Monday, October 27, 2014

Dance Class 101

I'm attempting to get back in to blogging. Bear with me, it's been a crazy year! xoxo Kate

So, I'm a dance teacher. I'm a studio owner. I'm a mom of two toddlers. (Holy moly, no I'm not. I'm a mom of a toddler and a kindergartener. Soak that in for a sec) I get it. I've fought the good fight over tights, held a child down to put a bun in, lost more tap shoes than I can count and may or may not have ordered the wrong color tights...and this is all for my own CHILD, mind you. :)

When I say I get it, I GET IT. I firmly believe that God gave me Rory so I would learn to loosen up my rather rigid dance class rules for little ones. (Don't get too excited, once your kid hits age 8 at my studio, it's buns and black leos forever. ;))

I thought today I would share with you some basic dance class etiquette that is pretty standard across the board. No one really stops to tell you what to do, what to wear, etc at dance class. It's not like church, where everyone knows to silence their phones or the library, where you know to keep your voice down. Dance class is a world unto itself and let me just say, there are all types of rules and protocols!

Here we go...

1. Read the Dress Code. Read it. Learn it. Follow it. If you are unsure about something, email the teacher or ask at the front desk. There may be specific colors or leotards to wear. You will more than likely need tights. There will definitely be certain shoes. Figure it out, get it as soon as possible and buy a dance bag to keep it all in. If you are unsure, ASK! Hopefully, your studio sells shoes and dancewear in house or can direct you to a good dance store to get you all hooked up.

2. Read the rules. Maybe your studio likes dancers to bring a favorite doll to class each week. Maybe parents aren't allowed in the classroom. Maybe you have to enter the parking lot a certain way. Chances are all these little things are in the rules or handbook and will make your dance year much easier.

3. Come on time. There is really no need to be at dance class more than 10 minutes before class begins. The staff are not baby sitters. There will be no one assigned to watch your child if you drop them off 30 minutes early. If a day comes where you have to drop your kiddo off early, call and ask if it's okay. Chances are, it will be and your little one can go watch the other class until it's time for her class to begin. Please don't do this unless it's absolutely necessary (And dance teachers get it!) And never ever ever ever just drop your kid off 30-45 minutes early without supervision! I've had trophies broken, pictures knocked off the wall, things stolen, money gone missing all because of unsupervised children in the lobby.

4. GO HOME. If at all possible, do not stay at the studio during class. There is no need. Go get groceries, get a cup of coffee, sit in your car and read. It's not that we don't love our dance moms, because we do and we appreciate you!, but it just makes it that much harder. If your child hears your voice, it can be very distracting. If they know you are out there, chances are they will want to go out there. We have your cell number, we will call you if there is an issue. Trust us! We've done this a lot before. We know it is hard to hand your 3 year old over to a teacher you barely know but she will be fine. If you act fine, she'll pick up on that and be fine as well.

On that same note...please don't bring younger siblings to the lobby. If at all possible, leave them at home or take them with you to run errands, get a hot dog or something of the like. If they must come in to the studio with you, bring something quiet for them to do. Ipads, coloring books, Hot Wheels, etc. Do NOT let them run around the lobby, run in and out of classrooms, open doors, slam said doors, rearrange things, pull things off the walls, scream and holler...please please please please please!!!

5. Label everything. Get a black sharpie and a silver/gold sharpie to label everything! (Metallic sharpies work for labeling black leotards and shoes) Tights, leotards, shoes, dance bags, water matter what you think, I promise another little girl is going to have the same Elsa water bottle, Rapunzel dance bag and Cinderella leotard. Save us all some time and label label label!!!

6. Avoid lobby "diseases." Dance studio lobbies are a hot bed for gossip and cattiness. I refer to these as lobby diseases. It's like a bad cold you can't get rid of. Start off your child's dance career on the right foot and save yourself years of grief by avoiding the nonsense from the start. 99% of what you hear in the lobby won't be true anyways so keep your nose clean and stay out of it. If you have a concern, ask the teacher and get the story straight. Dance teachers are more than willing and happy to answer questions ask directly and would rather do that than deal with gossip any day.

7. Pick your kid up on time. Remember, there's more than likely another class coming in right after your child is done. Show up 5 minutes before the end of class, have their coat and shoes ready to go, get your kiddo and book it out the door. The 5 minutes between classes is absolutely insane for the teacher and not the ideal time to ask a complicated question. Save it for an email!

8. Read the handouts. Check your child's dance bag after every class and take time to read the handouts. Mark special dates on the calendar, talk to your child about it (they remember much more than you realize!) and shoot an email to the teacher right away if you have a question.

9. Use Email, not Facebook. Sending an email is just a much more courteous way to communicate with the dance teacher than their personal Facebook page. If your studio has a Facebook page, that's okay too, I feel. I don't like text messaging a teacher's personal phone either with questions. I wouldn't dream of texting Rory's kindergarten teacher with a question and the same should apply to the dance teacher. Texting and personal facebook messages go beyond the standard "teacher-parent" relationship. This is a touchy subject for a lot of dance teachers, but I'll say it. Give your dance teachers some space from their job. We don't have the luxury of ever leaving work at work, so give us that small courtesy. Email can be checked and replied to at our convenience. Texts and Facebook messages are much harder to ignore and focus on our own children! Get it? Not offended? Good!

10. Enjoy this time. Your tiny dancer isn't tiny for very long. They will grow up in a blink of an eye and will be running in to the studio without any need for you to tie their tap shoes or put in their hair in a bun  before you know it. Take lots of pictures. Save their tiny costumes and leotards. Let them grow and learn to love to dance.

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