Fred Astaire was well-known for his talents as a dancer, and he channeled those into a profitable business when he opened the first Fred Astaire Studio in New York. The company is now a chain of franchises throughout North America, and it provides lessons for ballroom, Latin-American, theater arts, and other styles of dance. Instructors have to complete the Fred Astaire Curriculum Certification to work in one of the studios.
Those interested in completing the Fred Astaire Curriculum Certification do not need to have previous dance experience, nor do they have to be particularly good dancers. Beginners are welcome into the program. However, many Fred Astaire dance instructors do have a considerable amount of previous experience as professional dancers, dance competitors, and dance instructors. Some instructors also have degrees in the fine arts, though again, it is not a requirement for entering the certification program.
The Fred Astaire Curriculum Certification includes hundreds of hours of training for beginning instructors. New recruits are enrolled in a studio training class, where they learn the same dances that are taught to students of Fred Astaire dance studios. When they master the basic steps, they are taught advanced techniques. Master coaches provide the instructor training, which includes 200 hours to become certified as a Beginner/Social Foundation teacher. Instructors continue training to receive their certification in other programs, which can take up to 1,000 hours each. The company estimates that it can take up to six years to become a fully-certified instructor.
Once student instructors complete their training, they can be tested to receive their certification. Testing involves model dance instruction to display mastery of proprietary techniques. The teaching philosophy emphasizes on making learning how to dance fun for students. Students must show that they not only understand dance techniques, but that they also can incorporate this philosophy into their teaching. If students pass this testing, they are allowed to begin teaching students at the dance studio.
Instructors are expected to receive ongoing training to keep their dance techniques strong and to learn about the newest styles. Instructors can also train in additional programs to expand their teaching opportunities. Additional training hours are required in the studio, which vary according to the program being mastered, and re-testing is given at the end of training. Instructors are also expected to actively compete in dance events to maintain a high professional profile.
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.