Secure your dream role as a dance teacher: industry secrets that will get you hired!
Think of this as a public service to the dance teachers out there.
I’ve seen it crop up in dance studio owner Facebook groups for as long as I’ve been a member of them. I’ve heard the frustrations and I’ve experienced them myself.
I’ll be honest and say that this article was written partly out of frustration, but mostly as a service to young dancers who are looking for work and want a foot in the door as a dance teacher. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m the biggest advocate for hiring youth – there are so many positives that younger generations bring to a team environment. So consider this a little advice from someone in the know who is on your side.
I’ll also be honest and say that I’ve thought about writing this article for years. The reason I didn’t is that by not addressing the problem it is actually easier to weed out the fluff and find the quality dance teachers I want.
But that’s not a really good way to go about life, is it? It’s actually kind of against my values.
I’m all about education, so here it is.
This goes out to all you dancers and dance teachers out there who are looking for work as a dance teacher at a studio. Dance teaching is not the same as dancing, so please take a moment and reconsider how you apply for your next teaching role.
Follow the tips below and you might be surprised at how many interviews you’ll get!
TIP 1: IT ISN’T an audition or casting call
Your future employer doesn’t care about your height, weight, eye or hair colour. This isn’t the Moulin Rouge, Universal Studios, or Carnival Cruise Lines. It’s a dance studio.
It’s time to stop using the same resume for everything. Create a separate resume specifically for your dance teaching. Make sure you avoid:
- listing your physical characteristics
- including photos of you in overtly sexual poses (nothing makes me bin an email/application more quickly than this)
It sounds simple, but I’m sure other studio owners would agree, that these things happen all too often and reduce your chance of getting an interview. You wouldn’t apply for a position at a law firm with your headshots, and the same goes here.
TIP 2: Don’t confuse your dance experience with dance teaching experience
You wouldn’t apply for a role as a writer at The Guardian with a resume that says, ‘I like to read heaps, and here are all the books I’ve read’, would you?… So why are you listing pages of dance gigs, workshops, events, and appearances?
Think smart – what type of position are you applying for? If you’re applying for a dance teaching role, your employer is likely not interested in sifting through pages of gigs and commercials.
While some studio owners are looking for teachers with more industry experience, this can be demonstrated by carefully selecting the best examples of your industry experience. No one wants to read a resume that’s 3 or 4 pages long, especially when it lists things that have little to no relevance to the actual role.
Listing up to 5 instances of experience in the dance world is enough. If you have 500 credits, sometimes picking one from a range of mediums (e.g. stage, TV, commercial gigs etc) is a great way to show your diversity as a dancer. Alternatively, if you feel a specific employer would be interested in those credits, you could simply write, ‘Full credits can be provided on request’.
TIP 3: GET TO THE POINT
My PhD supervisor always says to me: ‘Answer the brief! If you’re not directly answering the question then you’re wasting your time’
This links back to Tip #2. Instead of listing your dance experience for days, start with your dance teaching experience. That’s what your future employer is looking for.
If you’ve got heaps of experience, list them in terms of relevance to the position. That’s right. You’ll end up with heaps of specific CVs, but you’ll have a greater chance of success if what you’re showing them links to what they’re looking for.
Now for those of you who may not have much experience as a dance teacher, don’t fret. Include any experience that you do have that is related. Don’t overlook the times you were an assistant at your studio or the assistant coach of your soccer team. Did you babysit for 3 years and you have lots of experience in managing children? Maybe you worked in retail or hospitality and have great customer service skills? Include it! Customer service experience, working with children, or experience in sports leadership roles crossover with the skills needed to be a dance teacher, so include it!
Make it clear in your cover letter that while you don’t have dance teaching experience, these are the roles you have had and outline how the experience you’ve gained would lend to your potential as a great future team member. You can find more tips on writing a resume for a dance teaching role here.
TIP 4. Tell us Why?
Please, please, please. For the love of all that is good in the world. If you take anything from this article take this:
Do not, under any circumstances, say that you’re ‘looking to fill up your week/schedule/day’.
Nothing says ‘I don’t care’ like someone who’s just looking to ‘fill up’ sometime.
Got time to fill?… download an app, take a walk, read a book.
If you’re posting work wanted post in one of the many super-useful Facebook groups and other online sites, try saying something about why you want to teach instead. Have a look at the two examples below and think about who you’d rather employ.
Hey. I’m looking to fill up my week with some more teaching. I can teach all styles. PM for more details and my CV.
Hi there studio owners. My name is Sarah and I’m a passionate teacher that is really keen on expanding my teaching experience and knowledge. I love teaching Jazz and Lyrical and believe that all students have the potential to achieve their own definition of success. If you’d like to know more about me and see my CV, please email…
See the difference? I know who’d I’d pick.
A little extra time and a lot more consideration as to why you want to be a dance teacher will go a long way. A prospective employer that values these things will look at example number 2 and say, ‘Yes! I want that person!’. It’s all about first impressions.
TIP 5: Do your research
Oh, I see you’re applying to work at my studio. What’s that? You love ballet and have taught ballet for 10 years and you can sit kids for exams and get awesome results? How lovely!…. except ballet isn’t a focus at our studio and we don’t do exams and I couldn’t care less.
Doing your research is SO important but it is often overlooked.
If you’re applying for a position or contacting a potential employer, take a few minutes to study their website or facebook page. Look for things like:
- what are their values?
- what type of studio do they run?
- what types of classes do they teach?
- what’s their approach to teaching dance?
Find out this stuff and you’re onto a winner. Where do you look? Try the about us section on any studio website as a starting point.
I’ll let you in on a secret… the best businesses hire based on their studio values. When they’re in contact with potential employees, they’re looking for a value-match.
For example, if someone contacted me and said, ‘I take an inclusive approach to dance and believe that everyone has their own unique way of moving’, there’d be bells ringing!
That’s because ‘inclusivity’ and ‘individuality’ are two of the core values that underpin everything that we do. This would be a value-match, and they’d be getting a call for an interview in no time.
the quest for your dream dance teaching role
Being a dance teacher is one of the most rewarding things in my life. It’s not something to be entered into lightly. It isn’t just to ‘fill up time’. The education, safety, and well-being of others are in your hands.
By implementing these tips, you’ll show future employers that you’re serious about your role as a dance teacher and think you’re the right fit for their business.
Wishing you all the best in the pursuit of your dance teaching dreams!
Interested in working for Dance Domain? Then be sure to follow steps 1-5 and email firstname.lastname@example.org with your CV and a one-page cover letter that outlines why you’d be a perfect fit!