What's the best way to prepare a student for a career as a dance teacher? In particular, I could see her teaching dance to children or adults with special needs or physical limitations.
(Oh my gosh. That moment when you realize that maybe the struggles she's faced were lessons and she's on the road she's on for a reason, and it could potentially lead to something amazing that could bring so much JOY to so many people, and the world is going to be kinder and more beautiful because she struggled .... wow... give me a minute... talk amongst yourselves...)
OK, so anyway, how would she prepare for this career? She is not even remotely interested in the traditional college route, but is open to the idea of taking specific courses that interest her. I think some kind of volunteer work or apprenticeship might help, not even so much dance-specific, since nothing like that exists here, but maybe... something else? I'm drawing a blank. Toss your best ideas at me.
What Farrar said for classical ballet taught to serious students.
But you're talking more about dance as therapy (physical or occupational or emotional), or dance as fitness, yes?
You can go to college for dance, and perhaps "dance therapy" or something similar, but be very careful, as it can be expensive and you may not get the return on investment you'd like after spending all that money. If you go that route, look at lots of schools and dig deep into their curricula and philosophy to get the right fit.
Our family has had dance teachers who went the classical ballet route, taking serious classes for years as a child then work with a professional company. I have to say I much prefer these teachers, regardless of what genre or setting they are teaching in, because they have a foundation in both the actual dance part, but also in the ritual and etiquette of teaching class, which makes them very effective teachers. Even serious hip-hop teachers, who are unlikely to have a classical ballet background, are much better if they've cross-trained in genres like jazz and African and perhaps some contemporary, and if they've had significant company experience and/or training.
I've also had fitness-dance classes taught by both highly/formally trained teachers and those who have a more "direct entry" background. While there have been some good teachers who have more talent and instinct than formal training, I've found that most of the really good ones turn out to have had serious dance training (not always ballet) as teens and young adults. The reverse is also often true; those who are not great often simply don't have the quality dance background/training, even if they have the Zumba certification or what-have-you. The key qualities for a fitness instructor are enthusiasm and the ability to run a class in a professional way, sensitive to how the students are doing with the ability to change plans on the fly to meet the needs of their students. Direct-entry is possible, but the more quality training they have, in more-or-less any dance genre with good teachers, the better they can be.
I've also been part of a studio where the student body includes both serious dancers and those we call "once-a-weekers". The OWs include a variety of kids with special needs. For these students, while some amount of dance training is useful, what's key is a sensitive, thoughtful teacher. Some of the teachers at this studio came up as kids in the studio, and while they've had some formal training, it's nowhere near what teachers at a pre-pro, company school would have. But for the special needs kids, that's not important. It's the teacher's ability to nurture the child's ability and to help them enjoy expression and movement though dance that's key.
What local resources does your dc have? Do you have quality classes with excellent teachers? Can your dc spend 15-20 hours taking class every week, year-round? Do you have access to master classes, ideally studio-based (because of fewer students) or perhaps at dance conventions?
I would also suggest that your dc watch lots and lots of dance performances in a wide variety of genres. So many dance students have really only seen their local studio's recital, or perhaps other studios at competitions, which doesn't really cover the full dance world. Get out and see dance - ballet, of course, but also contemporary, African, hip-hop, ballroom, tap, jazz, musical theater, "audience pleasing" things, alternate/fringe things - really everything you can find!