DANCE CLASS “THE GOLDEN RULES”

DANCE CLASS “THE GOLDEN RULES”

You mean I’m going to have to behave myself?”Yes you will.

“But I thought this was going to be fun -and I might get a crown”.

Attitude might keep you from that dream. Learning how to behave oneself when it isn’t a family member or parent telling you what to do, can be challenging.

Challenging for both you and the instructor – especially if you haven’t ever been in a disciplined setting like a dance class. Sure you get discipline at home, but having your parents wrapped around your finger is different than having an instructor wrapped. Fat Chance of that!

Dancing should be fun, but sometimes a disruptive group or even one member can throw the whole practice off. It’s really not fair to the other dancers when one dancer is constantly acting off. It’s also not fair to the instructor who is trying to teach you the techniques you will need to progress. If you can’t listen and learn – you won’t progress, neither will your team if the instructor has to constantly get on you about your behavior.

Dancing should be fun, but everyone has to behave themselves for that to happen. There are rules set up in every dance studio in the world. Rules are there for a reason. Teachers have a right to demand that rules be followed and to deserve respect from each student.

If you have school work, boyfriends, sports,or  family issues – please leave them outside the dance room. You can pick them back up when you leave.

Students in a school setting are concerned that they may be called into the principles office if they mis-behave. In a dance studio it is different. It’s a business. Mommie and daddy can be called, but then again, some students learn to use mommie and daddy to get their way if they don’t like something.

The newer the student, the more likely the student is to complain to mommie and daddy. Learning to share and behave in class isn’t what they thought dance was about. Guess what? Dance is a discipline. It is one of the hardest disciplines there is. Your every movement is under the microscope. As you age, that microscope gets even closer to the mark. You are graded on your technique.

1. Come to class on time.
You wouldn’t show up late for work, or for a sporting event would you? If you showed up late enough times at school, that would land you in the principles office wouldn’t it? Not a fun experience huh?

Well, don’t show up late for dance classes either. There isn’t any excuse for showing up late- especially with the smell of french fries on your breath.

You should be on time, ready to warm up with the rest of the class. If you arrive 10 minutes late, the class shouldn’t have to wait for you to warm up in order for them to begin. You simple will have to catch up.

If you have to be late, it is best to call and let someone know. That way you are showing respect for your instructor and your fellow dancers. If you have to be out of town, call and make arrangements, so the class isn’t wondering “where is so-and-so.” The instructor can simply explain that you will be arriving late, etc.

2. Show respect.
Your teacher has worked long and hard, and went through the sacrifices to master their skills. Many have dedicated their entire lives to dance. Respect the instructor and they will respect you back. If you were taught good manners at home, use those same manners at dance. Your good manners will be rewarded.

Laughing and joking with your instructor is allowed. Going home and repeating something that was fun is good. Going home and repeating something that was fun and putting your own personal slant on it  -is wrong!  Having your parent constantly nagging and calling the studio and staff -is wrong.

-Also, former instructors or directors who practice this type of intimidation toward new staff – STOP.  Stop living your lives out through your children or former students. Allow these children or young adults to grow up. Allow them to experience life on their own. Jr High and High school is a good place to give them that
liberty.

-Constant calls and bad mouthing – not a good lesson. NOT. This stuff actually happens, unfortunately.

3. Chatting, giggling and goofing off.
So everybody likes to talk, giggle, and just be part of the group. There does come a point where you have to focus on why you are really there –“Dance”. Your parents are not  paying for you to socialize. Well maybe a little, but the reality is, they want you to be the best dancer you can be, not a little gossip & know-it-all.

If your teacher is constantly having to raise his or her voice to get your attention, you are probably taking advantage of the class time and disrupting other dancers opportunities to learn as well.

4. The superior attitude.
I had a teacher once tell my class “when you know-it-all – then you can stand up here and teach. Until then, get in line and zip it.” No one stepped forward to even try to take her place. We knew we were wrong and disrespectful to her. After that we mellowed out, and really started to learn and perform better.Some dancers do think they know more than the instructor. Some may actual be that advanced. My question to those dancers would be – “so why are you in this class? A team of dancers is only as good as it’s weakest dancer, and since everyone is so inferior to you – why stay?”

A better attitude for dancers who may be a little more advanced than their peers would be to try to encourage those who may be struggling with a move or feel a little left out. Remember how you felt when you were the one struggling? Well, encouragement is a great moral builder for a team. It’s great as long as the encouragement is done with a genuine concern, and in manner that isn’t superior or know-it-all. Common sense.

5. Taking on more than you can chew.
I cannot count the number of dancers who have joined a dance team only to find themselves way out classed in dance technique. Beginning students should begin learning dance positioned in the back, and learn from watching those who have earned the right to be up front.

Dancers do not appreciate other dancers who do not earn a position, or don’t have to try out – but rather are given a spot. Where is the respect in that? There is no respect in that type of situation. If you are handed a position based on a social expectation, a friend favor, or to quiet a pushy parent, I guarantee you – you will fail. Once in the spot light, these rising stars usually burn out quickly. Members who should be in the positions will resent them, and make their terms in whatever position they may think they have gained, seem meaningless.

Be honest about your abilities. If you want to show the others up, or need that 5 minutes of fame – do a solo, and compete in that arena. Be honest to yourself first. Leadership is a tough job.

6. What to wear on the competition floor and at the studio.
Costumes and makeup, etc: Costumes, and frills do not make the dance. This is a hard one for a lot of people. You can have the most expensive costume on the floor, but if you don’t have technique, presentation, and a tooooo die for routine – you wasted your money.

Pick costumes that accent your figure – no flabby belly rolls hanging out, and no butt cracks  “please”. No breasts that overwhelm the shirts  “warning, warning, a fall out is eminent”. Pick a costume that is flattering to you and that will accent your particular dance. Costumes – especially competition costumes need to have that little extra touch to
them – but come on, draw the line somewhere. ORIGINAL is good too.

Some competitions require you to take your jewelry off. Check your rule sheet.- Hair, as long as it fits the style – do your own thing. Warning – some judges just aren’t as up on new trends as others may be. I hate to say these types of judges are dinosaurs – but……. in dinosaur land – do as the dinosaurs do.

Stay away from big flowers or gaddy creations that take away from the dance and insults the senses. You want the judges to see the dance – not some hideous abstraction in your hair. The costume is just an addition.

Technique, technique, technique – wear that! Technique – that is your main focus. You can be out on the floor in a sack and win because of technique, or you can have a $300 costume on, and lose because of poor training.I f your instructor has told you to wear something particular to class, or told you to do something with your hair. Do it. Everybody needs to follow the rules. That is what makes you a team.

From the way you learn a dance move, to the dance paws on your feet. Dance is a discipline, follow the rules. Don’t be swayed to try something new. Your instructor has creative rights, not you, not your parent, and not your friends. You have to learn that discipline is just that – discipline. Being part of a team means you are like minded, and you work together.

7. Extra practices.
Some teachers will actually work with a student who has to be gone for a while; to help them catch up. Dancers, you should be running the routine over and over again in your head as well. Make sure you know all the music cues too.

Extra practices before a competitions or recital are not the same as dance practice. They are in addition to practices. You are expected to perform at your top pace – just like if you were at competition. Expect your instructors to really be critical during these times. Competition is what it is. It isn’t called competition for nothing. Practice practice practice. You will not get better without it.

8. Following directions.
Opinions have no place in a classroom. Voicing them during class will get you in trouble. You may have been asked to perform the same step now 10 times. Well, apparently it isn’t correct yet. You need to learn to listen to your instructor. Your body muscles will learn the movement at some point. If the teacher calls you out again and again, you are just going through the motions and not really focusing on the movement. Your muscles haven’t learned it yet. A good teacher will stay on you about it. That is a rule of thumb. Good teachers nag “A LOT!”

New movements for some students come easier than for others. Muscle memory is what it is. Some just take longer. You really shouldn’t whine or fuss about how hard or easy something is. Just keep trying to do it. If you have the movement down, well – now perfect it. But, stay with your class. Listen to your teacher, not the person next to you – they aren’t teaching the class. You probably wouldn’t want to learn from them anyways.

Eyes up, ears open – listening to your teacher.

9. Trouble makers.
Dance isn’t cheap, and when you have someone in the class who is always whining, crying, or making others feel uncomfortable, good money goes to waste. Not just your money, but the money of all the other dancers.

Your popularity really isn’t the point in any dance class – but, being the best dancer you can be, is. Younger students tend to think that any comment made in order to make them stop misbehaving is abusive. Many run to mommie and daddy and cry and beg to leave dance – immediately!  This scenario is true with any sport, not just dance. Beginning parents and/or insecure ones, tend to think that their little angel could do no wrong. It must be the teacher at fault.

Parents are quick to judge without even getting the facts at this point in a child’s life. Nine times out of ten, it’s the little angel that is at fault. But, parents – being parents, they just have to learn that the discipline of dance is different than at home. At home, rules may or may not be enforced. In a dance class with other students, the rules should be heavily enforced. Even if the little angel doesn’t like it. Especially if the little angel doesn’t like it.

Until young dancers learn to accept discipline, and understand that critics from their instructor are meant to make them better dancers, then they will continue to whine and drive their parents nuts. I generally find that when parents finally own up to their little angels failings and set the laws down at home, students generally come back to dance class with a much more positive outlook. Hurry up parents.

You are in class to learn and be taught. Allow others the same benefit.

10. Sportsmanship.
Parents and students need to stay for competition awards. They need to come to recitals too. There is no excuse for leaving. Win or lose, parents you leave an impression on your Childs mind when you won’t even stay for their awards or performances. Even those of their team members. You show that you just don’t really care.

I agree there are situations where you just can’t stay – a lot is understandable. But to know that your child isn’t going to win and leave because you don’t want them to have to deal with defeat is not teaching them to be a responsible individual. When they get out in the real world, life is filled with wins and loses.

I’ve seen so many parents quick to blame coaches, directors, other parents, and instructors for the loses their children suffer. Fact is – they simply didn’t win. The other team out maneuvered them. It’s that simple. For the most part, kids just want their parents to be there, if nothing else to help them understand the loss in a positive manner. Or maybe they just want you to stay and help them learn to be good sportsman when they do win. Go to the other team, and give them kudo’s and let them know they were good too.

Parents who stand outside the competitions bad mouthing others in front of their children and other parents on a team – please DO leave. Parents who can talk about swimming and having fun with their kids after the event – please stay.

Sportsmanship like dance technique is learned.