Suggested Dance Studio Teacher-Instructor Salary Step Scale

First written April 4, 2012 on my Blogger The Digital Dance Studio


The original business model for a dance studio was one teacher who taught all subjects, levels and ages. The current basic business model is an owner, an office manager, and several teachers (teaching is dependent upon availability). Hiring practices are in general universal, teachers/owners hire former students or friends. Salary schedules vary dependent upon geographical areas. The model presented here is based on a public-school model. Teachers are hired on the basis of education and prior dance teaching experience, dance subject genre they have proven they can teach, and ability to teach a specific age level.

New teachers in public school systems are generally given the more behaviorally challenging classes to teach and multiple subjects, until it is viewed by administration they can handle a variety of situations. Studio owners may choose to follow a similar procedure. First year teachers (those new to a studio) could teach new students (students without experience), multiple subjects (classes with fewer students), while the classes and subjects who been with the facility for a period of time could teach the returning students and the advanced/competitive classes.

Each teacher until they have been with a school system for a period of time, usually three years is subject to three classroom observations a year and an annual review with an administrator. No one is guaranteed a job until year five, and even then some teachers do not get tenure. Dance studios could adopt a similar procedure.

Basically, you have five steps based on dance teaching experience, education and time with your facility. Each step has specific duties assigned for the teacher to be determined by the studio. Hourly steps can be used or a yearly salary, whichever the owner prefers. (Check with your accountant for tax verification of which way is better for you.)

Hourly Steps

Step 1 ($22 per teaching hour) the teacher duties include: lesson plans, choreography, basic attendance taking, classroom management and facility correspondence (signing birthday and get-well cards for the students in their classes).

Step 2 ($25 per teaching hour) is the same as step 1 but it is the second year the teacher is in the facility.

Step 3 ($30 per teaching hour): is the same as steps 1 and 2 but the teacher is given intermediate students to teach and could be offered a partial scholarship to a dance convention-conference but the studio only pays for half of the cost.

Step 4 ($35 per teaching hour) has the same duties and responsibilities as the first few steps and is additionally given choreography for a Junior level competitive or performance team, given name recognition at events as the teacher of the groups, and is offered one session of professional development (convention, workshop etc.).

Step 5 ($45 per teaching hour): the same as Step 4 but teaches the advanced level of students, is offered a summer convention to attend including travel, lodging and banquet fees, a teacher training session, whatever the studio can afford and is agreed upon by the owner and the faculty member and is part of a contract.

Teachers until year three are given the yearly review based on the three observations by the owner. No one is guaranteed a job until after the yearly review. Parents and students also have a chance to review the teacher via evaluation sheets given out the second to last day of a session. All faculty members are responsible for keeping lesson/choreography plans up to date and student skill placement sheets for future class placement/recommendation.

Step scale, evaluation forms, lesson plan forms, choreography by design form, and student skill level evaluation forms should all be kept in the faculty handbook given by the owner to the faculty member. All forms should be discussed at the first faculty meeting of the year and during the second interview of the hiring process.

Faculty could be paid on a bi-weekly basis or for a session. If faculty is for the year no deductions should be applied for school vacations or holidays. Faculty could be advised (it could be written into the contract) that performances, rehearsals, and shows are included in the salary scale. Facilities usually charge for sessions and include a statement about clients not being charged for missed classes. Paying faculty one wage continuously could give teachers a feeling of stability and value. The scale is suggestion based only, modifications for team fees, traveling to competitions and other inclusive payments should be included in the scale. It is dependent upon the facility’s usage.

in dance there are no strangers, only friends who haven’t met yet…

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©Jann Davis, April 24, 2021 All rights Reserved

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