When you take classes with Dance Alive Studios, you are becoming part of a team not only with the other members of your class, but also with dancers in other classes and with your teachers. It is very important that every member of this team understands and agrees to uphold the principles of behavior and etiquette that help make DAS a safe and welcoming environment for anyone wanting to explore dance. These principles are outlined below, along with some examples and guidelines of how to apply them. Our studio philosophy is always adapting to new members and situations, so any feedback at all is more than welcome. We firmly believe it is a team effort to create a space that can foster our love of dance and help us to grow as athletes and artists.
DAS teachers have had years of training and experience in providing constructive and supportive feedback to dancers when they are working on their bodies and their art. Learning dance is a vulnerable thing, and the way teachers provide criticism is carefully considered and executed. As a result, we want to discourage dancers from giving unsolicited advice to each other while working in class. This means if you see a fellow student make a mistake, please do not correct them. This is the job of the teacher, and the teacher alone. Students of a class are there to learn together, and the teacher is there to provide instruction and feedback.
Laughing With vs. At Each Other
Dance can produce some hilarious mishaps. Landing on your own feet, air-tapping, and making silly faces are all part of the joy of learning dance. Laughing at ourselves and with each other is a natural reaction in these situations, especially as we become closer as teammates and friends. While the humour is appreciated, it is integral that we do not make a habit of laughing at mistakes.
Learning any new thing is vulnerable process, and dance requires that we take risks using our bodies and emotions, which can be especially scary. Many adults dancing with DAS danced when they were younger and may have negative memories of toxic dance environments. Other members of your team may see you laughing at/with a friend and fear that you will laugh at them too. We know the intention is very rarely mean-spirited, but it can be enough to deter someone from trying something new again for a very long time. At the same time, we still want to have fun and not take ourselves too seriously! In order to help us achieve this balance, here are some guidelines:
- If you are watching others dance down the room, do it with a supportive and self-assessing mindset. Think about what they’re doing well that you could do for yourself, and how you can learn from them.
- If someone does something you find humourous (it definitely happens!) wait for them to laugh first. Perhaps they are embarrassed, and the last thing they want to hear is laughter. If they’re not laughing first, and you begin the laughter, you’re now laughing at them and not with them, even if they choose to laugh along.
- Pay attention to the teacher. Again, your teachers have training and experience in controlling their reactions in class, and are very attuned to dancers’ states of mind. If the teacher isn’t laughing, it’s likely not something that should be laughed about.
Each of our classes are safe spaces for people to come and move their bodes no matter how they feel that day. For some, laughter can be enough to make it feel unsafe. Respect the vulnerability of others.
Your Class is Your Team
At DAS, we want to make sure each separate class becomes a team. The multiple training options that we offer allow some students to work towards exams and take 8 hours of dance a week, while also inviting those who want their one weekly class just to blow off some steam. You are all equally valuable in our studio. Whether you take one class or five, whether you train in Ballet, Tap, or everything we offer: when you are in a class, every other person in that class is your equal and valuable teammate.
It may not be obvious that teamwork is important in dance, but it is apparent to the teachers and the audience. The way you move together on stage is largely affected by your ability to feel and trust each other in the studio. Working together with different pairings down the room, paying attention to each others’ movement styles, and saying hello to new people is a good way to foster the team dynamic.
Class Time is for Working
We understand that dance is a stress-release for many, and an opportunity to get together with some of your favourite people. We all feel the need to shake off the pressures of life and have a good time by moving to music. Dance Alive also encourages dancers to have whatever class they need that day – whether you feel motivated and focused, or like your brain just cannot get on track, you deserve to come and have a class that makes you feel good.
Regardless of the class you’re having that day, we must respect the fact that others are there to work. We know that the everyone can get carried away sometimes – even teachers! Everyone is human and goofing off is a fun way to enjoy class. Ultimately, at DAS we believe that it is a shared responsibility between dancers and teachers to keep the flow of the class consistent and progressive by remembering that we are all there to work hard, while also enjoying those light-hearted moments.
Trusting and Respecting Your Teacher
Dance Alive is very proud of their team of teachers and invests a lot of time, energy, and training in keeping our staff a cohesive and functional unit. We are always open to constructive feedback from students because we want to know how to serve you better! However, we, too, are only human and cannot make everyone happy. We are trying very hard to keep our teaching aligned with the philosophies and principles of Dance Alive Studios, so while you may not always understand or agree with our decisions, we want to assure you that your teacher has thought very carefully about their decisions in planning class content, pace, and delivery.
In an attempt to be as transparent as possible about our motivations as teachers, listed below are some key principles we keep in mind when designing and managing our classes:
- Student safety is first priority. No one wants to hurt anyone’s feelings by placing a student in a lower level, or reducing their commitment to a group, but we will always defer to the safer option, for you and the dancers around you.
- Solid, foundational training is the cornerstone of our program. This means we would rather slow down the class progression in favour of developing mastery of concepts, instead of moving onto new elements before the class is ready.
- Group dynamics are always a heavy consideration of any teacher. Things like commitment, dedication, reliability, unity, and positivity are traits that all contribute to a supportive group atmosphere. As a result, we prefer to prioritize the larger group over an individual in order to promote a positive environment throughout the entire studio.
- Free artistic expression is ultimately the core of our love of dance. Your teacher is an instructor, but they are also an artist who is showing real vulnerability by creating something with you. We invite and enjoy suggestions from the group, but challenging or criticizing choreographical choices is not respectful and therefore not permitted in our space.
Communication is very important to DAS and we know we cannot grow and thrive without your support and feedback! In order to allow open, comfortable communication in a respectful manner we ask that if you have any issues with what is happening in class, you bring up the issues by contacting teachers through the Band app direct message, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. From this initial message, a time can be set for a conversation that honours everyone’s busy schedules. We are committed to hearing your concerns and handling them respectfully in a manner that supports both students and teachers of Dance Alive Studios.
Thank you for taking the time to read our Group Choreography Policies. We know that having everyone on the same page will allow us to move forward as a team in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible!