Ballroom Dance > Dance teacher salary in a studio

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Twilight_Elena, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. lcdancesport

    lcdancesport Active Member

    I want to bump this thread since it is a few years old.

    So what is it like today as far as franchised studios versus independent pay?

    At a franchise do you receive ongoing training and health benefits/vacation time?

    What is the justification to belonging to a franchised staff if the pay is minimum wage?

    I would think most studios still pay hourly, but I know studios also require you to stay there all day to practice, clean, train.. etc etc.
  2. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I started at $6/hr during training at a franchise, and finished at $10/hr, plus a few slightly significant bonuses.

    I did, though none in sufficient quantities. Specifically, the training was adequate to get me to the point I could help six-lesson wedding couples, but not much beyond that, and was offered far less frequently than I'd been promised. The health insurance re-reimbursement was less than the most reasonable health insurance I could purchase, though only by $20. Paid vacation was a joke, though I never had a problem taking unpaid vacation.

    The training. If they prove the training they say they will, and it's of high quality, it's an excellent deal. Furthermore, most studios have commissions for teaching, sales, etc. that can actually make it a rather good living.

    Most studios pay on commissions. I have confidence in my ability to teach my students, keep them happy, and retain them. I'd rather get a commission for the work I do than an hourly rate for not teaching in order to retain my availability.
  3. jump'n'jive

    jump'n'jive Well-Known Member

    when i started it waslike 7 dollars and hour plus 3 percent commision. i got a dollar raise for everything test out i did..this was ten years ago

    now i am a studio owner. i pay my staff very well. i pay brand new teachers 15 per lesson a mid bronze to early silver teacher 25 and a well experienced teacher 35 a lesson. they have no time requirements to be in the studio. just show up to teach and to parties.

    i never understood something about the dance industry. we all know there is a high turn over rate for teachers. however i think most studios try to take advantage of the situation. train a teacher and pay him nothing. how many people are actually going to stick around for dirt pay? why not keep your teachers happy( i mean this is the back bone of a studio. ever notice how when there is consistent teachers a studio is good and lessons are at a high, but whenever new teachers are in the mix and a teacher left then student base is down?) pay and treat them well and have a successful school?
  4. dancedanceevolution

    dancedanceevolution New Member

    I read this thread with great interest- I recently made the decision to (in the future, after competing pro-am to the highest level I can) switch to teaching dance from my current career in budget. I make VERY GOOD money right now, which I am socking away. I am hoping I can teach part time in the beginning, get my training and work on acquiring students while still working in the current job full time to support myself. Then, once I have the certifications and a good grasp of the syllabus to teach, I'd like to leave the day job to teach full time as an independent. I have no idea how realistic this is, but I am asking every teacher and studio owner I know. I know there is great benefit to starting out at a franchise studio, but couldn't there also be a drawback, e.g., the syllabus you learn to teach may not be what is taught at the studio you eventually work at as an independent? How could I learn to teach International or American without a studio's filter? I have a pretty wide independent streak, and I'm actually hoping to avoid the path that has me living in indentured servitude to a studio. I'm too old for that stuff. :)
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I wouldn't be worried about private syllabi (dancing is really how not what) as much as if you would be getting to teach enough of the aspects of dancing critical to the emotional rather than monetary part of your compensation package.

    I think the things you could do right now would be to get the international syllabus books and go through them with the aid of some classes or privates focused on learning both parts of at least the more useful figures from bronze and early silver. Then and go use them at the socials, in both roles if that's socially acceptable. Some am/am comp experience would be a big plus too - in the northeast you can even lead in syllabus events at collegiate events if you want (many have calendar experience limits that would make silver your minimum permissable level, but feel free to enter that with bronze material).

    ISTD certification isn't an answer by itself, but any steps in that direction could be a great complement to and enrichment of practical experience on the dance floor. There was a preview program for that process held in conjunction with the independance day ball camp in DC a few weeks ago (unfortunately had to pick between that and the main dance program) and hopefully something will be offered there or elsewhere again.

    Up maybe until taking a professional exam or actually teaching someone, this wouldn't impact your pro/am elgibility. But if you want to teach while continuing to compete (ie, continue to determinedly develop your own dancing in a context where you can fully apply it) you would need to look into finding a pro/pro or am/am partner.
  6. Meagan

    Meagan Active Member

    Chris already had some good suggestions. Additionally, it could be helpful to find a group class teacher that you respect/like their teaching style and enroll in some of their classes. Even if the classes are below your current dance level they can be useful for 1) learning the other role if you don't know the steps yet 2) observing students first hand, what they want to learn and what material works best 3) learning how successful teachers approach teaching/different levels. This can be helpful in figuring out what steps in the syllabus are generally easy/difficult to get for beginners, what 'teaching personality' appeals to what kind of crowds and so on; giving you a better sense of what you think is important as a teacher which can later be applied to a studio's 'filter' or not.

    Plus its just always interesting watching others teach :p You almost always learn something!
  7. Hey,

    It could be a good experience to teach at a studio if there is significant training....I think every place really depends on who runs it. If the owner is smart they will reward you with great incentives such a decent salary, commissions, vacation pay, raises and bonuses.

    I agree with "JumpnJive" that unfortunately many studio owners don't have happy teachers (because they don't do the things mentioned above) and lose many of them in the process.
  8. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    jump'n'jive... your logic has reason. i like you. :cheers:
  9. To add to my point...

    I think its not all monetary either...just treating teachers with respect, and caring about their own goals - for example if they want to compete in pro, accommodate scheduling....NOT HAVE THEM CLEAN THE STUDIO (which is really not a part of their job description) - I actually heard many of the teachers while not teaching would be given other chores such as cleaning around the studio...
  10. lcdancesport

    lcdancesport Active Member

    It really just has to go one way or another. If the pay is pretty low, then the teacher should be compensated with some kind of training.

    If the pay is decent, then the teacher has more reason to go get coaching or training from someone.

    Either way though, a teacher is just looking for respect. Running a studio is expensive, but don't take advantage of all the teachers so they suffer in the end.

    What are these benefits and vacation pay you speak of?? That would be nice...
  11. lcdancesport

    lcdancesport Active Member

    Hi dde, I started in a studio not quite on staff, but probably more independent. The studio changed their structure while I was there. Either way, it wasn't a franchised school. I've learned only the DVIDA syllabus. If you want to be independent, look for someone who offers the Ballroom Dance Teachers College through Dancevision. It is VERY comprehensive and you receive certification after passing your tests. Right now it's only in American Style, but it's a good start if you want good training.
  12. dancedanceevolution

    dancedanceevolution New Member

    Thanks! I will look into this- I guess at some point I'd have to decide what styles to teach. I know there's a lot of investment that goes into learning how to teach, but it's sounding like I'll need to be careful not to take certain steps (such as getting certifications or teaching -not sure if this is completely prohibited or just beyond a certain amount). I won't be able to do much with the primary goal right now being competition as a pro-am, but I appreciate all the feedback. I want to go into this with my eyes open!
  13. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    Umm... no it isn't. There's a DVIDA American syllabus, international syllabus, hustle, Argentine tango, salsa, and they just came out with country.
  14. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    dde, I think you can order a free syllabus sampler from DV for just shipping/handling cost. I ordered it but haven't had a chance to look into it yet, although it might be interesting to see. Good luck!!!

    edit: I looked at their website and couldn't find the offer, but you might want to keep an eye on it in case they do it again!
    edit2: found it, but I can't post URL's yet, just google dancevision syllabus sampler and you'll get there ;)
  15. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    FWIW, definitely know franchise studios that have teachers making great pay, and others that are exactly the opposite.
  16. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    I think the poster meant the BDTC material, not syllabi.
  17. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Define "great."
  18. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I know franchise teachers making as much or more than I do, and I make a comfortable living here
  19. Josh

    Josh Active Member

    Define "comfortable" -- ok just kidding :)
  20. lcdancesport

    lcdancesport Active Member

    Thanks Josh, that is exactly what I was talking about. I believe they are working on a silver program too.

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