Do I Have to Be as Good as the Pros on Dancing with the Stars to Be a Successful Dance Teacher?

You don't need to be superstar to earn a living and be a great ballroom dance instructor.

Date added to ADN: Wednesday, Jul 31 2013
Originally Published: Wednesday, Jul 31 2013
By Diane Jarmolow


Without a doubt, the professional dancers on Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) are raking it in—and they deserve to! The amount of hard work, dedication to their art (not to mention the time spent on tanning beds, gym workouts and eyelash glue!) earns them the reputation of being la creme de la creme of the ballroom dance world.

Does everyone want to take lessons from these pros? Yeah, it might be fun to do it once ($250 for 45 minutes).

Do beginning students need the talents of a DWTS pro to learn to dance? Most certainly not!

Is there room to be successful as a regular, everyday ballroom dance teacher? Totally!

My experience is that what matters most to people is having a teacher who is knowledgeable, clear, caring, considerate and responsible. This type of teacher can come in a range of ages, sizes and dance levels.

I know a teacher in the SF Bay Area who consistently earns a six-figure salary every year. Is he on a television dance show or have championship titles? Nope. He's a regular guy in his 50s who has never competed professionally.

What makes this particular teacher successful is his outstanding work ethic, his ability to connect with his students, and his knowledge (he takes regular training to both inspire him and keep his skills at a high level). These are the kinds of qualities that make teachers a magnet for students.

Last weekend, while teaching a Move Like a Champion workshop in Maryland, I met another successful teacher (also in her 50s). She teaches social dancing only, and says her students never leave her. Well, you only need so many students who never leave you before your teaching calendar is fully booked!

So, how does a non-celebrity, non-championship dance teacher make a good living? Let's calculate:

20 lessons/week at $75/hour = $1,500/week = $75,000/year...not bad!

Add another 10 lessons/week and you're making six figures: $112, can spend $12,000 on training and other expenses and still hit $100k!

So the moral of this story is clear: Being a financially successful teacher has little or nothing to do with whether you've been on television or won a championship title.

Instead, having a thriving business as a ballroom dance instructor simply comes from being dedicated to your craft, teaching in a clear and consistent manner, and being considerate toward your students.

Check out Diane's blog here

About the Author:

Diane Jarmolow is a pioneer in the field of ballroom dancing. She founded the first vocational training for ballroom dance teachers, the Ballroom Dance Teachers College (BDTC). Based in Oakland, California, BDTC has trained hundreds of people to become successful dance instructors, and Diane's BDTC-in-a-Box is being used to train teachers in studios throughout North America and abroad.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the AccessDance Network. Be aware that imagery is copyrighted and often licensed for use on AccessDance only. Copying of images is strictly prohibited.

smalladnseal.png Contributing Member

Ballroom Dance Teachers College
Oakland AND San Francisco, CA 94616

Related Topics

Training & Continuation

Do you need to dust off your dancing shoes or mend the soles? Either way, you need more Dance in your life. Restarting, relocating, training, and technical development are great excuses to dance more. So go! Go on and Dance!

Career Development

Bring joy, passion and confidence into the lives of others! Consider training to become a dance educator and change lives for the better.

Meet New People

Get out and be part of the fun. Meet new people through the universal language of dance. Dance lessons will get you out on the dance floor with your friends or maybe you'll catch the eye of that special someone.