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Dance Class Etiquette: The Do's and Don'ts

Updated on January 27, 2015

A Creative Space

Any seasoned dancer can tell you that the dance studio is a place where movement and expression collide. The studio is where ideas are formed and put into action. In order for art to be made, bodies must be molded. Dance class is where movers take time to improve technique and gain strength. Whether you attend African, Tap, Ballet, Hip-hop, Jazz, Modern, Latin, Folk or all of the above dance class is a place for growth through movement.

In order for dancers to get the most out of their class it's important for all dancers and instructors to follow dance class etiquette.

Preparing For Class

Have you ever gotten to a ballet class only to realize you forgot your ballet shoes? With this realization comes a dropping sensation in your tummy and the feeling that you can't possibly live past this moment! Depending on your instructor you are either asked to leave the class or allowed to dance in your socks. Don't you wish you had followed dance class etiquette and prepared your things before class?

It's important to come prepared to dance class and in order to do that you must gather your things beforehand. Check to make you sure you have whatever sort of shoes you need (ballet shoes, jazz shoes, foot thongs, etc.) and whatever attire is required for class. Bring a hair tie and bobby pins if your hair needs to be up and out of your face. Make sure you are prepared with warm ups in case the studio is chilly (no one likes dancing in an ice box).

Once you are sure you have everything you may need you are ready to attend class!

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Entering the Studio

Proper etiquette for entering your studio will depend on your instructor and specific studio rules. Although every dance room is different, here are the general rules that you'll need to follow in most studios.

1. Get to class at least 10 minutes early.

If class starts at 9 a.m. and you get there at 9 a.m. then you are late. Arriving 10 minutes before the actual start time of class will ensure that you have your hair and dance attire ready. Arriving early will also allow you time to begin warming up before class.

2. Take shoes off before entering dance studio.

Many dance studios have marley floors. Marley is easy to scratch and ruin when walked on with regular street shoes. Taking your shoes off before entering the studio will ensure that you do not get the floor dirty or scratched.

3. DO NOT enter the studio if class has already started.

Proper dance class etiquette says you should not enter a studio when class is in the middle of a combination. Many dance instructors will shoot you a nasty glare if you enter the studio late AND during a combination. If you have to enter the studio late, wait until the music stops and there is a break between combinations.

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Studio as Holy Ground

A huge part of dance etiquette is treating the studio with respect. Not only do you want to take your street shoes off before entering the studio but you want to be sure not to bring anything else into the dance space that could dirty the floor.

Food and drinks (besides water) are off limits.

Any professional dancer can tell you that it's rude to walk into the studio with your leftover Burger King and large diet coke. C'mon people, be respectful and keep the donuts and red bull in the locker room.

Respecting Fellow Dancers and Instructors

Have you ever met one of those girls? The one in class who acts like she is the only person in the room (at least the only one who matters) and she gets in your personal space without even apologizing. No one likes those girls (except for those girls).

Don't be one of those girls. Be respectful of your classmates by giving them space and making sure you do not stand in front of them in the mirror. It's also important to be respectful of your dance instructor.

How to be respectful of your dance instructor...

  • Be on time for class
  • Wear the appropriate class attire and footwear
  • Do not talk to friends once class has started
  • Pay attention to corrections and instructions given by instructor

Follow these rules and you'll never be mistaken for one of those girls. Hallelujah!

Move and Groove

The final bit of dance etiquette to remember is to give class your all. If you give one hundred and ten percent you will get one hundred and ten percent back. Exerting all your physical and mental energy in class will help both you and your classmates to grow.

So keep on movin' and groovin' my dancing friends. Keeping with the dance class etiquette will ensure that you continue to learn and grow in your dance endeavors.

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    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 

      3 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      I agree with you, as a ballroom dancer it's important that you show up on time since you're dancing with a partner. Being late means that someone could be without a partner and not able to practice dancing with someone while they're waiting for you to show up. Also, if people are being waitlisted because of the number of people in class, you can also be impacting their ability to get into the class.

      I agree with you, that you should be respectful of studio cleanliness and not be bringing messy food/drinks with you. A lot of ballroom dance studios will allow you to bring snacks, as long as you don't make a mess, and eat them on the side of the room at a table or something, and don't eat during class time.

      Regarding street shoes, most ballroom dance studios will have a carpeted area with a shoe and/or coat rack, or closet space for students to put their street shoes, bags, and coats. You can take personal items, like your purse to class with you, and just leave it on the side, but don't be dragging in a big pile of stuff and make a mess and take up space! You also should wipe your feet off before stepping onto the dance floor if you're not planning on changing into dance shoes (since they're not -absolutely necessary- for ballroom, but are recommended).

      It's also good to get there early so you can run to bathroom, freshen up, silence your cell phone/ipad/whatever so it's not beeping and making noise during class.

      Another thing I should add is that most dance studios won't allow you to record their class, unless the teacher explicitly says you can. A lot of times in group classes, the teacher will do a demonstration of the figures/patterns learned during class at the end and allow students to record it so they can use it to study for next week's class. But generally, video recording class is a no-no, and you should always ask permission before trying to sneak a recording and getting caught!

      With any social group activity, it's important to be respectful and considerate of others when you're sharing a space together.

      Happy dancing!

      Anya Brodech

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