Two dancers stretching while an instructor coaches them

What is Dance Coaching?

You may have heard the terms “dance coach” or “dance coaching” in your explorations about dance culture. But what is dance coaching exactly?

The term dance coach is often interchangeably used with a dance teacher. However, the connotation of ‘dance coaching’ is often more focused on the individualized growth of the students. Dance coaches help their students reach their goals. Let’s explore some of the qualities that define dance coaching, and you can decide for yourself whether there’s a distinction worth noting.

A Passionate Career

Dancer in red leggings stretching at ballet barre while being coached

No matter their title, a dance instructor is someone whose passion for dance and years of experience have led them to the higher calling of dance education. Some dance instructors have a degree in education or dance, while others are dancers who have used the fruits of their creative career to become teachers for a new crop of dancers.

Dance coaches can be seen leading teams of dancers to success in competitions (think dance teams, cheerleading teams, and junior companies at studios). Other times, if a dance coach is doing individual coaching, you might see them acting as motivational gurus hired for a specific purpose such as training a Hollywood actor for a role involving a heavy amount of dance. In either case, a dance coach is someone whose career is built around pushing dancers, either as individuals or a team, to a new level of performance. This can include working on choreography development, unlocking specific forms and motion, and directing and guiding general fitness training

Who Can Be a Dance Coach?

Any accomplished dancer with the drive to teach can become a dancing coach. Dance coaches can specialize in specific techniques or approaches (how great would it be to learn directly from the creator of a certain dance or dance technique?), or they may offer more general instruction to a wide variety of dancers. Whatever the approach, passion is one of the most important elements to a successful dance coach career.

Passion, and… skills and knowledge! Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced professional, a great way to gain knowledge and build upon your skillset and dance foundation is through taking classes yourself. You can learn a lot from other instructors and empathize with the plight of a dance student at any level. If you’re interested in being a dance coach, online dance instruction is a great way to either develop or improve upon the foundational building blocks of a dance career. CLI Studios offers memberships strictly for teachers that include online workshops and on-demand training. 

Woman in exercise gear adjusting a woman in black shirt facing a wall

The most successful dance coaches possess a  charismatic style of leadership that fosters trust and defines the best kind of coach-to-athlete relationship,  particularly in team coaching. Some (if not all!) of our dance instructors at CLI have this unmistakable quality, especially our resident choreographers! If you have an interest in becoming a dance coach, having access to world-class teachers and choreographers is an excellent opportunity to learn from the best in the business. Live instruction paired with libraries of online tutorials are excellent resources to tap into on your way to a professional career in dance or dance coaching.

Can a Personal Dance Coach Help Me?

You might still be picturing dance coaching as something only for beginners or competitive dancers. But the truth is, if you are a professional dancer looking to achieve a specific creative goal, then a personal dance coach can be a very helpful resource in that journey. Likewise, if you are a part of a competitive dance team looking for an extra edge in your competitive or performance career, then a dance coach can be right for you and your peers. 

Great instructors are absolutely vital to the development of dancers of all skill levels. Whether an instructor refers to themselves as a coach, an instructor, a choreographer, or a teaching artist matters less than the skills and knowledge they are providing and transferring to their students or mentees.

The person at the front of a dance class or rehearsal room has a profound impact on the outcome of any dance endeavor. In that sense, having access to world-class dance instructors is bar none the greatest privilege that an aspiring dancer can have.

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