Dance Teacher Pet Peeves

Ever wondered what your dance teachers’ pet peeves are? Here’s a hint…you’ve probably got some bad habits that you don’t even realize drive your dance teachers crazy! And you might be surprised to find that not one of them is to “point your toes.” In fact, dance teachers’ annoyances often don’t have to do with actually dancing at all! Here’s a list of top dance teacher pet peeves:

Coming to class like you just rolled out of bed. Warming up in baggy sweatpants, holey socks, and a messy bun might feel comfortable but it’s actually detrimental to your dance training. Proper dance attire—form-fitting clothing, hair pulled back, and appropriate dance shoes—help your teacher to see your technical alignment so they can give you adjustments and corrections. Looking like a professional is a sign of respect both for your dance teachers and for yourself.

Standing in front when you don’t know the combination or warm-up. If you’re new to a teacher or have missed a few classes, the polite thing to do is to stand in the back of the room until you’ve caught up and have a real knack for what’s going on. Being a leader—standing in the front of the class, going in the first group, or leading the across-the-floor—is both an honor and a responsibility.

Looking bored/like you don’t want to be there. Even if you’re excited and ready to dance, standing with your arms crossed and an uninterested expression gives off the impression that you don’t care. Standing alert and attentive will energize your body and mind and also show your teacher that you’re engaged in the class.

Dancing while the teacher is giving corrections. You can learn by listening and by watching. Really pay attention to your dance teacher when he or she is giving a note. Then let the information digest before you try it out. If you’re already dancing, you’re not fully listening to what your teacher is saying (and doing). This note is especially important in tap classes because when you dance while the teacher is talking, you’re not just doing yourself a disservice—you’re disrupting the whole class.

Practicing on the side while other groups are dancing. This is a common bad habit, especially because it seems like a good habit—you’re practicing, after all! But you should be watching your peers and not distracting from their performance center floor. This is a good skill to practice because you’ll get in trouble for “dancing on the sides” in an audition setting.

When you show respect for your dance teacher, your fellow students, and yourself, the whole energy of the class is more positive and engaged. You’ll get a lot more out of class if you not only try to dance your best, but also behave like a professional performer.

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