Dance Class Etiquette, The 10 Golden Rules Dec 16, 2005


By simply following these ‘ten golden rules’, everyone will have a great time and get the maximum benefit from their dance class or workshop.


1. Show respect for your teacher.  尊敬指導老師

In Eastern disciplines such as martial arts and yoga, the teacher is revered, worshipped and given great loyalty and respect.  Teachers have worked long and hard and made many sacrifices  to master their arts.  Many have dedicated their lives to this dance form.  Remember, choreographies are the property of the teacher.  Generally, a teacher gives permission to perform her choreographies when she teaches them.  However, this does not give you the right to teach the choreography to other students or even your own troupe members.  Ask the teacher for her policy regarding this very important legal issue.


2. Be on time.  要準時

There is no excuse for being late.  It disrupts other students and the teacher when someone arrives ten minutes late. You forego essential warm up stretches.   How would you feel if your teacher arrived ten or fifteen minutes late?   Find out  what time the studio doors open and try to be in class at least 5 minutes early.  This is will give you time to change into your tights, use the bathroom and get a drink of water!   If you are late, and we are only human so occasionally happen, quietly enter the room and position yourself on the floor.


3. Be considerate of students around you.  多體諒同學

People learn at different rates and in different ways.  Be patient with others who may not grasp the movement as quickly as you do.  Spend the extra time the teacher is taking with the ‘slower’ student, to refine the movement you have just learned.  The general rule for most workshops is you arrive and  position yourself on the dance floor.  Do not force someone out of their spot because you want to be in the front row and arrived too late.  Also keep in mind that many teachers will rotate rows so that everyone has a fair opportunity to be up front.  Don’t be upset if you arrived early and all of sudden you find yourself in the back row.


4. Wear suitable attire.   穿載要適合

Avoid wearing too much jewelry, coins or costume accessories to dance class.   Beginning students tend to do this a lot, because it is a fun opportunity to dress in costume.   Save your sequins and bells for recitals and performances.  When trying to learn new movements, too many bangles will distract you and nearby students.   You will not be able to stretch properly.  Also, floor stretches can be very damaging to expensive costume material.  Dance tights and a hip scarf are adequate and more suitable for class.   Leggings, midriff tops and long, full skirts are also appropriate.   It is important to be comfortable and to be able to achieve a broad range of motion.


5. Keep talking and giggling to a minimum. 講話及儍笑要減至最低

This is probably my most flexible rule.  Part of the fun of dance class is the giggling and laughing  which often occurs.  I tend to encourage laughter during my weekly classes.   After all, feeling good  is one of the benefits of the dance.  However, when I attend a workshop, I try to keep talking and giggling in check.   Avoid  talking to other students during class.  Keep your attention focused on the workshop teacher. If you are attending a workshop from out of town and your hometown teacher is also present, do not ask her for help during the workshop. If you have a question, ask the workshop teacher!   Your hometown teacher can help you later, after the workshop.


6. Avoid being a know it all.   不要裝著很懂的樣子

Yes, you have had another teacher somewhere who called that movement “The Washing Machine.”  Your old teacher was the authority on the subject and now you are.  Keep in mind, this dance has been passed on from one dancer to the next since the beginning of time.  The movements do not have standardized names.   Teachers generally call a movement what their teacher called it.  There is no right or wrong name!  Do not openly challenge a teacher’s expertise!  Resist the urge to add your 2 cents every time you think you know the answer.  The teacher’s job is to teach -- it’s not your job!  Also, you may think your way of explaining a move works, when in reality you may be explaining a different move or worse yet teaching bad habits.  If you feel so compelled to help someone, do it some other time -- not during class or workshop time.


7.Take notes when sitting out of active participation. 當休息不跳時記筆記

If for some reason, you absolutely can not continue the class -- you are too tired, too hungry, cramps, etc. -- by no means, leave.  When students walk out the door, it shows a lack of respect for the teacher.  Other students wonder where the dancer has gone? Sit in the corner and take notes.  Do not converse with other students or start shopping.   Do your shopping at the appropriate time.  If you are able to return to class, do so quietly and take a spot in the back of the room.


8.Let the teacher teach. 專心聽老師講解

If you are a teacher, under no circumstances should you voice an opinion in another teacher’s class, unless you are asked to do so.  I know it is hard to resist helping the floundering girl next to you, but it is not your  place.  Let the teacher do the teaching.  Button your lip.  If the teacher asks for your opinion or expertise, concisely  give it and then give your complete attention back to her!  Sometimes you may feel you could explain the movement better than the teacher or in a different way.  Go back and review Rule #6 above!


9.Keep an open mind and please do not complain.  保持虛心愉悅不要抱怨

Be open to new ideas and possibilities.  Try to focus on how your new teacher can expand your dance repertoire.  Do not compare her to other teachers.   Do not complain about a movement  being too difficult.  Instead, ask thoughtful questions so that you can understand the difficult movement.   Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Chances are, other students are wondering the same thing.  


10.Watch the teacher’s performance or demonstration.  注意老師的示範

If the teacher is kind enough to perform or demonstrate for the class, watch in silence.  Once, I observed a teacher performing a veil dance so beautifully I could have cried, except I wanted to scream at the miserable girls behind me.  While she graciously performed, they chattered incessantly.    This behavior followed arriving late to class, complaining about difficult movements,  and quitting  early because of fatigue.  They would have been better off staying at home.  The rest of us could have enjoyed the workshop more.



By giving teacher’s the respect they deserve - you get something back - your money’s worth





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