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Iana Komarnytska

Basic Etiquette for Dance Students

If you are new to a dance class sometimes it may be confusing of what is appropriate or not appropriate to do there. It seams like a special place with specific atmosphere: friendly, but at the same time highly focused on the subject of dance training. Here is a simple guide for new dance explorers, as well as for dance teachers to share with their students in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

What to do and not to do in belly dance class:

 

-      Don’t chat during the class. Of course, this is not a military training, but always keep in mind that chatting

  • will make you loose focus, as well as create distractions for other participants;
  • is disrespectful towards the teacher. If you came to learn dance, focus on that. If you came to chat, go to a café across the road. Different places have different purposes. Don’t mix the two.
  • may get someone someone thinking that you are discussing their hip drop or undulation, while in fact, you may laugh recalling your yesterday’s adventures at some party.

-      Don’t correct other students in the class. You are not the teacher, and even if you have more experience and knowledge, in this specific situation, you are just the student. Let the teacher do her job, and give tips to your fellow mates only if they specifically asked you for feedback. Otherwise you are automatically put yourself in a position of superior expertise that won’t serve well to your reputation, plus it won’t encourage other people to actually listen to whatever you have to say.

-      If you are late, try to enter the class without bringing too much attention to yourself. You don’t need to notify everyone about the reasons of being late, or loud apologizes.  There is already work in process going on in the class, and everyone will appreciate if you simply won’t distract this flow.  If you feel bad about being late and would like to explain the reason, you can always do so after the class is done. This would be the polite form of doing so.

-      If late, never go to the front row, even if there is a tempting spot right in the middle. This is extremely rude to your dance mates who came on time, and already are focused on the dance. Don’t be that annoying person who suddenly comes in front and block their view of teacher or reflection in the mirror. I’m sure you wouldn’t like to experience it yourself. Instead find a spot in the back row. Every good teacher will notice if a certain space of room is overcrowded and will readjust everyone’s location, and even switch the rows throughout the class.

-      Ask questions, but never criticize the teacher in front of other people. I’m no saying that your teacher is always right and you must blindly follow her direction. Critical thinking is always good, and questioning information is important too. But there is a difference between asking a clarifying question in order to understand the subject, and questioning teacher’s authority in general by trying to show off your own “expertise”. If you have any concerns, better discuss them one-on-one, and do proper research about the topic. Also, if you are constantly doubting what your teacher says, maybe it would be better to find another teacher?..

-      No food during class. It’s good to have a bottle of water, but it’s not necessary to run to it every two minutes. Usually the teacher will do a couple of short breaks for a sip of water, but other than that: donuts and sandwiches are for cafeterias, not for a dance studio, and definitely not DURING class!

-      Better avoid strong perfumes or body lotions. It’s not only a matter of anyone’s allergies, but even your own comfort. During dancing, you sweat. It intensifies the smell of perfume and can even change it dramatically.

-      Phones on silence… I don’t think explanations are needed.

 These are just some suggested guidelines based on my own experience of being both student and teacher in various dance classes. Although we all want to have fun and enjoy our time in the dance studio, we also need to make sure that everyone contributes to creating and maintaining the best training environment, so that all participants can benefit. :)

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