Dancing both roles
In order to teach a specific dance or figure, you need to be able to articulate and demonstrate both the Leader’s and Follower’s part. We spend equal time in class working on both parts, and every trainee is expected to dance as both Leader and Follower, regardless of gender. This is standard practice for professional dance instruction.
Because this is a teaching class, there is a strong emphasis on presentation. You will be expected to present material on a regular basis. For example, you may be asked to demonstrate a figure or to present a brief history of a specific dance. Don’t worry, we hand out assignments in advance, so you will have plenty of time to prepare!
Exams and Written Tests
There are four exams per quarter (five in the Nightclub quarter). The purpose of the exams is to strengthen your familiarity with the syllabus, to increase your comfort speaking figures’ technical information (which will be necessary when you teach), and to give you an opportunity to show off your ability to dance the figures together in a routine to music.
Scheduled during regular class times, each exam has two components: a dance demonstration and an oral presentation of technical information. No need to stress—we pre-assign both the dance demonstration and the oral questions you will be asked, so you will be able to practice and prepare.
There is also one take-home written test for each dance taught during the quarter. The purpose of these tests is to help you solidify what you have learned and to think like a dance teacher. You may research answers from your class notes, other course materials, online, or any other resource you’d like!
Study and Practice
Becoming a dance teacher takes dedication and practice. Each quarter meets a total of 4 hours a week. Most students spend quite a bit of time every week studying the material and practicing what they have learned. Though the amount of outside time varies greatly from student to student, please expect to commit 1 hour of study time for every hour you spend in class—about 4 hours per week.
- DVIDA® manual for the dances taught (i.e., for the Smooth quarter, you will need the DVIDA® Bronze Smooth manual). Manuals are available online at DanceVision.com or by calling (800) 851-2813.
- Teach Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide for Ballroom Dance Instructor by Diane Jarmolow. Available here.
- DVIDA® DVDs for the dances taught are recommended, but optional. Available at DanceVision.com or by calling (800) 851-2813.
You are a dance teacher in training, so it’s never too early to start looking the part. Ballroom dance is an elegant pursuit that requires professionalism and poise.
Please dress nicely for class, and dress up for exams. Your attire should be clean, flattering and professional. Please do not wear jeans, t-shirts or sloppy clothing.
All students will be expected to have proper dance shoes by the second class meeting. This is not an arbitrary aesthetic or fashion consideration. To teach dance, you need the “right tool for the job,” and proper dance shoes are literally the foundation for your dancing!
There are different styles of dance shoes for different styles of dancing, but most BDTC students wear a basic “practice shoe,” a practical and durable suede-soled dancing shoe that is made to be comfortable and wearable for long periods. Some students wear flashier shoes or high heeled dance shoes, but this is a matter of personal comfort.
You can purchase dance shoes from any dance shoe retailer.