Instructor Training

As a Master Instructor for Global Professional Dance Instructors Association (PDIA), Maria Ford trains and certifies (optional) other dance instructors to:

  • Hone their ability to communicate by accurately understanding what they do
  • Effectively communicate it using language, tools, and demonstration
  • Help students to achieve movement goals
  • Address common teaching challenges

Teacher training is ideal for any dance instructor who desires to hone his or her craft as a teacher, coach, and leader. 


The training can be completed through an intensive group workshop or through private lessons.

Skills Conveyed

Skills and topics covered include:

  • Preparing for group classes and how to control a class
  • Working privately with students
  • Properly describing actions
  • How to work with music
  • Dancing both parts of each pattern
  • Problem solving and prevention
  • How to effectively communicate concepts such as connection, grounding, timing, body movements, flight, footwork and foot positions, linking variations, vocalization, and more
  • Non-verbal methods of helping students to achieve kinetic goals
  • An much more, tailored to each instructors particular strengths and weaknesses


When you learn from Maria you can expect to be coached rather than “instructed”. Coaching is a method that provides tools and techniques, opportunities to practice and work through challenges, immediate feedback, and course corrections. As a coach, Maria strives to identify the individual’s particular strengths, weaknesses, and style to build on these and enable each student or trainee to be realize his or her full potential–not an abstracted ideal.

PDIA Certification Process

PDIA certification is an option that you may choose to pursue. The training itself is an exceptional experience that will expand any instructor’s ability, range, and confidence. Completing the training does not guarantee certification.

PDIA Certification requires:

  • A minimum of 2 years of experience as an assistant or professionally paid instructor
  • Ability to both lead and follow, demonstrate, and effectively teach both roles, of a minimum 6-pattern syllabus for each dance style
  • Testing includes a one-hour written exam (20 questions); and, a 1.5-hour oral and practical exam. A minimum grade of 60 in EACH of the three parts (written, oral, practical) is required to pass and receive a certificate.
  • The test can be repeated in the future.
  • Associated fees – please inquire.

Test/Retest Only

If you have already taken PDIA training–or if you feel that you have sufficient experience and skills–and you only wish to be tested, Maria is able to provide that service independently of the training. Admittance to the training or course is always at the discretion of the Master Instructor.

Contact Maria

Inquire with Maria about tuition fees, testing fees, arranging a group PDIA workshop, scheduling private training, or testing.

“Since beginning teacher-training with Maria Ford, I have developed a more complete understanding of a wide variety of techniques needed to teach a wide range of students. Becoming more aware of my own technique, improving my own dancing, and interacting more effectively with my teaching partner are all results of the training. I continue to learn learn better and different ways to communicate learning material. I have also come to better understand what is needed to teach the ‘other’ role, and have become a better follower as well as leader. The overall experience is always pleasant, fun, and informative. Maria tailors the material to the instructors she is training, keeping their strengths and weaknesses in mind.” – Donnie Neron

PDIA training with Maria has helped me gain more confidence & skill when it comes to both teaching others, and my own dancing. What I like most about PDIA training is that it forces you to dissect what you’re doing, and really think about what works, what doesn’t work, and why. Giving thought to and being able to explain the dance leaves me with a greater sense of knowledge for West Coast Swing. I have found that I have been able to be more clear and concise while teaching. I especially like working with Maria because she has extensive knowledge in not only dancing, but teaching/coaching in general. I find it helpful that Maria comes at teacher training from a variety of angles, and has lots of different ways to explain concepts. She has also had the answer to every teaching question I’ve ever asked, so that’s pretty awesome.” – Daria