Etiquette inside and outside of the classroom in 2019 is so much more than what it once was. With the introduction of all kinds of technology, we have to be aware as both students and teachers how we are affecting the space we are in, and the people we share it with.
The standard rules of classroom
The standard rules of classroom etiquette still certainly apply; respecting the teacher and the other students in class, raising your hand to ask a question, not speaking out of turn or while other dancers are on the floor, respecting the space itself… keeping it clean, taking care of the barres/stereo/floor, etc, and respecting each other, of course. Now, however, we have all of these phones in classrooms that are used to film, and what is the appropriate and polite means of handling them? Well, to start, asking for permission to film would be a good place to begin. The recent trend of assuming that a teacher is alright with a dancer filming in class often creates an uncomfortable situation for both parties. Asking permission is at least a start to rectifying what has become an unfortunate moment in many classrooms.
Think Outside the Classroom
It’s also important to think about what is going on outside the classroom. We often forget that even though there is potentially a wall or window separating us from what is happening, we still might be a distraction to a class that is going on. If a studio door is open, then even an ‘inside voice’ near it might be distracting to what is going on in the class, and if the door is closed, then I want to be aware that my inside voice doesn’t quickly turn into an outside voice, which could be disruptive. Also of note for outside of the classroom etiquette is filming through windows. The same notion of asking if it’s alright to film also applies to anyone outside of the room, tenfold. All videoing requires permission, and it would be a great service to each other if we could reinforce that idea.
Two additional perspectives on how we can better serve inside and outside of class, from artists I love and respect, include Cat Cogliandro, “Dance etiquette is as simple as life respect…aka the golden rule. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Would you ever want for someone to not listen when you speak, talk while you’re talking, or not respond when you ask a question? No, right? So why would it be any different in a dance class? Would you like it if people were rude to you? Talked and whispered about you? Weren’t aware of your space? Again, why would it be any different beyond the walls of the classroom? Maybe if we all practiced more genuine love and respect for each other, classroom etiquette wouldn’t even have to be a thing…. it would just be common sense. Self-awareness, accountability, and self-love (not selfishness, that’s different) is the answer maybe we are all looking for. That can be taught at home, in school, and obviously, in dance. Practice that like you’d practice a pirouette…and watch how everything shifts around you.”, and Tracie Stanfield, “Outside of class, give compliments to friends and strangers. Who can you connect with? Who can you make smile? E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y!”
So at the end of the day, if we can be kind, respectful, polite, hardworking, and genuine, we’re going to be best able to support each other in dance, inside AND outside of the classroom.