and the case for many syllabus focussed teaching courses, it is not a requirement for all dance teaching qualifications.
 

One dance uk has some excellent updated guidance on routes into teaching.
 

https://www.onedanceuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Dance-Teaching-Pathways.pdf


https://www.onedanceuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Dance-Teaching-Pathways-Flowchart.pdf

 

I wish your child the best on their journey. 

 

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My Niece has just finished her 3yr teacher training degree at the Royal Academy of Dance. She knew from probably about the same age as your DD @Confusedmum that she wanted to teach ballet. As soon as she was old enough she immersed herself in helping out with the younger classes at her dance school. As well as operating the music for the exam season. She became so adept at the latter that several other schools asked her to do the same for them, which was a great insight into how other studios operate and their overall standard. She also took part in several SS’s offered by local studios. Again to experience other teaching methods away from her own studio but still at grass root level which is where the vast majority of dance teachers are. Including teaching ballet for SEN pupils within a studio. She then stayed at school for A Levels (3). I do believe that RAD may have their own criteria for which A levels they prefer, rather than a student duplicating on the ballet exams. To supplement her Ballet degree she’s now about to embark on an intensive 4 week DDE course weeks, to enhance her skills but also to make herself more employable. With so many studios now offering many genres it makes good business sense and timetable flexibility for a Principal to employ teachers that are qualified to teach other genres.  
 

Just like your DD this has been a longterm well thought out plan in the making. Which has also helped with budgeting.  The only adaptation to all of this has been the decision to stay on for her Masters due to the unsettled situation we all find ourselves at the mo. 
 

Best wishes to your DD. It’s not easy to make a decision different from her peers as the pressure can be quite overwhelming at times. Not just from her class but also the mums! Teaching is a very rewarding but certainly not easy career choice and one that should be celebrated. 👏🏻👏🏻
 

 

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