Dance Classroom Etiquette

All right, well I PROMISE the ballet bun-making post IS coming soon. But until I get it ready, here are some tips that all dance students should know on the topic of classroom etiquette. Trust me, your teachers will be so thankful that you know these things!!!

  1. There should be no talking during class. If you absolutely must speak to another student about something, it should be done without the teacher hearing or noticing (in other words, VERY QUIETLY). The teacher should never have to tell you to stop talking.
  2. It is ok to talk quietly when the teacher gives you a break, but all talking should stop once the teacher returns to the studio. You should also stand back up when the teacher comes back in to show that you are ready to continue when he/she is ready.
  3. If you are late to class, the polite thing to do is wait until the music stops to enter the studio. You should also quickly apologize to the teacher for being late and cause as little disruption as possible as you join the class.
  4. You should always be facing and looking at the teacher when he/she is demonstrating. And of course, NEVER TALKING while he/she is demonstrating.
  5. After the teacher has finished demonstrating, you should stand ready at the barre (or in center) before the music starts.
  6. When a teacher is demonstrating a combination in the center, you should always remain behind him/her.
  7. When a teacher gives a correction (to ANYONE!) you are expected to listen to it and apply it to yourself. Don’t just stand there and look at the teacher while he/she corrects – TRY IT YOURSELF!
  8. When other students are dancing in the center, you should never walk across the teacher’s line of sight while he/she is watching students. The correct thing to do is walk around the back of the studio without drawing attention to yourself.
  9. Do not “make requests” for steps or combinations that you want to do in class.  Honestly, most teachers find this to be VERY annoying (but they might never tell you that)! Teachers take lots of time to plan out the combinations they give in class, so please respect this and let them do their job!
  10. Don’t ask a teacher “Am I doing this right?” or “Can you watch me do this?” in the middle of class.  Don’t worry; your teacher is watching you (as well as the other students, of course)! Most teachers also find this to be annoying, plus it slows down the pace of the class. If you are concerned that you truly are not doing a step correctly, ask the teacher for help after class or request a private lesson.
  11. If you don’t know a center combination very well, do not go in the first group. Watch the first group(s) and figure it out before you do the combination yourself. Or better yet, ask the teacher to clarify before he/she starts the music by raising your hand.
  12. If you are doing a combination and suddenly forget part of it, do not burst into laughter, make a face, run away strangely, etc. You should remain calm and try to watch other students to catch up. No matter what, finish the combination the best you can!
  13. When marking a dance or combination, you should AT LEAST do the arms/upper body full out.
  14. If you have a question about a step or combination, wait until the teacher is finished demonstrating before raising your hand to ask a question.
  15. When you finish a combination (particularly at the barre but also in center), hold the final position until the teacher signals that you can relax.
  16. Do not rehearse another teacher’s choreography during class – ESPECIALLY not while a teacher is demonstrating the combination you should be learning. Not only is it rude, but you aren’t going to learn what you should be learning at that moment. Practicing choreography is GREAT, but know the appropriate time… before class, after class, and during a break are good times.
  17. Try your very hardest not to get emotional and/or cry in class or rehearsal. Although you love to dance and it is very close to your heart, a big part of being a dancer is learning to accept critique and be professional about it. There will be times that you will get upset, but TRY VERY HARD not to do it in the studio.
  18. Also, your teachers understand that we all have good and bad days, but if you are in a bad mood, your teacher should not be able to notice it. Think of this as practice for if one day you have to perform on a day that you are in a bad mood. Still have to look pleasant and smile!
  19. While your teachers DO want to know about any major injuries you have that might prevent you from safely doing certain steps in class, you don’t need to tell them about all of your aches and pains. Ballet is a physical art form, and you WILL have sore muscles, blisters, bruised toenails, joint pain, etc. Try to only mention the more major injuries to your teachers so you don’t seem like you are complaining all the time.
  20. If the teacher gives you time to stretch, they expect you to STRETCH! Talking quietly while stretching is ok with most teachers if it truly is a stretch break (but might not be with some teachers) as long as there is productive stretching going on. Sitting for 5 minutes in the frog stretch or butterfly stretch while talking does not count as productive!
  21. Don’t ask for frequent water breaks. Ideally, bring a water bottle to class with you so you don’t have to leave the studio to get water, but if you absolutely must go to the water fountain, the best time is between barre and center (which is also the appropriate time to go to the restroom if you absolutely must during class).
  22. Do not sit down, lean on the barres, or lean on the walls during class. I also prefer that you not stretch while other groups of students are doing a combination because you can learn a lot by watching the other groups, listening to corrections the teacher calls out, and practicing the steps from the combinations on the sides of the studio.
  23. Always thank the teacher (and pianist if there is one) after class. They DO notice if you don’t!
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