Ever wanted to teach at a big dance event?

But maybe you haven’t won any dance competitions…

…and maybe you have no desire to compete?

Is it still possible to get hired?

Shouldn’t a teacher be hired based on their teaching skills and not how many dance competitions they’ve won?


Yes, it is possible…

…and yes, you have a chance.


IF…you have a solid process AND are willing to put in the work.

I’ll give you a very effective process below and…

…lucky for you, most people won’t take the time and won’t put in the work.

Heck, most people won’t even read this sentence because it’s not bolded.

So if you are one of the few who reads this sentence, you have a lot less competition and with less competition, it’s going to be even easier for you to rise to the top.

Plus, the process for getting there is a lot of fun too!


Here’s the 5 step process for how I went from an engineer with two left feet to being hired for over 40 events each year…

…including many of the biggest dance events in the world.

Step 1

I started teaching locally while taking classes to improve my dancing, teaching, & business processes.

NOTE: Studying these 3 fundamental elements never stops.

Plus, this step sets up the next step for success (as well as each future step sets up the step after it).

I ran several local workshops and used them to improve my teaching & used my business processes (that I learned from step 1 above) to make them financially successful (and eventually to get them to be sold out).

NOTE: Remember, this step makes step 3 much easier.

Step 3

I started teaching workshops in other cities that couldn’t afford to bring in the big names & taught them how to make the workshops financially successful.

NOTE: There are a lot of small scenes around the world that need this sort of help. Huge demand with a very small group of teachers doing this, makes it much easier to be successful, especially when you are first starting out.

And remember, a large part of successfully booking workshops in other scenes was not just the fact that I was improving my dancing, teaching & business processes (from step 1), but also because I had learned how to put on a successful workshop (from step 2), and I was sharing that information with my organizers, so they could be successful, even if it was their very first workshop.

Step 4

I taught 40+ workshops each year for several years.

NOTE: Each workshop leads to booking more workshops (assuming you do a good job and know how to convert future workshops, which are all things you are learning from step 1).

Of course, you don’t have to teach that many workshops, but the more you teach, the more your reputation will get out there, and the more people will seek you out.

Plus, it’s a REALLY FUN way to make your living!

Step 5

I started getting hired by many of the biggest dance events in the world.

NOTE: By this point, I’d already taught (and helped organize) hundreds of workshops, and I’d use those experiences to constantly improve myself (along with continuing to improve myself by taking more classes in the 3 fundamentals, as discussed in step 1)…

…so the big events were seeking me out because I had the chops to teach killer classes AND bring in lots of students so they can be financially successful.

And I know I’ve already mentioned this but I feel it’s so important, it bears restating multiple times…

…throughout all five steps, I was (and still am) constantly taking classes to improve my dancing, teaching, and business processes.

So if you want to be sought out and hired by the big events, improve in the 3 fundamentals from step 1…

…but don’t wait until you are perfect in them to start teaching.

Start teaching now and use that experience along with the lessons you are taking to improve yourself.

Just like as a social dancer, you improve the fastest by BOTH dancing and taking lessons to improve your dancing…

…as a teacher, you’ll improve the fastest by BOTH teaching and taking lessons to improve your teaching.

I know that might sound like a lot of work, and it is…

BUT, it’s super fun work, as long as you are passionate about giving high quality dance lessons to lots and lots of people.

NOTE: While I do have some competition titles to my name, for the first 8 or so years, I was too afraid to even mention them, for fear of bragging.

Plus, the comps back then were not on youtube (and many of them weren’t even officially videotaped), so many of the people who hired me didn’t know I’d won any competitions.

I’ve started training others to do the same, and it seems to be working even for those who you don’t have any titles.

Follow this structure, and it will help you get hired much faster and much more often, with or without any competition titles to your name!

Got questions? Ask them in the comments below…

  • Roxanne FloresMuller says:

    My husband and I did exactly as your wrote in your post/blog about teaching without having competition experience. We have organized and hosted an annual Balboa weekend event here in Anchorage, AK. We brought up instructors in addition to volunteering our time to teach a few classes to reduce expense and to gain some teaching exposure. We own our own studio and teach a variety of styles. We are always looking for opportunities to teach at workshops in the lower 48 but have struck out. We have offerred to teach for free in exchange for someone to use their miles to fly us down and we are willing to stay with a host family just to gain exposure and experience in the lower 48 and to increase our reputation as instructors back home. What is your advice to someone whose made the contacts, have networked but still get into the big world of event instruction.
    Roxanne Flores-Muller

  • Hi Roxanne FloresMuller!  Great question!  

    It sounds like the step you are struggling with is getting your lower 48 state contacts to actually book you for a workshop.  In this case, there are 3 possible problem areas.  Improving any of these should work, improving all of them is even better.  

    Here they are in order from most to least difficult to improve when starting out.

    3. Your offer might not be intriguing enough.  

    Teaching for free is not enough to make an offer worthwhile.  A lot of people value their time more than their money, so you’ve got to make sure that what you are offering them is extremely enticing…even if you are offering it for free.  

    Take a look at your classes that you are offering and ask yourself, “Would I pay top dollar for someone to come teach these lessons or are these the same lessons (and class descriptions) everyone else offers?”  To really be at the top level, takes a strong understanding of what is being taught around the world but luckily, this isn’t required, it just helps.  Obviously, your class descriptions don’t have to be the best in the world, but the better they are, and the more unique they are to you, the more likely people will want to have you teach for them.

    2. You might be choosing less than ideal contacts for your traveling workshops. 

    The higher the level of the person and their dance scene, the more picky they will be about who teaches for them.  So while you are improving your dancing, teaching, processes (and class descriptions), focus on offering workshops to the newer scenes that are excited about you and what you are offering at this point in your career.  As you do this, your level will increase, your reputation will increase, and you’ll start teaching the higher level scenes and dancers (assuming you keep doing step 1 in this article).

    Note: Since you run a studio and put on workshops locally where you bring in other instructors…you’ve probably figured out how to make those workshops successful (maybe even sold out a few of them), right?  If not, the first step is to figure out how to make them consistently successful. Then once you have a strategy that consistently works, offer to teach how to run a successful workshop to the contacts that you want to bring you out.  My guess is that you are not making this clear enough in your offer for your workshop or you are contacting “less than ideal” organizers.  Of course, if someone already knows how to put on a sold out workshop, this will not be as exciting an offer, but for those who are still struggling to break even, or those who haven’t even tried to put on a workshop yet, this will be extremely intriguing.  They might hire you solely for this purpose and then you have the chance to wow them with your classes so they bring you back again and again.

    1. You might be skipping steps in the relationship.
    Just like you wouldn’t propose marriage to someone you just met in a bar, you probably don’t want to propose a workshop with someone until they are at the appropriate stage in the relationship. Otherwise, you risk annoying them and coming off as pushy.

    I break any relationship down into these 9 steps:
    1. Find prospects
    2. Build interest
    3. Engage
    4. Subscribe
    5. Convert
    6. Aspire
    7. Ascend
    8. Endorse
    9. Raving Fan

    Once I’ve found a possible organizer, I don’t jump straight to step 5 and try to book a workshop. I start by building interest, and take each step, one step at a time.  In my free teacher training that I’m running this week, I go into way more detail about these 9 steps and how they work for offering lessons to your students and it works very similar for having organizers hiring you for traveling workshops.  If you are interested, you can access the free training series here: https://danceinstructorblueprint.com/your-ideal-student-journey

    Warning: It’s an interactive training, so I’ll be taking it down in 1-2 more weeks.

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    About the author 

    Andrew Sutton

    Andrew Sutton is a Vice World Champion Lindy Hop Instructor, and one of the original founders of the Fusion partner dance movement. He uses his extensive research in over 254 cities across 38 countries (& 44 dance forms) to help dance instructors be more successful in their teaching & finances during their pursuit to help their students...Make Every Dance Amazing!

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