You may not know it, but there’s an art taking a dance class—and it’s not just in doing the steps. In each genre there are certain unspoken rules of do’s and don’ts. Break the unspoken rules of dance etiquette and you’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.
(Many of these rules apply outside of dance, too. Just last week I was next to someone in yoga who was checking his phone in the middle of downward dog).
In this world where we have so many distractions, we also need a time to devote our whole attention span for an hour or two. The key to getting the most out of a dance class is about being tuned into the moment and focusing on what’s inside…not the distractions on the outside.
- Turn your phone off. What if there’s a major disaster in the middle of class? What if someone just liked your status? Chances are your phone updates can wait. And I don’t just mean turning it to silent—turn it off. Don’t check it during breaks, don’t glance at it during warm ups. Besides, then you can feel extra popular when you get out of class and see the build-up of notifications.
- You can look, but not judge. I love watching other people mess up in dance class—because I’m usually doing the exact same thing. When I see someone figure out how to correct a mistake in their form, or do a move that much better, you learn from them. But there’s a fine line between constructively pinpointing improvement points, and making yourself feel superior because someone fell out of a turn. Class is about making mistakes and learning from them—be respectful and remember that someone not getting a combo right doesn’t make you a better dancer.
- Keep the chatter to a minimum. It’s hard when you finally get to see a bunch of your friends, but make sure that your conversations don’t distract from the class, and never speak in the middle of a dance combination. Feel free to cheer when someone knocks a combination out of the park, though!
- Be aware of your personal space bubble. Sometimes you’ll be crammed into a packed class with barely enough room to lift your hands above your head. Always, always, always be aware of the space around you. It’s expected that your space bubble will bump into a few others, but try send your awesome extension into your neighbor’s nose.
- Remember what your mother taught you. It’s a good practice to always thank your teacher at the end of the class. It’s a tough life to be a good dance teacher—often full of long days, whiney students, and sweaty studios, and a genuine acknowledgement at the end of the day can remind them just how much we need them.