Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dance Studio Etiquette for Teachers and Students

by Deborah Joy Block, certified etiquette instructor and professional dance instructor/performer
There are lots of articles about social dance etiquette and a few about ballet student etiquette but despite the fact that ballroom studios have existed in this country for over 100 years it is quite rare to find an article on the subject. Some landlords question the need for guidelines because they assume the rules should be "common sense." Unfortunately history shows that without formalized rules, societies descend into chaos. Hence The 10 Commandments, The Bill of Rights, The US Constitution, International Human Rights Law, etc.. Therefore common sense certainly does not always prevail in a room full of “divas” who often operate on incorrect assumptions or whims - so official etiquette rules are required. These tips are designed to ensure a pleasant and fair work environment with satisfied customers enjoying high quality lessons. Studio landlords, feel free to copy this and post it or distribute it to your staff. I hope you will find it a useful resource to maintain a peaceful and pleasant studio atmosphere! Feel free to add your own etiquette suggestions (without specifically IDENTIFYING individuals as that is ALSO a breach of etiquette and your comment will be deleted.) Enjoy!
  1. If space allows, set up speakers & use mirrors at OPPOSITE CORNERS of the studio NOT NEXT to another lesson already in progress.
  2. Once all 4 corners are full THEN fill in the middle sections to avoid creating a crowded, distracting and dangerous teaching environment.
  3. If you need to play music LOUDLY or NONSTOP while rehearsing alone and directly next to ongoing lessons please use EARPHONES.
  4. GROUP lessons requires MORE space and are noisier so either rent the whole room or do NOT teach middle sections. Simply swap positions with your neighbors.
  5. If you set yourself beside a privacy curtain assume that your neighbors may expect you to use it or else switch places with them so others can take advantage of the amenity.
  6. Rent space during non peak hours (anytime BEFORE 6pm) if you are teaching tap or flamenco, drumming, zills or other loud percussive dances. Anything after 6pm requires that you rent the entire back room as you are making it IMPOSSIBLE for others to teach next to you.
  7. Be mindful of volume levels and speaker location/angle or take turns if nobody is able to hear their music. If your speakers are poor quality bring A/V wires to take advantage of the many speakers the studio offers. If the bass is adjustable set it to MEDIUM.
  8. Approach management with unresolvable complaints rather than gossiping or cyber bullying on social media as that damages the studio reputation and creates a toxic work climate.
  9. Ask permission before adjusting the teaching environment –curtains, lights, fans, borrowing speakers, using overhead speakers, adjusting temperature climate, closing or opening blinds or windows, switching music, etc…
  10. Due to the high risk, direct contact nature of our jobs, use sanitizer or wash hands frequently to prevent spreading germs around the studio.
  11. Turn your music OFF when not teaching or dancing to minimize the overall noise in the room. Don’t leave music playing unattended.
  12. Don’t leave your belongings around the studio to “save” a space indefinitely. Let your neighbors know when you plan to return.
If landlords avoid creating some structure and standard expectations for everyone using the studio then landlords are setting themselves up for a situation when a disgruntled customer has a complaint about the environment or another instructor's conduct and the staff simply replies, "Sorry, we have no rules here." or "Sorry, I don't know what the rules are here." or bombards your office with all their customer complaints because "It's out of my hands." or worse, "I agree with you but the management does not respect staff concerns so perhaps you should address them directly or write a review online to get their attention." Don't waste precious time putting out fires and reinventing the wheel when you should be focused on earning a great profit from a popular studio! Please use common sense and good etiquette to be part of the SOLUTION be creating a FUN environment for yourself, colleagues staff, renters and clients that is friendly and respectful so everyone will recommend and support your studio while sharing your passion for dancing!
Deborah Joy Block is a professional dance performer and has 17 years of teaching experience with over 10,000 students. Mrs. Block is an entrepreneur, supervised 30 professional instructors including world champions. and is a certified etiquette instructor from the American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs Block is the  Director of Back to Basics Manners Social Graces Program teaching etiquette and social dance in the DC metro community, public and private school systems for 10 years. Deborah Joy Block, is also the Founder of The Wedding Dance Specialists and premiere national expert of the wedding dance industry who inspired the entire niche industry to expand worldwide. Mrs. Block is available for interviews, consulting, guest blogging and teaching etiquette and social dance instruction in the DC metro area. and

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