Unspoken Rules of Taking Group Classes

By Alexandra Hoffman: A Beginning Group Class Attendee



Acceptable/Encouraged Behavior

·         Put your phone on silent. This goes double if you’re a particularly popular person. (While you ring-tone might actually be a better song than what’s playing, it’s a distraction none the less and might cause fellow students to not hear instruction. This wastes not only the instructor’s time, but your peers. With continued incidents you might become the black sheep of the group and/or be asked publicly by your teacher to turn you phone off. How embarrassing.) By putting your phone on silent or off you are respecting those around you and your teacher’s time.

·         Dress in coordination with the rules. (While some dance classes are relaxed and allow all forms of dress, others don’t. Look at your chosen class rules or ask your instructor if there is a dress code. Showing up in your going on eight-year pair of over used overalls and stained wife beater might not be appreciate for a formal dress class…or any class for the matter. Small tip if the class is lax wear close that are comfortable to move in as well. Starching your pants like it’s the 1920’s might be a bad idea.)

·         Take breaks either after class or before. (Have respect and don’t eat/drink, towel yourself, or use the restroom until class is over or before it starts. Eating/drinking while others talk is just rude and while you should be dancing is wasting time of all those involved. Meanwhile using the restroom while an instructor is talking might cause some peers to get distracted but guarantee that you will have to be told one on one what you missed while doing so. In short unless it’s an emergency wait.)

·         Be punctual. (Being late to a class once is alright. Life happens. Being late every lesson and needing to be caught up is rude to everyone involved. If you’re having trouble getting to class look for an earlier or later class to better suit your needs. Small FYI most classes won’t wait for you and, while smaller group classes might cater to your tardiness because they can’t move forward smoothly till you understand everything, larger group classes will leave you in the dust.)

Unacceptable/Disrespectful Behavior

·         Don’t chew gum. (This is a safety hazard above all things and not only that but is rather rude in general. No one wants to listen to someone munching away on their gum or blowing bubbles. Also, lots of gum brands have potent levels of aroma to them, which might not jive with those around you. Exceptions might be made with instructors should it be for medical reason, though unlikely because of choking hazard.)

·         Talk when the instructor is talking. (Don’t waste everyone’s time and money by trying to outwit the teacher or have a question. Instead wait for the instructor to ask if someone has questions or approach them after class.)

·         Don’t teach over the instructor. (Being more experienced than your fellow peers or maybe thinking you and trying to teach them behind the teacher’s back is not only rude, but detrimental to all involved. While you might be more advanced trying to force your partner in learning the way you did will not only confuse them as a beginner, as that’s where this tends to happen, but could also set them up for failure. The instructor might be attempting to teach them in a different style than what you originally were taught in, as there’s three common teaching styles. By going behind the teacher and pressuring your partner, because no one would be reasonably comfortable doing so, you might have just weakened their understanding of the basics or whatever move they were trying to do. Countless dance moves in every style of dance have similar if not the same starting pattern, however they can be changed by subtle body motions or gestures. So, while you might recognize what starting pattern you are doing, you might not be learning the same move. Therefore, go along with the instruction given start to finish. Even if the move is the same there’s nothing wrong with refining something you already know.)

·         Don’t expect others to cater to your whims because of a special event. This is mostly for wedding couples. (While weddings are magical and something to be celebrated it’s not unknown that they’re stressful to plan. There’re dates, invitations, pushy in laws, and all that other fun jazz. Never the less, if you’re a couple who wants to learn a few dances for your wedding make sure you understand that a group class will more than likely not cater to your needs. A possible exception to this being should you be true beginners a small group class might be up your alley because you’ll be learning the basics anyway. However, for the most part don’t sign up for a group class and think you can simply tell the instructor what you want to be taught. They’re not going to alter their teaching schedule because your big day is coming up, but more importantly because it might not be the type of dance their students are learning. Ballroom dancing is a lot like math, except its way more fun and something people can use in a social setting without being socially crippling. If you want to learn certain dances that aren’t being taught considered privet lessons. Also, if you want to learn something difficult and have never danced before plan ahead of time. Don’t come in last minute with the expectation of leaving after a few lessons that you’re going to be eligible for dancing with the stars.)