Etiquette Shmetiquette?

Does it really matter what your hair looks like in ballet class or if you forget your shoes every once in a while? It’s not like its an audition, right? Um … wrong! Every day you set foot in the studio, you are presenting yourself for potential casting decisions, promotions and recommendations by your teachers.

Most schools have an annual recital, but few hold auditions for stage placement and casting. How do you think those decisions are made? They are made based on the technique, work ethic, attitude and etiquette that you show in class every day to your teachers. Class is of course not the same as an audition – it should be seen as a safe place where you can explore and expand your dance vocabulary, take chances and feel comfortable asking questions. But it is important that in daily class you hold yourself to a high standard not only when it comes to your dedication and technical work, but also how you present yourself in general. So what does that mean exactly?

Simply put, you never want to detract from the 110% effort you put into your technique (which I assume you are putting in!) by coming across as lazy, rude or irresponsible. A teacher will have a hard time promoting or recommending any student if the student is technically proficient but simply not up to par when it comes to grooming, manners or dress code. Showing that you are on top of these things can help show that you are ready to take on more, which can solidify a level promotion or lead to an important new understudy role, an assistant teacher position or even a lead role – but I guarantee this works the opposite way as well. (If you read my recent post on promotion to pointe class, you know just how directly it can affect level promotion!)

Setting a personal standard for yourself for class time can be tough sometimes – Remember that you are in total control of it. Especially at an advanced level, it’s easy to get comfortable and start believing that you have earned the right to wear your PJs to class or throw your hair up haphazardly, but I promise this will always detract from your hard work.

In the future, I’ll post on specific things you can do to manage the impression you make and to present yourself in the best light possible. Stay tuned for the details on how to master the hairstyles, look your best in your leos and impress with your professionalism.

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