Dance Classroom Etiquette – Part 2

So, it occurred to me that my previous post about dance classroom etiquette focused a lot on how to make sure as a student you are respectful to the teacher and overlooked a whole other area of etiquette on how to be respectful to your fellow classmates. Here are a few thoughts…

  • Talking in Class
    • During class, don’t try to talk to your friends/classmates unless you have been given a break. Your friend/classmate might not want to risk talking to you and getting in trouble, and often the teacher will assume you are both guilty even if one of you was trying to do the right thing and not talk.
    • I always tell my students that if you simply must say something to a fellow student during class, the teacher should not even notice it (and it should be done quickly in a very quiet voice). In fact, I have even kicked out groups of students from class because I glanced over and saw them all (at least appearing to be) talking during class. Looking back, I know that some of the students were more guilty than others, but to keep the class on track, had to punish all that were associated “with the crime.”
    • If another student in class will not stop trying to talk to you, I recommend to just walk away from them so that you don’t get in trouble. This can be difficult to make yourself do sometimes if the talking student is a friend of yours, but you are in class to dance not to socialize.
  • Switching Lines
    • In the center, the correct protocol is that you switch your lines every combination (meaning those who were in the front line go to the back line, and vice versa — if there are more than two lines, they gradually rotate forward with the front line becoming the last line, 2nd line becoming the 1st line, and so on).
    • As a teacher, I try to remind my students to do this, but I’m often thinking about other things, correcting students, etc. and I’ll be totally honest, I forget to tell my students to switch lines sometimes. Once students reach about age 11-12, though, (or perhaps even earlier) they should know to do this on their own so that they all get a chance to stand in the front. If your teacher forgets to tell you to switch, it would be totally all right to raise your hand and ask  the teacher if they would like for you to switch lines.
  • Barre spots
    • If you are new to a class, are moved up to a higher level, or something along those lines, you should be respectful of the more “senior” dancers in the class. The main issue that usually comes up is where everyone stands at the barre because many students (and definitely professionals!) can be very territorial and have strong preferences for their “barre spot.”
    • If you are a newer dancer to the class, I would recommend asking one of your classmates what spots are open or where they think would be a good place to stand. As you attend the class on a regular basis, you will start to get a feel for where people like to stand and can find your own “spot” to claim.
    • If you are a more senior dancer in class, don’t freak out and start giving dirty looks if a new girl or guy takes your spot at the barre one day or stands in the center where you usually like to stand. Dancers needs to be adaptable, plus you shouldn’t be spending too much of your time and energy freaking out over things like this when you need to be focusing on your dancing.
    • If it truly becomes an issue, I would speak privately to your teacher about it.

I’m sure there are other issues that I could include in this post, so I will add them as I think of them!


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