How Do I Become a Ballet Teacher?

Explore the career requirements for ballet teachers. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Ballet Teacher?

Ballet teachers provide instruction in ballet, a specialized form of dance. They can work for numerous places, such as ballet companies, dance schools and postsecondary institutions. They may also offer private lessons for aspiring ballet dancers. Not only do they teach dance steps and technique, but they may also offer instruction in the history of ballet and the French terminology commonly used in the field. Additionally, they choreograph and coordinate ballet recitals and performances. Depending on where they work, ballet teachers may evaluate students through formal exams or informal assessments of student potential.

Find out more about this career in the chart below.

Education Required Bachelor's degree may be preferred
Training Required Extensive performance experience
Education Field of Study Dance, ballet
Key Skills Communications, patience, physical dexterity and stamina, creativity
Job Growth (2014-2024) 13% (for all postsecondary teachers)*
Median Annual Salary (2016) $38,708**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ** PayScale.com

Ballet Teacher Requirements

Whether or not you need a college degree to teach ballet depends on where you plan to work. If you wish to teach in a studio, usually performance experience is the only requirement. This is also true if you plan to teach in a recreational program.

However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that if you want to teach in an accredited school, whether it is an elementary school, high school or college, you will probably need a college degree in dance or ballet (www.bls.gov). Some postsecondary jobs will require a graduate degree. Classes focused on teaching ballet, referred to as ballet pedagogy, are a part of ballet degree programs. Some schools offer an emphasis on pedagogy within the program.

Master's Programs

Master's programs in ballet often have concentrations in pedagogy, too. The primary value of having a master's degree is to enable you to teach in universities. However, some programs focus more on preparing you to teach in community outreach programs, conservatories or private studios. These programs may also include courses in arts management to enable you to expand your employment opportunities.

There are master's programs that emphasize performance or choreography. However, even these programs may have teaching assistantships or apprenticeships in teaching positions.

College Admission Requirements

A fair amount of experience is needed even to enter a college dance program. At least one school requires you to have had ballet training for a minimum of five days every week during high school. Admission requirements for all ballet degree programs include an audition. There may be very strict rules for the audition, including the kind of attire you wear. You will likely need to demonstrate the established classical barre and center exercises. Women usually must also illustrate several pointe work combinations. You may also be expected to turn in a DVD of yourself doing a solo dance modification of the approved classical routines.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Experienced ballet dancers may want to pursue ballet performance careers themselves. Another option is a job as a professional choreographer. Like ballet teachers, no formal degree is necessary, but extensive dance experience is required for career success, and a bachelor's or graduate degree in dance can be a valuable asset. Another possibility is a job as a fitness trainer or instructor. More than ever, fitness and recreation centers are offering dance-related workout classes like barre and Zumba. Instructors may lead group sessions or offer training sessions to individual clients. They may also offer education on nutrition and wellness. It is important to note that they may need to be certified.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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