Ballroom teachers needed - no experience required

Ok heres my POv weddings are for the most part big productions so it makes sense that the wedding dance be a big show. Bc wedding are all about making other ppl jealous ( tounge in cheek)

I didn't do the wedding thing and just did the no frills vegas wedding bc I KNEW that if I had a wedding it would have to be BIG

Anyways for MOST ppl learning to dance is about being able to do things others can't.
tasche said:
Ok heres my POv weddings are for the most part big productions so it makes sense that the wedding dance be a big show. Bc wedding are all about making other ppl jealous ( tounge in cheek)
Maybe you could hire stunt doubles to entertain the relatives with a dance show while you sneak off to the honeymoon suite?
No experience needed to teach at Arthur Murray?

This just seems a little odd to me:
Here was a Craigslist posting for a teacher position at a dance studio)

No experience needed to teach? IMO, I don't want the person teaching me how to dance to have no real ballroom background, but rather have just been "trained" how to teach. So I'm curious about other people's opinions. What do you think?
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Text of ad linked by ash_sk8s:
Instructors needed, NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED, WILL TRAIN (Portland, Beaverton, Vancouver)
Date: 2011-03-09, 3:26PM PST

Are you an athlete? Do you have a creative side? Looking for a job that you can turn into an IDENTITY? Whether you were a cheerleader, a break-dancer, or a football player - we have a job that beats any desk job out there! [studio] is looking to train fun & motivated people to become successful dance instructors. We provide the training and all we need is some great people. We teach all the dances you see on TV, and soon, you could be too. Use your acting , modeling, theatre, sales, or customer service experience for something meaningful. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you have previous dance experience great! If not, WE PROVIDE THE TRAINING! Medical coverage is provided for all full time employees.
No experience needed to teach? IMO, I don't want the person teaching me how to dance to have no real ballroom background, but rather have just been "trained" how to teach. So I'm curious about other people's opinions. What do you think?
Chris Stratton had a nice post about how some studios/teachers are in the business of selling the experience of dancing whereas others are in the business of selling dance training (that's your market). Some people take private lessons because they just want to hold a handsome/pretty instructor in their arms for 45 minutes. That's cool. :) It makes them happy. You can drag someone off the street to fill that teacher position.

What I don't like is when students get the experience of dancing, but are told they are being trained to become a good dancer. :mad:
I interviewed at an Arthur Murray, having had quite a bit of training, able to lead and follow, had experience teaching and held a certification and they didn't want me. I was later told that I was too "strong minded" and too "smart" by someone who used to work for the same franchisee and what they really wanted was someone who would sell blindly and never take issue with their practices. If people have no experience then they have no frame of reference.

Someone else separately told me that the franchise they worked for didn't want anyone who'd even seen ballroom dancing at a level above absolute beginners dancing socially, because they didn't want anyone to upset the "big fish, small pond" dynamic the franchise had going. No one who could go "well, they're no Bob and Julia."

This is all hearsay, but looking back since hearing this, I'm glad they passed on me. It's not a bad system, but I don't think it fosters the best dancing.

Larinda McRaven

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Staff member
It is how I started.... so it would be inaccurate to say that no good dancers/teachers come out of it.

In fact almost ALL of the American born dancers/teachers started this way. And I can name an almost endless stream of top notch competitors in the pro fields that worked their way up from scratch.

And the percentage of it working is no different than any other industry that hires and trains people off the street. Some recruits work out and some don't. Otherwise, do you think teachers are just born? They have to start somehwere.
i started my dance training at a franchise studio with a teacher who did not have much experience in dancing or in teaching. however, he was motivated. i was one of his first "regular" students and we spent our class time working out what he would teach in the group class that night -- the underlying technique and the sequencing-- quite a lot of detail. we also took many, many coaching sessions with the owner of the studio and with visiting, top level coaches. those were approached from the couple perspective -- so, he learned as much as i did. i found the overall experience benefited both of us, equally. and i found he paid very close attention to my dance progress.

when he and his wife moved to another state to open their own studio, i switched to an independent studio. my teacher there was a champion dancer and talented teacher. he helped my dancing progress and expanded my areas of knowledge. however, i did (and do) feel that i got more of a "what is appropriate to you at this stage" program than i had from the inexperienced newbie who was using the opportunity to learn as much as we could, as well as we could.

when circumstances led me to move elsewhere, i started taking lessons from two teachers who had been recruited for my by the independent studio owner. both of these teachers were also champions, one still competing (at that time). in the first case, over the two years i stayed with the teacher, we never did more than a precede step and follow -- ever. i am sure we honed the technique, and i am sure we improved, but i cannot see a social dancer, or a new dancer falling in love with dancing if they don't get more of a feel for an "entire" dance. with the second teacher, we did canned routines that he used with all of his amateur partners. i sometimes felt that i was being "homogenized" rather than polished.

life circumstances made continuing my program impossible, but i found that i could not live without dancing. so, i went back to a franchise studio (a different chain), and i said how much i could spend on a program and asked if they could make one for me. they did. i do one lesson a week (down from a hi of 12-14 hours a week with the first teacher). one week, i dance with the studio owner, a rising star champion. the other week, i dance with a young student who has graduated from newbie but whose experience is limited and strictly within their syllabus.

i find that i come to these lessons a different student. when the former-newbie teaches me a pattern, and i cannot determine my follow from what he is doing, i insist that we break it down so that i can see what he thinks will signal to me what he wants me to do, and we work on it until we have it (without my memorizing a pattern, which i will not do). when i work with the champion, when i get confused, we work on how it is similar to what i know from other contexts of dance.

i know this is long, but from the newbies and franchise studios, i got very valuable teaching and more valuable -- addicted to dancing. from the experienced independents, i got focused honing, but i would never put down any of the teachers. all of the dance teaching helped in some way, and all of it gave me the opportunity to dance!! a necessity for which i will pay all that i can reasonably afford.

go teachers! go studios! go dancers! thank you for enriching my life, and keep it up.


Well-Known Member
I have no idea what I said about this back in 2004 and am way too lazy to go back and read.

My take from where I stand today? I think that having relatively inexperienced teachers teach dance can be harmless or even helpful under certain conditions.

Off the top of my head, here are some things I'd require.
1) The gap between student knowledge and teacher knowledge has to be large enough that the student is actively learning something useful at every single lesson.

2) The teacher has to know enough technique to do no harm.

3) The studio needs to be structured in a way that allows students to be placed with teachers that best meet their needs, even if that means changing teachers at some point during their program.

4) (Perhaps most important) The teacher training program needs to be stringent, ongoing and long-term.

From what I've heard, both of the big-name franchise studios in the US try to meet my conditions and others, while providing a broad range of training to aspiring dance teachers who might not otherwise be able to teach. Eh. :cool:


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Staff member
well said...I think there is a place for every stage in teaching as there is in learning and being a student...the problem is only when one is being sold a level of competance that one is not getting ...and that can happen anywhere...


Well-Known Member
Yes. I can resonate with what little watcher said as well.

And yes. I agree. As long as there's a certain level of honesty and professionalism and the student is getting more-or-less what they asked for, it's all good. :)
As to the original point of this thread, as a consumer I find this practice somewhere between shady and reprehensible. Would you want to go to a doctor who had only recently learned the parts of the body, or an auto mechanic who had only recently seen a car? Students should of course simply demand their money back and not visit the studio again. Unfortunately, just as with doctors or mechanics, as consumers we tend to let these things slide, often because we cannot reasonably know better.

Having had my little rant, I will allow that in SOME cases newbie instructors could provide adequate instruction for the money, or even better than a poor or disinterested high level instructor. Really depends on the student.

But in the end, this is yet one more example of "caveat emptor," which applies to ballroom dancing as well as anything else.


Well-Known Member
Again: I have no idea what I said seven years ago when I was younger and a lot less mellow.

To me, this situation is similar to getting eyeglasses.

If I need reading glasses, the optician can help me. If I need treatment for eye pain, the optometrist is my man. If I need surgery, only the ophthalmologist will do.

Dance teacher levels are loosely similar, IMV. Not the same. I'm not arguing the same. Please don't go for my jugular, anybody.

I think it's silly to argue that a brand new, two-left-feet, off-the street student needs a champion standard teacher (ophtalmologist, in my analogy above) for her/his very first lesson. The newbie wouldn't be able to grasp what's being said. And the champ would be wasting her/his time, IMV.

If there's a debate, I think it should be about what it takes to be a decent optician/beginning teacher, in the dance world.
2) The teacher has to know enough technique to do no harm.
Good luck!

Students who are lucky enough to start off with one of the minority of teachers who have sound personal technique are at a huge advantage, since they are less likely to spend years practicing bad habits which later have to be changed. Even certification exams are mostly about what to do, not the far more critical skill of how it is soundly accomplished.
And unfortunately, even the more respected teaching exams are ultimately about rigorous details of choreography, with hardly any requirement for the usage of the body which creates the difference between achieving the figures with struggle vs. with ease.
I have mixed feelings on this subject, as I was a teacher who came out of one of those 3 month training programs, so here's the good and the bad from my point of view.

Here's the bad stuff:

  1. When I first came out of the program I was a crappy teacher. I had studied dance, teaching and psychology for months and yet without actual performance and teaching experience I was a train wreck. My first ever student put the phone down on me after taking lessons for 3 months when he realized I didn't really know what I was doing.
  2. The students who've been around the longest know that teachers come through the training program and tend to treat those new teachers poorly. It causes a tense and emotional environment, particularly in group classes. I understand how they feel, but they also forget that their teacher once came through the program.
  3. You look ridiculous during showcases, medal balls, etc. Some students look better than you! Performance ability and expression varies depending on whether the teacher has had prior performance experience, but technique is usually shocking!
  4. You only learn from one syllabus. The franchise syllabi's a very good, but also limit your view and understanding of ballroom. I couldn't believe how much info I'd missed out on from just following one syllabus.
  5. You are outright told to lie about how long you've been dancing and how you came to teach. They even give you a script to say that dodges the question.
The good stuff:

  1. The training programs are really f*%king good! I mean really. They can turn the quietest dreamer into a superstar and I really believe that. The training also doesn't stop after 3 months. Your there every day in meetings before you teach being vigorously trained and embarrassed.
  2. And because the program is really good give the newbies a year or two and they'll be amazing.
  3. Teachers are given constant support and mentorship from the higher certified teachers which means a lot of your lessons will even be chaperoned or shadowed by a Gold certified instructor.

I left and pursued my own training and am probably a better dancer and teacher for it. I left because the job became uncomfortable. I knew I shouldn't have been teaching some of the older students and was often forced to. That said, while I was there I had gave some great lessons and had some really satisfied customers.

Maybe there could be a way to offer cheaper lessons with teachers who were advertised as being less qualified. Just like when you can choose whether to have your hair cut by the master hair stylist or the cheaper assistant.

I also really love the new ballroom dancing colleges popping up to cater to those who want to learn to teach and dance at the same time. But sometimes you just can't resist an ad that says: "Ballroom Teachers Needed - No Experience Required - Full Paid Training"

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