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Dance Class: The Do’s And Don’ts

By Sarah Beth Byrum

Dancers want to be successful in class. From a young age, dancers should embrace studio etiquette in order to have the best possible dance class experience. Here are a few tips to make sure you or your dancer is getting the most out of their sessions:

Timing is everything.

Dancers should arrive shortly before their class with enough time to get shoes on, personal items put away, and ready to dance. For younger children, arriving too early can use up their patience before class begins. For older dancers, they should have time to prepare their bodies for whatever class they are entering.

Dress for success.

Come dressed for the style that you are dancing in. We have a dress code for each style. When you are in dress code, it sets a standard for how you are seen in class. It also allows you to dance to your full potential. Non dance shoes, food, and drinks (other than water) are never allowed on a dance floor. Respect your dance space.

Eyes and ears open, mouth closed.

Make eye contact with your teacher to show that you are listening.

When corrections are given to other dancers, embrace those as your own.

You should always be learning. Unless you are directly asked a question, the only voice that should be heard in class is your teacher’s. Side chatter wastes valuable class time and prevents you from taking in information. Move your body, not your lips!

Bodies speak loudly.

As dancers, we know that bodies are powerful storytellers. Your body language tells people around you what you are thinking. If you have your arms crossed, are staring off blankly, or are sinking in to your hip, you immediately look disinterested in class and your teacher may not invest more time in you. Stand up tall, relax your arms, open your eyes and put a smile on your face. If you are invested in the class, your instructor will invest more in to you.

Balance the space.

When it’s time to dance, spread out in the space and find a window where you can be seen. Make sure you are not too close or too far from the dancer next to you. When going to the ballet barre, ensure you can raise your leg without kicking the person next to you. When waiting in line for across the floor progressions, see if there are a balanced number of dancers in each line and find the spot where you can fill in.

Find a new spot in the room.

Every dancer has a place where they tend to feel comfortable dancing, but challenge yourself to find a new place. You should not always push to be front and center in the room – this can be perceived as egotistical. On the other hand, don’t always bury yourself in the back corner either – this can be perceived as a lack of confidence.

Embrace each space in the room and when you are called out on to the dance floor, find new places to dance.

To question or not to question?

There is a time and place for questions in class, and we want you to be engaged and ask for clarifications. However, before you ask a question, ask yourself the following:

1. Is it relevant?

2. Have I tried to solve the problem myself?

3. Have I given my teacher time to address everything they want to say about the movement?

Take time to dance it first before jumping straight in to a question. Also, by listening to what your teacher says, you will often hear the answer before needing to ask it.

Learn to follow.

If there are dancers in class who are older, more experienced, or have been in class longer – they have earned a spot in the front of warm ups, leading lines across the floor, etcetera. Take a step back and let them lead. You will have your turn in that leadership role as well. If you are in the leader position, take that seriously and be someone worth following.

Dance with integrity.

We are all fortunate to be a part of this beautiful dance life. When you enter the space, leave the worries of the day behind and enter the dance space with an open mind and heart. Share your passion with those around you and bring a positive attitude in to every dance class you attend. You will only get out of it what you put in.

Following these guidelines will ensure that you are getting the most out of class!

Published in collaboration with All That! Dance Company
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