Being a respectful dance student is an important part of your dance education. Respect is one of the very important life lessons you will learn at dance. You show your respect in the way you speak to your teacher and fellow students. The way you conduct yourself in class also shows your level of respect. You need to show respect for not only your teachers, but your fellow dance students and Parents in your school. Without respect, you will fail to learn and thrive.
Being a respectful dancer is a two-way street and your teacher and fellow students should show you a level of respect. This will undoubtedly depend on the level you show them. If you don’t illustrate in your conduct, that you are respectful, you will not earn the mutual regard of those around you. A student who is impolite and continues with behaviour that is considered disrespectful, will eventually be the cause of frustration to your teacher and fellow dance students. This may make classes very uncomfortable for all involved. Being a respectful dancer makes class more pleasant for everyone.
Why should you be a respectful dancer?
Because it is polite!!! That is a bit like saying because your Mother told you so, but it is true. But there are many good reasons why you should be a respectful dance student. Firstly you should be respectful just because you have the opportunity to learn to dance. There are many who are not able to attend dance classes, whether it is because their Parents can’t afford it or some other issue, I know that if you are able to come to dance, you are lucky. Being a respectful dancer means you are a grateful dancer.
Of course, I quite often see students who come to dance, because Mum always wanted to dance, but couldn’t. These students usually end up disliking dance and being disruptive and very disrespectful in class, before eventually not returning.** This is not something you should do, because your Mum wants you to. Dance is something you do, because you love it.
Because you get to come to dance and your Parents or Grandparents get you there. You should show every respect to them. Dance is costly and time-consuming. You need leotards and tights, shoes for each type of dance you do and you grow out of them at an alarming rate at times. Dance means your Parents have to manage to get you to classes. Some Parents work and have to schedule times to allow to transport you to and from classes, rehearsals, comps etc. This is part of their job, but it sometimes isn’t easy. You should not treat them like your own private UBER!!! Can you imagine if you had to pay your Mum Uber rates to get you to dance!!!! ” Thanks Mum” as you get out of the car, would go a long way to pay off that debt.
Why Be a Respectful Dancer to You Fellow Students?
Because it is polite!!! and they are your friends. (You may notice a recurring theme here already .) The other dancers in your classes are also lucky to be there. They are there to learn, just like you are and you need to allow them to do so. Every student learns at a different rate and in a different way. You need to be respectful of everyone else’s journey and not belittle them if they struggle at something. You also shouldn’t be jealous of those who seem to pick things up more easily than you. You should show your respect for those students who struggle and realise that there are things that you also have struggled with in the past and will in the future. Do you want someone to belittle you for that? I don’t think so?
If you see a fellow student struggling with something you have managed to do quite well, you could offer them help. Give them your tips that helped you master it. Let them know that, even though you may be able to do triple turns with ease, you are really not great at assembles. By lifting up others, we lift ourselves up.
If you are jealous of a fellow student, because everything seems easy for them, don’t be. If you ask them how they got to do things so well, you may be surprised to find that they have spent many hours working on things that you may think they do easily. You may find that they think they need to do better. These students may help you with their ideas and clever tips.
One of the famous ballet dancers, Rudolf Nureyev, spent many hours perfect steps, that many thought were already near perfection. At a recent talk by Li Cunxin, Artistic Director of Queensland Ballet Company and the famous Mao’s Last Dancer, https://licunxin.com he said he was the worst dancer at the school when he first began ballet. He spent many extra hours working towards becoming the best. Hard work makes great dancers, it just doesn’t happen because they want it to. You need to be respectful of the effort other dance students put into their dancing. Maybe you don’t put in as much time as they do and that is why they seem to do better.
If you are respectful of your art form you should give it the time and effort required to improve. Those students in class who come to class, not having gone over choreography or exercises since the last class and have to be re-taught them, show no respect to their classmates. They are wasting time, you could be spending on learning something new or making a step better. They are also not respectful of dance, if they were, they would have taken the time to work on it before hand.
Showing Respect to Your Teachers*
There are so many ways you show respect or disrespect for you teachers. Showing up to class, every class you are suppose to, is respectful. Missing classes for inappropriate reasons, is very disrespectful. Most dance teachers have heard great excuses for not attending classes. If you are ill or injured, you need not come to class, but it is respectful to let you teacher know you are unable to attend. Just not turning up, is very disrespectful. This is a life lesson well learned. When you work, you can’t just not show up to work, you would get the sack and rightly so.
Note to all: if you have let you dance teacher know, weeks or days in advance, that due to a school or family commitment, you are away from class, please have the respect to remind them on the day or the day before. You are not the only student in the school and they have lots going on and your school and family activities are not their priority. They will probably have forgotten and will be not happy when you aren’t there, until halfway through the class, they remember you are at a function!!!!!
Being a Respectful Dancer Means Dressing Correctly.
How you dress in class, goes a very long way to show what level of respect you have for your teacher and dance itself. Those students who turn up without tights and their hair in a messy pony-tail, with half their hair in their face are showing great disrespect. If your teacher has stated in the correct wear for class section of the dance school information that for ballet, hair is to in a neat bun and you must wear tights – that is what you do. Anything else is showing you have no respect for your teacher, your dance school and the rules and requirements of each. Being a respectful dancer means dressing neatly and correctly.
Time is not an excuse for sloppy dress in class. Buns are not difficult to do. The appropriate tools should be inculded in your dance bag. There should always be extra hairbands, bobby pins and hair nets and a brush. Be prepared and look the part. You certainly wouldn’t turn up to a swimming lesson in a business suit and expect to be able to swim properly would you?
If you are not dressed correctly, your teacher is firstly going to be annoyed and then may not feel inclined to want to give you the help you need to improve. This is due to the fact, you look like you don’t want to dance or improve. Why should they waste their time on those who don’t have enough respect to follow the rules. Neat and tidy dancers are showing they are keen to learn. They are showing they are willing to put in the effort required to improve. Teachers will respond accordingly. They will give you their time and put in the effort to help you achieve this, because you are respectful.
How Your Behaviour in Class shows you are a Respectful Dancer
When you enter the dance studio, it is respectful to acknowledge your dance teacher. You can say hello, or merely make eye contact and smile at them. They will in turn acknowledge you. If your teacher is busy doing something, they may not be able to acknowledge you or vice versa, but when it is possible, you should show your respect in this manner. Those students who don’t, are showing that they don’t have respect for their teacher and are making a bad first impression at the beginning of class. If you don’t have respect for your teacher, you should not be learning from them.
A Respectful Dancer says Thank You
A polite and respectful dancer will say thank you to your teacher as you leave the classroom. You would have already said a dance thank you with your reverence at the end of class, but it shows a great sign of respect to individually thank your teacher as you leave. This shows them, you are grateful for the time they took to teach you in your class today. You are saying thank you for giving me the help to improve. You are showing them, you are grateful for the knowledge they have passed onto you. You are grateful and respectful and your teacher will appreciate this and want to keep teaching you more.
A Respectful Dancer Listens
During class, a respectful dancer will listen and learn from what their teacher is explaining to them. They will not chit chat and go off into dreamland. When asked a question, you will answer politely (and of course know the answer). An informed and educator dance is a respectful dancer. I know that many of students are not overly familiar with the french terms of ballet. They all have theory books, but only pull them out the week before exams. A dancer who knows what the steps are called and what the words means, is respectful of dance. But that IS another Blog topic for later.
Moving around in class like you a strolling down the street, is not being a respectful dancer. Recently I read that a dancer moves from one spot in the classroom to another with efficiency and purpose. Yes they do!! “Strolling” around the classroom is wasting precious time. This time can be used to improve and learn. Run like a ballerina and stand as you are prepared to do the next exercise or step. This tells your teacher you are eager to learn and enthusiastic.
Working Hard Shows You are a Respectful Dancer
Putting in major effort each and every class shows you want to improve and reflects your love of dance. A respectful dancer works hard. A lazy dancer is not a dancer who loves to dance. A dancer who only puts in the effort when they have an audience, has no respect for themselves or for dance. These dancers want the applause and acknowledgement, without having to put in the time and effort required. Those dancers who work hard all the time, gain not only the teachers respect, but will gain the respect of an appreciative audience. Show you love dance, work hard to do it well.
Respect Your Teachers Knowledge and Experience
A respectful dancer listens. When you listen to your teacher and try to implement the things they tell you, you are showing respect for their knowledge. You are showing them, you know that they have wisdom to pass onto you. In this way, you show them you respect the time and effort that they have put in to learn all they can about dance, so they can help you be the best you can. You are showing them you are aware of the years of training that have gone into them being your teacher as well as respect for all those teachers who have gone before them.
A teacher who is respectful of their students, will always go to great lengths to be continually learning new ways to help them improve. Dancers never stop learning. Teachers learn from other teachers, older and younger, more experienced and less experienced. Everyone has something to teach someone. Everyone can learn from others.
I have recently been lucky enough to attend when some of my students have had private lessons with Claudia Dean https://claudiadeanworld.com @claudiadeanworld. This has been such a great experience for not only my students, but for myself. I have learnt some great exercises from Claudia, that I have put into practice with all of my students and have seen some great improvements already. Claudia has always some wonderful tips on her instagram stories, full of encouragement and advice. I watch and learn and am grateful to be able to take it on board .Everyone benefits when your teacher gets the opportunity to learn new things.
As students must be respectful to their Parents, fellow students and their teachers, Parents must be respectful too.A dance parent needs to demonstrate to their dancer how to behave appropriately towards others. Students learn by example, don’t show them the bad example and expect them to do the opposite.
Parents need to show respect to the dance teachers, by making sure their dancer is dressed correctly and arrives to class in plenty of time. If your child is constantly late to class and presented untidily, you are being disrespectful to the teacher, the dance school and your child. Make sure you pick your dancer up on time as well. Dance teachers have other classes to teach and are not a baby-sitting service.
If your child is in the last class of the day, it is doubly important to pick them up on time. Dance teachers don’t live at their studio (not really) and want to go home. If you expect your teacher to wait around until it is convenient for you to come, you are showing that you don’t really care that they have a home to go to and maybe dinner to eat with their family. Of course sometimes, circumstances are unavoidable and the occasional late pick up is forgivable, but not more than once. Please remember, you may have only done it once, but so have about 10 others!
If your child has to miss class for whatever reason, you need to let your dance teacher know. Please refer to the previous paragraph *Showing Respect to Your Teachers. If your child is late to class, please make sure they apologise and explain when they enter the classroom. Do not go in and do this yourself. Interrupting classes, for whatever reason is not respectful. If you need to pick your child up early from class, the respectful thing to do, is let the teacher know at the beginning of the class. You can let your child explain. You can send a message via text before your teacher begins for the day. You don’t ‘pop your head in’ towards the end of a class and ask to pick up your child! If they were performing, would you come side stage and take them off the stage before they had finished their routine? I don’t think so.
Parents should show respect to the dance Teacher by trusting in their knowledge of dance and knowing they aim to do what is best for your child. Those who think that their child should go up a class and then argue with the teacher when they explain they can’t, are saying they think they know more. Of course, mostly these Parents don’t have any previous dance experience and have never taught dance before.
If your teacher wants something a certain way, there will be a good reason why. As a Parent, your job is to accept that without necessarily knowing the reason. Teachers are experienced and have often learnt through trail and error what works best for them, their students and their dance school. Trust them.
Back up your teacher. Believe them when they tell you your child isn’t behaving appropriately. They wouldn’t tell you if they weren’t. So many Parents come back with “My child isn’t like that”. Well they are at dance!!!!! Not all dancers are angels. Please refer to the section ** about students who don’t want to dance.