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Dance teaching qualifications?


swanprincess
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I was just curious; if I wanted a career as a ballet teacher, would I need to have trained in modern, jazz and tap too?? I've only really studied ballet and contemporary, I'm not keen on the other styles, but would they be essential if I wanted to take a teaching qualification?

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Having just had a quick look at the RAD website, the academic qualifications vary for their many teaching qualifications, but in terms of teaching Ballet, it looks as if you need RAD Intermediate Ballet as a minimum. If your aim is to teach only Ballet, I don't see why you would need tap, jazz etc.

 

Obviously for versatility you could perhaps apply for more teaching vacancies if you are qualified to teach other dance styles.

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No!

 

Having said that there are more employment opportunities for all round teachers.

 

Most if not all of dance societies (RAD, Istd,Cecchetti etc) have teaching qualifications you can do.

 

Before I trained as a teacher I had only done Ballet (to my regret because even back then it paid to be versatile.)

 

But short answer to your question is that to be a Ballet teacher you do not have to have trained in modern, jazz and tap.

 

Edited to add Spanner and I posted at same time!

Edited by hfbrew
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Hi Swanprincess - not necessarily. It depends what you want to do. A lot of dance schools have a teacher who specialises in ballet and another who does modern and tap. It depends on which system of training you would prefer to teach, as to who you'd do your teaching quals with - but some societies offer ballet, tap, modern and many more exam syllabi (and therefore teaching quals) but the RAD is a ballet only society.

 

It is true that a lot of provincial dance teachers have all 3 but that's because it tends to make it easier (and cheaper) to run your own school without having to pay for another teacher. But bigger schools need multiple teachers, and I know if I was running a school with multiple teachers I would prefer then to employ specialist ballet, jazz, tap etc teachers.

 

If ballet is your specialism then stick to it. Do you do modern at all at the moment? As long as you have intermediate you can always do the teaching exam later in life. I did my adv 1 tap exam at the school I worked at only a few years ago to 'get it done' while I could still physically manage it, just in case!

 

Also - remember you don't need multiple teaching qualifications to teach the work, only to enter students for the examinations. So if you were to do your ballet qualification you could still teach the odd bit of modern and tap too, as long as you had another teacher either at that school or as a mentor nearby who would enter your exam candidates for you. In these cases those teachers would then be 'putting their name to the entries' so usually would want to see them in the run up to exams, or work with you to make sure you're preparing the candidates propery.

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To be honest Anjuli, I think most non-vocational dance schools in the UK use one of the major exam syllabi even if they also offer non-syllabus classes. To get a job as a Ballet teacher here one's chances would be vastly increased by having a qualification from the RAD, ISTD etc - unless you are a well known ex-professional of course. :-)

 

I'm not saying it's right but for many parents, looking for a registered teacher is how they find a school in the first place.

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To be honest Anjuli, I think most non-vocational dance schools in the UK use one of the major exam syllabi even if they also offer non-syllabus classes. To get a job as a Ballet teacher here one's chances would be vastly increased by having a qualification from the RAD, ISTD etc - unless you are a well known ex-professional of course. :-)

I'm not saying it's right but for many parents, looking for a registered teacher is how they find a school in the first place.

Yes and a registered teacher is usually a sign that they have undergone teacher training too. And this means an in depth knowledge of the dance genre registered in. In the best courses this does not mean learning a syllabus, in fact this is only a small part of the learning required.

 

It is possible to teach dance without formal qualifications. And indeed, professional dancers can and do go into teaching, sadly some dont even bother to learn first aid! I think the best ones are those who take professional dancers teacher training courses.

 

Swanprincess have you thought of applying for one of the RAD degree courses?

Edited by hfbrew
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I agree, in the UK the vast majority of schools teach one or another of the syllabuses. The teachers who don't follow a syllabus tend to be former professional dancers who are teaching at the major vocational schools, or were trained abroad and follow that method (eg Vaganova).

 

Even Daria Klimentova, who will now be teaching at RBS, has just completed her RAD teaching studies course.

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To be honest Anjuli, I think most non-vocational dance schools in the UK use one of the major exam syllabi even if they also offer non-syllabus classes. To get a job as a Ballet teacher here one's chances would be vastly increased by having a qualification from the RAD, ISTD etc - unless you are a well known ex-professional of course. :-)

 

I'm not saying it's right but for many parents, looking for a registered teacher is how they find a school in the first place.

 

Granted.  I understand that's the situation in the UK.  But I would also hope and encourage a teacher candidate to explore other methods and ways of teaching - seek out other roads along with or after having achieved the initial goal,    I'm not sure that any syllabus based curriculum encourages that exploration.  Immersion in one method may leave little time or resources to explore.

 

It is not my intention to go against the good advice being offered in this thread, but I also think another voice might be useful - even for future thought after the initial goal is accomplished.  Learning for a teacher never stops and accomplishing a specific certification is only the beginning of a much wider and longer road.  One should never become too comfortable within any one nest.

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I believe that the RAD require their teachers to complete a certain amount of CPD training to stay registered. This includes many things, not just syllabus knowledge including first aid, health & safety, child protection etc.

 

Their website states that their teaching diploma covers a range of teaching methods & study of pedagogy. I expect the other exam boards are similar.

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  I'm not sure that any syllabus based curriculum encourages that exploration.

 

If you're not sure on the curriculum, visit the websites and read the course content of these teacher training courses before making these conclusions. Both the ISTD and RAD teacher training courses have elements where student teachers are required to have an understanding of all the different methods of training. In the ISTD course there are modules where the historical and contextual elements of the dance genre are covered, and in the RAD BA (hons) in ballet education there is a module entitled "Dance History: Repertoire, Techniques and Styles". 

 

The teacher training courses in the UK are much more than "learn our syllabus, teach our syllabus" courses.

Edited by drdance
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 A large part of the teaching course curriculum devised by various Dance Teaching Societies in the UK covers safe teaching practice (and as I said anatomy, teaching and learning methods etc). The dance syllabus itself is helpful (in my opinion) as a well researched guide, especially for new and inexperienced teachers who otherwise may not be entirely confident as to what a 4/5/6 (and so on) year old would physically and mentally be able to accomplish. I believe that all the societies encourage their members to undertake CPD. I trained in various methods, but am very glad I then followed a teaching course, (just because you can 'do' it (ballet), it doesn't necessarily mean you can teach it !)

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If you're not sure on the curriculum, visit the websites and read the course content of these teacher training courses before making these conclusions. Both the ISTD and RAD teacher training courses have elements where student teachers are required to have an understanding of all the different methods of training. In the ISTD course there are modules where the historical and contextual elements of the dance genre are covered, and in the RAD BA (hons) in ballet education there is a module entitled "Dance History: Repertoire, Techniques and Styles". 

 

The teacher training courses in the UK are much more than "learn our syllabus, teach our syllabus" courses.

 

 

What a website says and what happens in reality are not always related.  And, assuming it is - and perfectly constructed and taught - it is not enough - it is but a beginning.  The ballet/dance world is wide and growing all the time.  

 

An "understanding" of different methods is not the same as taking classes from, experiencing and having the good fortune of learning from a wide array of  teachers  bringing diverse talents, methods and style over many years.

 

 "Modules" is not the same as a lifetime of constantly seeking a wider base of knowledge and study under a number of teachers from other countries and other styles, most of whom bring professional performing experience into their classroom. 

 

As for safe practice - anyone who has followed my posts  on this board of the many years has no doubt as to the iimportance - paramount importance - i give to  the issues which come under that heading.

 

It's not easy being a "different" voice.  :)

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Each one of your points is valid Anjuli and I agree with them, I don't think your voice is different :) In my experience the course I undertook delivered everything it said it would. These institutions are well established, respected and accredited. A 'beginning' as you say, but a valuable one.

 

All of my ex dancer colleagues who chose to move into teaching have undergone teacher training  I had taught professional class before, but the prospect and responsibility of teaching young children was not something I was going to take lightly - (and it was far scarier !!!)

 

Taking one of these courses does not mean that you are branded for life or bound to one particular way of doing things, but it does mean that you (should) gain a solid understanding of how to safely and correctly teach children.

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Anjuli I don't think you're being a different voice either - I think you perceive you are.

 

No-one will doubt that the best teachers are those with the most exposure to multiple learning styles, different schools, years and years of experience and a wealth of knowledge. However, this thread started as a student seeking advice about qualifications. As Ellie quite rightly said, they are a valuable start to a teachers career, during the course they will be exposed to a wealth of dance history and the influences on the style they are studying (and all courses are accredited so what they say the teach, they must).

 

Once any young teacher has studied the course, it is up to them what they then choose to do afterwards. They are not tied down to a lifetime of teaching one particular method, they may well seek to do further study in an area that interests them, or travel the world learning from the greats in every country and province they can afford!

 

But my advice to a young teacher (resident in the UK) is to start your career with an established course with an established examining body. You will get a good INITIAL training in how to teach, you will learn about the dance form you choose to teach, and you will learn how to keep those in your classes safe and well.

 

Is it a substitute for years and years of experience? Perhaps not. But when you're 18 it's the best option available to you.

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Anjuli rest assured that many teachers do all what you say and more.

 

You are so right that one never stops learning. CPD is a compulsory element of maintaining registration now in UK but I am sure that I am not the only teacher on here who already was committed to continuous learning- indeed one of my own sources of information is this wonderful forum and your own excellent posts- my students have benefitted from much of your wisdom.

 

My own teacher training resulted in qualifications from both ISTD and RAD but was so much more than that. I was lucky to have wonderful teachers from all over the world that trained me for a professional career both as performer and dancer. You talk about a wide array of teachers, well obviously! Do you honestly think that our courses are only ever delivered by one person ?

 

Having mentored several young teachers on the RAD course I can assure you they are very much encouraged to get as much experience as possible from as many different sources as possible. "Only" teaching syllabus is definately a no no, all teachers are expected to have a profound knowledge of classical ballet and to be able to construct classes accordingly to the students requirements.

 

Young students have to start somewhere and the modules are designed to do just as you advocate, to be constantly seeking " a wider base of knowledge" to quote part of your post. Once they are qualified, students are told that it is indeed " just the beginning" and that a good teacher never stops learning.

 

I know that you have been unimpressed with syllabus teaching and teachers in the past and rightly so but it really has been a very long time since merely displaying a syllabus knowledge qualified someone to be registered with one of the main dance societies.

 

However it is still the case that ex professionals can and do set up classes without some sort of training. And this is risky both to themselves and their students. Its only common sense surely to at least get acquainted with safe teaching practises, however glittering ones career might be?

 

You are clearly an amazing lady and teacher Anjuli, your students are so lucky to have had you. However I fear that many well meaning dancers go into teaching without, as a previous poster has said an idea of what students of given ages and abilities can safely do. And in my mind anyone who has taken the trouble to do some further training in order to teach more effectively is the one Id rather employ or send students to.

 

My advice to SwanPrincess is the same as I give to all dance students, see as much as you can, get as much experience as you can, dance as much as you can, read about dance as much as you can, watch as well as partake in classes by different teachers and never ever stop learning! And the courses people have described will all encourage the same things and more!

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Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful responses.

 

I think we have all - each of us - impressed upon our much admired board member, SwanPrincess,  how to begin to search  out  her goal and the importance that it be a never ending search.  The certificate on the wall is but the beginning.

 

And, that was the intent.

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Thankyou all so much for your very useful, inspiring and thought-provoking responses, I really appreciate it!

And Anjuli, you aren't "different", as we are all united by our love of dance. We each have a unique perspective and opinion- yours is just as valuable as everyone else's, and the wisdom that you have shared on such a variety of topics has helped all of us to progress towards that goal of inspiring others through dance :)

 

The idea of 'never stopping learning' made me think of a quote by Brecht; "The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn, when teachers themselves are taught to learn". There's always something new to discover, that is what makes life exciting! :)

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After I danced, I completed the old style RAD teaching certificate. It gave me a good basis but as the years went by I decided to move away from teaching purely syllabus and have enjoyed the diversity which other projects have brought me in terms of my own learning and teaching experience.

I do agree that in the UK it is probably a good place to start in terms of getting some form of recognised teaching certificate but some have become rather academic based or so short that it allows v little time for practical teaching experience which if I am honest is where I have learnt the most.

It is interesting to hear that the RBS will be starting a teachers training course again.

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Some additional thoughts a bit beyond the basic training to teach......

 

 

 

I found that it was central to my dance education to continue to take a daily class as long as physically possible and actually I retired from regular teaching before I stopped taking a daily class.  Teaching took more energy than taking a ballet class.  At first that may sound surprising - but in taking class one only has to be concerned with oneself, whilst in teaching the entire energy of the class arises and is kept aloft on the shoulders of the teacher.  I've never heard of an inspirational class without an inspired teacher.  Responsibility takes more energy than physical activity.

 

 

Taking a daily class kept me refreshed in several areas - new/different methods, music, choreography, approaches - and just as important it was a daily reminder as to just how difficult - how much the student invests in it all.

 

I also found that within any one style/school there were many doors.  I studied with three (2 principals, 1 soloist) NYCB dancers and though they were all products of the same school (Balanchine - SAB), each gave me quite different views and truly altered how I saw dance and how I experienced it.  One especially, with a simple demonstration of breathing changed everything for me.

 

A summer session with a principal dancer (prima ballerina - Bournonvile) from Royal Danish Ballet was an eye opener on how to use the stage and how to process petit allegro.

 

My three years with a  Cecchetti examiner gave me a way of systematizing very basic movement: head, arms, body positions.

 

Two major dancers, one a ballet mistrerss, from the RB brought a different style - including the Ashton nuances.

 

One teacher, himself a student Eugene Loring, took  petit allegro beyond anything I had previously seen.

 

My first teacher - and several afterward - were Russian taught - but Pre-Vaganova. They had studied with dancers who had retired from the original Diagelev Ballet Russe - almost all graduates of the old Mariinsky and thus shared a stylistic cousinship with Balanchine.    And, then, of course there were a couple from the Vaganova school.

 

I'm not sure what one would call the style of schooling in Germany - but that teacher was terrific for breaking down and putting together balance.  Another from Romania was very Romantic oriented.  And another from Hungary taught me to continue the energy flow from one step to another and to see it not as steps but as sentences and then paragraphs of dance.

 

Another teacher had been a student of Margaret Craske.- Cecchetti before all the syllabus changes over the years.

 

I would have loved learning more of the French School.

 

The Bolshoi principal who when the regular teacher took ill, taught class.  I stood inches away from him and was completely blown away by such power.  It's one thing to see it on stage - quite another to physically feel the waves of power. WOW   From now then I jumped with his vision in my mind.  (Well, at least it was in my mind! :))

 

And...so many more.  Some of the most imspiring were those without famous names or affiliations.

 

I haven't named any names because this is not about name dropping - just a trip through the memory and a thank you to all of them.  

 

There is so much to learn and experience - even in the "small" world of the ballet.

 

I wish you a wide and wonderful journey, SwanPrincess.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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How absolutely wonderful Anjuli. You sound as though you have been truly blessed with the wealth of teachers and experience they each brought. But being realistic,I wonder how many of our young people in England would have access to the calibre on a regular basis of people like this? Very few,I would imagine,sadly.

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How absolutely wonderful Anjuli. You sound as though you have been truly blessed with the wealth of teachers and experience they each brought. But being realistic,I wonder how many of our young people in England would have access to the calibre on a regular basis of people like this? Very few,I would imagine,sadly.

 

Who would think there would be such a range of teachers in a city such as San Diego ?  Back in the 1960's there were only 3 or 4 women teaching here with small classes.  It does help that it is a very attractive city, but exactly why so many wonderful teachers came - some making a permanent  home here and others not - I don't know.  Perhaps when a school is not syllabus based - or not dedicated to a particular style - a wider range of teaching styles fit in more comfortably.  I do know the class looked forward to seeing a new approach.

 

When I was called to teach, if the school didn't already know me, I was given an audition by teaching a class.  Had the school been syllabus based, then I am sure i would never have been given the opportunity to audition.  Maybe as a guest teacher, but certainly not as a staff teacher because I wouldn't have fit in.

 

I think, perhaps, when a school is more widely based it is more likely to welcome in new and diverse staff. Kind of a chicken/egg thing.

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What a fascinating thread. And I think it shows a real difference between teaching ballet in the UK and the USA. Arguably, both countries can produce top notch dancers. I suspect the vast majority of teachers are teaching young children who have no desire or ability to become professional dancers and in most likelihood will stop pre teens. I would never send my child to a teacher who was not registered with a recognised teaching body (for me it has to be RAD for ballet) and I would never send them without checking that that teacher was also able to teach solid technique. I think this is essential for a young body and I believe the sylabus guides the teacher with suitable standards at appropriate ages, but I also think being a slave to sylabus is a bad thing as some teachers get great results in exams but the children are very limited when placed in an open class. I absolutely hate to see a child on point before 11 and all these you tube videos of young children doing dance pieces way beyond their maturity. It gives the wrong idea completely to young students and there seems to be a lack of understanding about development of a young dancer by those training. To me, there seems to be a sense that if you can't do a triple/quadruple pirouette by the time you're 12 you're no good, or if you can't do fouettés on point by 13 you're too late. I hope these kinds of things are limited when a sylabus is followed but with teaching that allows exploration. I think vocational training is different and the students need to be exposed to all the different, varied teachers they can lay their hands on - hopefully they already have a thorough understanding and application of good technique which is built upon. The vast majority of teachers will not teach in a vocational school, will not teach the next Etiole and need to keep their young charges healthy and enthused with a love of dance. A registered teacher is a good start, so many other things make a great teacher but a start has to be made.

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I think a lot of teachers who have a major teaching qualification ......say RAD just for example.....are also continuing their own dance development after having achieved this qualification and don't have the attitude that the qualification is enough in itself. They also find guest teachers when they can to teach at summer schools etc who may not be RAD trained. They will also be keen to give non syllabus classes to their pupils as well and most have some sort of "show" .....where both their own and more advance students choreographic skills can be developed......nothing to do with the main syllabus.

There are obviously some teachers who are more creative than others.....that will always be the way.....but I agree if I was looking for a Dance school for a child I would want to know the teacher had a professional training qualification to teach .......wouldn't necessarily have to be RAD though there are other Dancing Organisations which are pretty good too. In fact if there was a good local choice (unfortunately often there isn't) it would be assessing the school and teacher/s overall which would inform my choice rather than the particular organisation they belonged to.

 

Sometimes it's the parents who press for more syllabus classes .....but in an ideal world I think every year group should have the choice of a free class every week along with the syllabus.......even though I know this would not be practically possible for some small schools with a limited catchment area for pupils.

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It's all very well to be able to list all the wonderful teachers you've had and I commend you on being able to take class every day but the reality is that such opportunities are exceedingly rare in the UK. There are very few classes for adult dancers run by professional dancers unless a) you live in London or B) you are a multimillionaire.

Usually, students get the ex professional teachers either at vocational school or on summer schools, or at somewhere like RAD HQ on the full time courses. But if you didn't go to vocational ballet school or college then you won't really have been able to reel off a list of international teachers. I didn't want to be a ballet dancer, I wanted to be a teacher. So I didn't go to ballet school, I learnt to teach with a couple of my teachers who weren't ever professional dancers either (although one had recently become an examiner at the time).

 

Does that make someone like myself an inferior teacher, then?

 

Anjuli your experiences, while truly wonderful, just aren't practicable for a teacher living in the UK.

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