Etiquette for Dancers
What to Expect:
Studio etiquette is very important. It is the expectation that everyone will physically demonstrate esteem for the art form, the teachers, and other students. All guests, students, and teachers are expected to be courteous and treat one another with respect and dignity.
Be On Time:
Arriving late is disruptive to the overall flow of the class, other students and the teacher. Teachers carefully plan class lessons to build on the exercises done at the beginning of each class. If you must be late it is very important that you not enter the class unobserved after attendance has been taken. If your presence is not noted your attendance record will be incorrect and can affect advancement to the next level.
Keep your hair pulled back off your face and neck and firmly secured. Hair flying about can be distracting, get in the eyes and cause problems with spotting freely during pirouettes. Ponytails and braids can be dangerous, hitting you or someone else during class.
Do not wear jewelry to the studio or during class. Necklaces, bracelets, and dangling earrings can fly off and hit someone, become caught during partnering class and ripped out or cut your partner, or break into pieces on the floor creating hazardous dancing conditions. We do allow small earrings.
Being respectful to others means wearing clean clothes and clean smelling shoes. Attend to your personal hygiene. Shower and use antiperspirant or deodorant (keep some in your dance bag) before coming to class. Avoid strong perfumes or colognes. Expression of the hands is very important in dance. Please keep them clean, with no chipped fingernail polish.
Show others you have respect for yourself by coming to class clean, neat, and well put together.
Dress Like a Dancer:
Follow the dress code policy. The dress code allows the teacher to see your physical movement and make the proper corrections. Being properly dressed shows the teacher you are serious about your art form. You will feel more confident and dance better when properly dressed for class.
Wear proper street clothes as well as proper street shoes when arriving and leaving the studio. Dance shoes should never be worn outside on concrete or asphalt surfaces, as it will ruin them very quickly. Remember, how you enter an establishment or room says a lot about who you are as an individual and what you are there to do.
Dancers are polite ladies and gentlemen. They should not lean against the wall, barre, or piano (if an accompanist is present for class). Sitting down unless directed to do so is not acceptable; and dancers should never chew gum during class.
Rudeness to teachers, peers, and the accompanists is absolutely unacceptable in ballet, for which you may be dismissed from class or even expelled from the school. Yawning, talking, whispering, or having private giggle sessions with your friends is considered rude behavior.
Dancers are in class to work, watch and listen, especially when combinations are being demonstrated. At higher levels students are expected to know the proper vocabulary and be able to pick up steps quickly and correctly. Attention is important. Teachers may not show the combination more than once.
Perform Entire Combinations as Given:
It is not only distracting but is also incredibly rude and disrespectful to your teacher to do combinations other than the way the combination was given. Any physical problems should be discussed with the teacher before the class begins so the teacher understands why you may not be doing a step to your fullest potential.
Finish every combination no matter what. Even if you are having difficulty, ballet discipline requires that you finish a combination to the best of your abilities and with as much grace as you can. Stomping your feet, making faces, making rude verbal noises or comments, or showing your frustration or other negative emotions is considered inappropriate.
Where to Stand:
If you are new in class, notice whether the other dancers have a set place at the barre. Ask the teacher to suggest a spot for you to stand. Otherwise, find an empty place or ask your fellow classmates if there is room for you to stand next to them. Make sure you have enough room to extend your legs fully in front and behind yourself without hitting the person standing next to you.
When class moves to the center the teacher may find a place for you in line. In most schools lines rotate when repeating combinations so all students get the opportunity to check their technique in the mirror (this is what the mirrors in class are for). In class no one is allowed to hide in the back and become a habitual follower. All must take a turn at being in front and on their own. If lines do not rotate, it means the teacher trusts you to be an example and a leader to others. Working hard to stand in the front of the class is considered an honor and usually is given to the best students.
When moving across the floor or from the back to the front of the room, take your position in line and be ready to go. If you’re not intending to go, make it clear to others by getting out of the way.
Dancers should always take their dance bags with them to class. Do not take a chance by bringing expensive items to the studio. Take your dance bag with you into the studio and look for the designated area to put your dance bags. Make sure it is safely out of the path of dancers and put it where you can keep an eye on it.
Drinking Water During Class:
It is good to drink water before and after class ends. Drinking water between barre exercises or center exercises is generally not allowed. It is inappropriate to drink water while a teacher is giving a combination. If the teacher allows, students may drink water from a water bottle between barre and moving to the center. Drinking water from a bottle with a secure closable lid is very important. If water spills on the dance floor the flooring could quickly and easily be ruined, requiring expensive repairs and causing class to be canceled for those repairs.
Permission to Leave Class:
Dancers should always ask permission to leave the studio while class is in progress, even if ill. To disappear from class without permission is unacceptable. If you must leave class early, quietly catch the teacher’s attention at the end of a combination, wave thank you or curtsy and silently leave. Always try to speak with the teacher before class begins to let them know you will have to leave early. This will cause less distraction and not disrupt the flow of class when you leave.