How Do You Become a Highland Dance Teacher?
Whether you’re looking to become a highland dance instructor, or you’re simply looking into the qualification process for Saorsa Studio instructors, this post is for you.
At Saorsa Studio, we value professionalism and expertise in our dance instruction, which means that all of our instructors are certified with the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance and in good standing with our governing body, ScotDance Canada.
We’ll be covering the details of how to become a certified instructor, as well as why being a highland dance instructor is so magical. Saorsa’s incredible team of instructors will be dropping tips and tricks, along the way!
Note that Saorsa Studio instructors are all certified by the SDTA, so this post will be in reference to SDTA’s certification process. Other examining branches may vary.
Who Can Become A Dance Instructor?
As soon as you turn 16, you’re eligible to take your first professional dance exam and become a certified instructor.
How Do You Become a Dance Instructor?
All highland dance instructors become qualified by taking a professional exam, and subsequently maintaining their membership with an examining body.
Professional exams are composed of an oral and practical component, testing prospective instructors’ knowledge and skill in dance. The minimum certification is that of an Associate’s exam, and this is most often conducted testing participant’s proficiency with the Highland dances (rather than National dances, though the Associate National exam also exists).
Taking the Associate’s exam can be nerve-wracking like any other dance exam, but it allows successful candidates to register as a member with the examining branch. In our case, that means becoming a member of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA), and maintaining annual membership.
The Associate’s exam is only the first of several professional exams out there. The Members and Fellows exams push candidates to develop even deeper understandings of dance. Then, the Judge’s exam allows dance professionals to judge highland dance competition.
Tips For A Successful Associate's Exam
The Life of a Dance Teacher
Why we love what we do
"An experience that made me love being a dance teacher was any time I’ve worked with a dancer and truly gained dance families members from not just the dancer, but their entire family. It’s the emails of gratitude or the extra long hugs from a dance mom after their dancer achieved what they set out to do. It’s those positive and supportive experiences that show you that the community & connection are what dance is really all about."
Looking to Further Your Knowledge?
Nicole Odo, Saorsa Studio owner and principle instructor, has taken many professional exams, including the Judge’s exam.
Her experience preparing for and successfully taking the Judge’s exam in 2022 is chronicled on our Highland Dancer Blog. Read her Dancer Diary to get the full scoop of how far a career in dance can take you!