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Academy Etiquette

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

There are a few basic elements present in all ballet classes that are done a specific way simply because that's the way dancers do it. Observing these traditions and etiquette will help you to feel more at home in your class and provide an atmosphere that encourages deeper learning. The rules become stricter as you progress through a leveled system. These rules are not ballet specific – they are valid for all types of dance classes.

Arrive early but not too early. Please no more than 15 minutes before the start of class.

Come prepared. This includes the appropriate dress, shoes, and grooming for participating in class.

Arrive with warmups or street clothes covering your uniform.

Wear the correct dancewear/uniform. Dancewear/uniforms should be in good repair. Please no risqué or inappropriate leotards. Make sure it looks like a leotard and not a bathing suit. Uniform/tight should be clean. We suggest that if your dancer has multiple classes each week then they should have multiple leotards.

Never wear dance shoes outside the studio and never wear street shoes in the lobby or studios.

Before stepping onto the dance floor with tap shoes, check your shoes for loose screws.

Basic hygiene is a must. Come to class showered and with brushed teeth. Wear deodorant (if applicable) and carry some in their dance bag to renew when needed.

Your hair must be neatly pulled back and adequately secured. Neat bun for ballet (that means no fly aways) and up for everything else. Your appearance is not the only issue. Your hair also impacts your technique and can be a health and safety issue. Dancers who do not have their hair pulled back appropriately run the risk of creating bad habits, like unknowingly flicking their head to get their bangs out of their eyes, or not spotting because their hair hits them in the face when turning. If your hair is not secure, it can cause a distraction, it may actually cause a collision, and if your hairpins fall out, another student may slip on it.

Store your personal belongings nicely in your dance bag (neat, clean, and organized in the lobby).

Turn off and stow your cell phone. You have no use for your device during class. Completely silence it by turning it off – not simply setting it to vibrate – so that it will not disrupt class from your bag. Cell phones are not permitted in the studios.

Food or drinks are not permitted in class. Enclosed water bottles are allowed in the studio filled with WATER ONLY.

NO gum. It’s rude to those around you and actually unsafe to do while you’re dancing.

No jewelry. Leave jewelry at home or in your bag.

Be on time. There are some teachers who, once the class starts, shut the studio door and that's it - there's no entrance for any latecomers. If you are late and the teacher lets you take class, enter the class very quietly between exercises and wait for the teacher to invite you to join. Late students may be asked to sit out and observe (especially if you have missed a large portion of the warm-up).

If you need to leave the room for some reason, please wait until the end of an exercise before you rejoin the class. Stand quietly at the edge of the room until everyone finishes dancing and then you can join in on the next combination.

Don’t leave class early. If you cannot avoid making an early exit, talk to the teacher before class. If your exit is an emergency, do so as quickly and discreetly as possible.

There's really no talking in ballet classes – not even a whisper – while the teacher is talking, whether you are a kid starting out, a teen in intermediate classes, or a grown-up there for fun. It's a time to concentrate on the teacher and on your own body. A good ballet class has a quietly courteous atmosphere.

Don’t disrupt class. Disruptive behavior is not acceptable. Students not following proper classroom etiquette may be excused from class.

Don’t interpret class.

Body language is extremely important in ballet class. Ballet teachers are constantly ‘reading’ students’ bodies in order to give them specific instruction. If you are standing there with your arms crossed and/or slumping, the teacher will think you are bored or grumpy or uninterested. Please keep in mind that we are looking at you for the whole class, and how you stand, your facial expression and what you do with your arms tells us how well you are listening and whether or not you are interested in improving.

Do not watch the clock for your teachers or tell them that class is over if they run a few minutes overtime.

Never sit down unless you are instructed to do so.

Take corrections with a positive mindset. All teachers want to see their students thrive and improve. It can be confusing for young dancers to understand that the only way to improve in ballet is to be corrected. Corrections should be seen as a compliment, not a criticism. Teachers will not ask a student to do something that they cannot achieve. The teacher sees potential in the student and is asking the student to work towards that potential. Sometimes teachers are very passionate when they deliver their corrections. This is not a negative personal statement to the student. It simply means that the correction is VERY important.

Apply your corrections. If you do not understand a correction, you need to ask your teacher to explain it again. We understand that it takes time for the body to gain muscle-memory for corrections and as long as your teacher sees that you understand the correction and are trying to achieve it, they should be satisfied.

It's okay to ask questions. If you are asking a question about the combination or something that is pertinent to the moment – such as: “Do we do the combination en croix?” Or “My nose is running. May I please go get a tissue? ” Keep it class related.

If you have a question, please raise your hand and wait for the teacher – do not interrupt your teacher when they are in the middle of giving a combination or correction– unless it is an absolute emergency.

Go to the bathroom before class. If you need to go, ask your teacher. Of course if you have an emergency – we want you to take care of it.

On the barre, make sure you've got enough room between you and the people in front and behind so that you can do a grand battement in each position and not touch either the person in front or behind you.

When you change directions at the barre, please turn towards the barre.

Be ready to start. Do not make the teacher (and the rest of the class) wait for you to get ready. This wastes precious class time.

When you move into the central space of the studio, make sure you have enough room around you - don't crowd other people or allow them to crowd you. You should have enough space around you to stretch out your arms and not touch anyone or the walls.

Don’t hang on the barres EVER.

Don't lean against the wall during class.

Don’t use things that are not yours or that you don’t have permission to use. Do not turn things on, off, up, or down in the space without express permission.

Notify the office if you will not be attending class. Call, text, or email!

Respect the academy building and supplies by keeping it neat, clean and in good condition. Pick up after yourself – trash that you generate or that you see. Make sure your clothes and other personal items are neat and in the appropriate place when you’re in class and when you’re not.

Be respectful of others. Allow them the same opportunity you have to learn and participate and space to do it in. The best way to achieve this is to exhibit the Golden Rule at all times.

Watch your language, even when you mess up. The dance studio is no place for expressing yourself inappropriately.

Doors are for teachers. We teach dancers to wait for the teachers to open the door to start class and end class.


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