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The teaching of dance is a highly specialized subject and it is essential that proper training be sought, and professional qualifications gained, through one of the examining dance teacher organizations recognized by the British Dance Council. The examining bodies offer professional qualifications in Ballroom, Latin American, Disco/Freestyle/Rock'n'Roll, Sequence, Country and Western, and the Alternative Rhythms, or Club Latino, embracing dances such as Salsa, Merengue, Bacchata and Mambo. Links to the various dance teacher organizations are available on the 'Contacts' page or Teachers' Committee home page.
Each of the recognized teacher organizations offers examinations at some, or all, of the following levels: Student Certificate, Associate, Member/Licentiate and Fellowship. Some of them are also able to offer Government recognized QCA and NVQ style qualifications to augment the practical examinations described below.
Student or Provisional Member :
This is the first examination available with some examining bodies and is taken by a student who is training to become a teacher of dancing. It is NOT a qualification to teach dancing but allows prospective teachers to join a teachers' organization and have access to the lectures and courses run by that organization. Holders of a Student Member would normally work under the supervision of a qualified teacher if they were permitted to give instruction in a dance school. Some examining bodies may not allow a member of this level to remain an amateur dancer/competitor.
This is the first actual qualification for a teacher of dancing. Teachers who have qualified to this level will often still work under supervision and continue their studies.
Member or Licentiate:
For continued professional development candidates may progress to the Member, or Licentiate, level examination. This examination can only be taken after a further period of study, the time period being determined by the examination board of the teacher organization concerned. This time period must be of sufficient duration to enable the qualifying teacher to have gained the necessary experience and wider knowledge required for the new level.
Teachers progressing their qualifications to Member level are eligible to apply to the British Dance Council for a licence to judge in the style of dance in which they hold their qualification.
Teachers progressing their qualifications to Licentiate level are eligible to apply to the British Dance Council for a licence to judge Championships in the style of dance in which they hold their qualification.
A further period of study and teaching experience is necessary before teachers can attempt to qualify at Fellowship level. The training for this examination is more intensive and teachers attaining this level are expected to be capable of training other teachers. For those holding the Fellowship qualification there is the possibility of progressing to being appointed an examiner within their teacher organization.
The examination will generally consist of two parts. The candidate first has to demonstrate the ability to dance the syllabus figures to music with a suitable partner, unless the dance concerned is for solo dancing e.g. Freestyle. The second part of the examination is an oral examination during which the candidate will be asked questions on the syllabus figures and will be expected to show the ability to demonstrate the figures solo, both as leader and follower.
Members of the public, and particularly parents who are looking for a teacher for their children, are strongly advised to ascertain that the teacher they choose is professionally qualified with one of the dance teacher organizations recognized by the British Dance Council. Professionally qualified dance teachers will be aware of all the important requirements such as; Child Protection legislation, appropriate insurance cover, the necessary music licences and safe teaching practice.