Many new young students and parents show up to kids dance classes without realizing there is standard dance class etiquette. Not to worry! We put together a guide of ten helpful tips for you and your dancer to look at to be prepared for dance class. Read on to see everything you need to know about dance class etiquette:
1. Arriving On Time: When dancers arrive on time, it allows them to get settled and focused so they do not enter the class in a whirlwind. Many times when parents bring their young ones to class late, the child feels overwhelmed or uncomfortable without having time to get used to their surroundings. We have experienced the most easy going kids having meltdowns just because they were rushed into their dance class late. Also, being nice and respectful to your teacher is huge when it comes to dance class etiqutte considering they probably just spent time getting the kids settled down and focused in the first place. When dancers show up late, it is disruptive to everyone. Teachers almost always start their class off with a warm up and your dancer may have more trouble staying focused and engaged without that initial time to get all the wiggles and jiggles out. Yes, sometimes it is challenging to arrive on time with our busy lives but the importance of your little one having a chance to settle in and become comfortable with their new surroundings cannot be stressed enough. You wouldn't want your dancer to confuse a fun and exciting new environment with an overwhelming one just because they did not have enough time to get used to it.
2. Entering the Class: With younger children dance classes, dancers should wait outside the classroom until the teacher invites students in to begin dance class. It is challenging for the dance teacher when children are running around the room while the teacher is trying to set-up for their next dance class or talk with parents. The teacher needs an appropriate amount of time for preparation so they can teach the next class the best they can just as students need their time to prepare as well.
3. Dress Code: Many dance studios as well as kids dance classes have a dress code for their students so kids are not coming in with distracting clothing on. Often, young dancers show up in party dresses, costumes, or jewelry and as fun as that is, it can be very distracting to everyone in the room. Dance attire is flexible and clingy to show the dancers lines while giving them the ability to move as much as they can. The appropriate dance shoes make a big difference too! When parents send their dancer with the wrong shoes, it can create safety issues, hinder their movement, or cause discomfort during the dance class. Your dancer will have plenty of time outside of the studio to practice their new dance moves in their favorite party dresses and costumes.
4. Talking: All kids are in the process of learning when it is and isn't appropriate to talk during the dance class. With an experienced dance teacher, time should be given to the dancers to talk and share with one another to help cut down on disruptive talking while the lesson is going on. In children dance classes, kids begin to learn that they should be quiet unless their teacher is asking for them to speak or it is an unstructured time of the dance class.
5. Water Breaks: Many teachers give about one water break per hour in children dance classes. Especially if the class is high energy or if it is hot. Some teachers do not give any water breaks in young ballet/tap dance classes for kids if the dancers are in a more mellow environment. When children start asking for a water break frequently, that means they are losing focus. Dance classes go much smoother when dancers know to wait for their teacher to give them a break rather than interrupting by asking over and over again. Parents should not be interrupting the class to give their dancer water unless the teacher asks them too. It can be very disruptive and make other young dancers want their parents to do the same. You can always send your dancer with a water bottle if needed.
6. Bathroom Breaks: Dancers should go to the bathroom before dance class starts just like they do in school. It is especially difficult for a teacher if a child needs to go to the bathroom and their parent has already dropped them off. The teacher then gets stuck with interrupting his or her whole class for one child who needs to be excused.
7. Parent Involvement During Class: Parents should not be entering the class without being asked by the teacher or giving comments/feedback to their dancer during it. It can be very distracting to the student and affect their attitude. Let your teacher teach and let your dancer focus on one adult at a time. When there are too many cooks in the kitchen, things don't run smoothly. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please talk to your teacher or dancer after the dance class.
8. Parents Sitting Outside the Room: Some younger dance classes ask that parents stay in the room and participate while others ask that you stay out. This is really about the developmental stage of the child. When kids are under 3 years old, it is very beneficial to have parents in the room helping as needed. When kids are 3 or older, they tend to focus and have better attitudes when parents watch from a distance. Please respect your teacher's rules if you register for his or her kids dance class. Explain to your dancer in advance that they are in a big kids' class and tell them where you will be. This way, they won't get any surprises and will feel more comfortable knowing where you are.
9. Distractions: Dancers should not be bringing anything into dance class that will be distracting to the learning environment such as toys or accessories. These only end up causing more problems and sometimes tears if the teacher has to take them away from the dancer.
10. Thanking Your Teacher After Class: It is a tradition in dance class (all ages!) to thank your teacher after class for giving you their knowledge and energy. It is a big sign of respect and teaches kids that dancing is a privilege that they should be grateful to learn.
The good news is that kids dance classes are great for teaching kids etiquette and structure. These manners go a long way throughout the rest of their lives and should be reinforced at home. The more respectful everyone is in class, the easier it is to learn and have a good time. Talk to your dancer about these topics and ask your dance teacher for feedback if you have any questions! We hope these tips helped, please let us know if you have any questions or comments below, we would love to hear from you!