How much do Dance Teachers really get paid?

Hi, i am thinking about being a dance instructor because i love dance and i just wanted to know what the average dance instructor made yearly, and does this differ from the franchised studios to the independents. For example, does Arthur Murray pay more than an independent or less, and if any of you all out there work for and AM studio or FA or independent, if you can give me a rough average of what you make a year that would help me know if being a dance instructor is worth pursuing because of right now even though i love dance it is EXPENSIVE:roll:, my lessons cost $60 a lesson for 45min, so tell me if you think this is high or not, and i do take at an AM because the are not any independents around and there is only one other studio which is a FA.
THanks a bunch?


Well-Known Member
Well, I pay $75 for 45 minutes, I think (I buy a certain number of lessons for a lump sum.) I have never asked but I would assume some of that goes to the studio and some to the instructor.

As for whether it's worth persuing as a career--how good are you? Sorry, that's crass, but really, money would be only part of what I thought about if I were deciding whether or not to teach. What level do you dance at, what styles, what experience do you have teaching anything? Do you have the right kind of personality for teaching? Just loving something is not enough--I love horseback riding, in my own love/hate way, and I was very good at it, but I'd make a lousy trainer.
As I understand, the price you pay for your lessons has little relation to how much a staff instructor (whether franchise or independent studio) receives. I've heard that one might expect something like $15-17/lesson (not sure if this is for a new or experienced instructor). As the instructor becomes more experienced, the studio continues charging you the same lesson rate, but the instructor gets a larger percentage. It could work for you if you just want basic training without paying anything out of pocket, and you're doing it because you want to share dancing with newbies - it's not free, you're paying with your time and commitment (non-compete agreement?) to the studio. But don't expect your studio to train you up to gold/open competitive level.


Well-Known Member
Well, the previous owner of the studio I often attend did tell me she paid her instructors $15.00 an hour for the time they were in the studio and not just for the actual hours of teaching. I don't know how closely this follows the norm though.


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Staff member
yes, plz bear in mind that unless the instructor, not just the studio, is independent....that fee is highly unlikely to be the amount that goes to the instructor...perhaps some of our pros can pm you


Well-Known Member
Would like to mention that the independent instructors I know are generally happier as independents as opposed to working for a studio, and the money they are paid by their students is all theirs.


Well-Known Member
I know our instructors are paid when they're working a party. No idea how it works for lessons. I also know that the owner reads these forums and so does at least one instructor, so possibly they could say something in general? (I for one am not asking how much specifically. Not my business.)

I am pretty sure most aren't working other jobs, though, because I cannot see where most of them would find the time. At least not without giving up sleeping and eating anything but what they grab on the run.


Well-Known Member
I worked part-time for a franchise for two years from 6-10 pm, M-F, required to be there, but only paid (a PITTANCE!) for the hours I taught, and the party. And I worked another job.
The third year I went full time at the dance studio.
The next year I went independent, and then I started to make a little bit of money.


Well-Known Member
First--I believe by your avatar, you are a lady ?-- its very relevant to your Q

I will give you an insight into the workings of my profession .Have owned
numerous studios over the yrs, and the format changes little .

1-- Location-- where you live, is by and large, going to determine your income . Larger towns offer more opportunity, but also-- more competition .

2-- ladies generaly do not have the same luxury, student wise , as men, in as much there are far more ladies taking lessons .

3-- Your income is predicated on knowledge, to a greater or lesser degree.

4--- Demand-- this depends again on the current situation where you reside.

Options-- chain schools frequently will train you , for free. However- many will only employ full time people, but will, in many cases, give you a guaranteed salary for a pre determined period ( until you get booked )

The basic hourly rate among chains can vary from $ 10--15 per hr taught, they also work on commission fees (5-10% ) and many pay for studio functions. You will, in some cases,receive free dance training-- could be daily -- could be weekly, this depends on the studios resources .

You also will be required to conform with chain school hrs-- usually 1- 10 p..m. ( some sat. in some schools ) and of course, eventually travel on w/ends .This will give you the opportunity to compete at pro/ am level .

lastly-- if you go the chain school route-- you will not, if you sever your ties, be allowed to teach for usually a minimum of one yr within a set radius of the studio location .

Independants-- Very unlikely you will recieve free training-- their system is not equipped (in 99% of schools ) . I actually did take on trainees in my Fla. schools many yrs ago.

Financially, if you are self employed, hourly rates are goverened by 2 things-- market trend and experience .
Most indy. teachers ,work anywhere between the $ 30 and 50 range , which also will include floor fees . Large metro areas may be higher rates .

Personally , I would advise you to choose the mode that suits your needs best . There is a lot to recommend chain schools . Get your self as highly trained as you are able ,within the system.

lastly-- prepare your self for Prof. exams with a nationally recog. society .

Oh and of course-- good luck .


New Member
Loving dancing is one thing. Being a great dancer is one thing. Being a good teacher is one thing. To teach effectively I think you need to have at least two of the three.
Also, you need to have had comp experience and get accreditation (theory & prac for both man and lady).
My son started 'working' at the studio at 13 - it was called helping out. He asked to do it and wasn't paid. He would just partner little girls in different lessons. I just thought he loved dancing so much he would go there as often as posssible. I was right but years later he told me that he was 'learning' at the same time. He was learning different teaching techniques from different teachers, different ways to communicate and demonstrate; differing styles of teaching. He doesn't make lots of money teaching but he is good at it, has some accreditation (with more to do later) and is a competitive dancer. He is now only 21 years old. You have to have it in your blood. He couldn't live without dancing. Do it for the 'right' reason for you.


Active Member
Only know about one studio(work there occasionally in exchange for lessons)... they have independent teachers who use their studio to teach in, and the teachers pay the studio 30% and keep 70% when they do group classes or a workshop. When these independent teachers have parties there, the studio gets 50% and the organizer/teacher gets 50% but this is because they provide someone at the door and cleanup during the party and after. I think that those same independent teachers only have to pay a floor fee of $10 or $12 to the studio when they have individual lessons...some of them add that into their price so the student actually pays it and they get their regular fee of $50-$65/hour. They dont have any teachers employed by the studio at this time(the two owners teach but thats it), so I dont know how much they keep per lesson with regards to that or if they just pay a salary.
I think it may get a little confusing as there are different sorts of teachers. My understanding is that there are:
-Staff instructor at a franchise studio
-Staff instructor at an independent studio
-Independent instructor at an independent studio
-Independent instructor who owns his/her own studio

Most people with little teaching experience start out as staff instructors. After maybe 5 years, or as many as 8, they might switch over to becoming an independent instructor, perhaps even at the very same studio. There's the exception of amateur competitors who, having built up a competitive history, might skip the staff instructor part and leap immediately to being an independent instructor.

If I recall correctly, Larinda started off as a staff instructor?
hello all. im new here! i just wanted to put my two or three cents in. i am a 25 year old dancer/chreographer and i run a professional dance company. but in order to pay my bills i teach.

i my file taxes as self-employed. and work as in independant contractor for all teaching jobs. which range from straight up dance studios, public/private after school programs, and granted programs teaching arts to children with disablities.

the prices range from $30-$55 an hour. for my age this may seem like a lot... but i have a lot of experience and i am very good at what i do. u have to love it and be more then proficient to teach. anybody CANNOT just teach. and many studios hire young kids who dont know how to teach and pay them bubkus. u need to find the kind of caliber place that will not do that.
Yearly Salary

I've worked for a large studio full-time with many teachers under a system similar to Arthur's Murray. First, your salary is highly dependent on the student to teacher ratio for your gender. For the first nine months I was working, I was not making a living teaching 10-12 lessons a week, but my workload and income tripled within three weeks after one teacher was fired and one quit. Overall, I would say an average teacher, teaching 25-30 lessons a week would expect to make about $25,000 a year (including party pay and sales commission). About half the teachers make significantly less than that, and half make significantly more -- the differences primarily due to how booked they are. While you might think how much you are paid per lesson is important, much more important is how many students the studio entrusts you with and how many of your students continue to be active year after year.

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