Are You Ready to Take the Leap from a Dance Student to Becoming a Dance Teacher? | The Dance Bible
Book A Dance Teacher / Choreographer

Are You Ready To Take The Leap From A Dance Student To Becoming A Dance Teacher?

Some important changes in perspective happens when a dancer transitions to becoming a dance teacher. Some feel quite elevated to get a leadership position by becoming a dance teacher. However, teaching dance is different from other professions in more than one ways.
So, when is a dancer ready to become a dance teacher? Is it about talent or about being confident? Does it depend on a situation or has a dance studio that a dancer automatically becomes a dance teacher? What is the difference in perspective between a dancer and a dance teacher? 


A dancer is a student of dance who is still learning the techniques of dancing. A dancer looks up to his/her teacher/mentor for guidance. A dancer is a follower who by practicing everyday has to bring clarity and smoothness to his/her technique according to the guidance of the teacher.
A dance teacher leads by example. A teacher is supposed to not only create a fresh choreography but should also know how to teach it to students. Dance is expressed through movement, so the best a dance teacher can do to teach well is by showing how it’s done. The teacher first and foremost has to be a good dancer to show the movement in its best possible way.
The best student in any dance class is the one who can easily do the movement that the teacher has shown with the correct technique, smoothness and feeling. A dancer is a combination of not just an amazing athlete but also someone who is able to express emotions. Sometimes a teacher may or may not be able to explain the choreography. However, a good student will be able to easily understand his/her teacher and produce the result that makes the choreography better.
A dance teacher is also a choreographer and is constantly looking for fresh ideas to create a unique dance routine. Sometimes students are the inspiration and sometimes a groovy music inspires the choreographer to create something new.
An ideal dance student needs to maintain discipline of time, attire and focus. A dancer has to take care of his/her own dancing first. Being a dance student means having a lot of time to build dance skills as much as one can. This stage of being a dance student should be given the maximum time. The more a dancer practices, the better one gets. Number of years of experience of working with different dance teachers and choreographers helps a dance student to mature not just physically but also mentally.
A dance teacher leads by example. If a dance teacher is lazy then the students will not want to follow him/her no matter how talented a dancer he/she may be. Talent and discipline go together. Discipline of body is in doing daily practice whether you are a dance student or a dance teacher. A dance teacher also has the responsibility to take care of the discipline of the class. Dancing is a very attractive visual art form and a dance teacher who is disciplined is always a good mentor for his/her students.
A dance student has to carefully listen to the instructions given by dance teacher. If a dancer loses focus then that just disturbs the whole class. There is a difference between hearing and listening though. All depends on one’s approach to dancing. One of the most important things any dance students learns in a dance class is how to learn. This may sound a bit weird but the journey from an amateur dancer to a trained dancer lies not just in hard work and speed of learning but also in observing the details.
Contrary to popular belief about leadership, teaching is more about listening than about giving motivational speech. A dance teacher definitely has to encourage his/her students at every step. But a great dance teacher knows when a student is not able to listen to him/her without asking. There should be a great deal of understanding between a dance student and a dance teacher. A dance teacher is also a problem solver and a great friend to confide in. After all a difficult profession like dancing needs a good mentor/guide.
A dance student has a long and difficult journey to understand his/her body and achieve his/her dance goals. As a student one faces lots of competition, jealousy, favouritism and insecurity. Being a dance student is actually much more difficult than being a dance teacher. Becoming a trained professional dancer is a journey of winning over all mental, emotional and physical challenges. Sometimes dance friends and family helps but there are also times when a dancer feels lonely in his continuous struggles. The wounds whether physical or emotional either makes a dancer stronger or simply the best of the best.
A dance teacher cannot afford to have personal issues projected in a dance class. Students look up to their teacher and if a teacher is not showing positive behaviour then even the students lack in their overall personality. A dance teacher is the second parent for a dance student. A dance teacher has to be unbiased in his/her opinion and treat all dance students according to their ability. A dance teacher has the responsibility of bringing up strong dance students who are even better than him/her.
Dancing is a learning process for a dance student as well as for a dance teacher. Thankfully there is no fixed age criteria for becoming a dancer or a dance teacher. Both, the dance student and the dance teacher has to work together to bring the best in each other’s personality.