Going back to the studio isn’t just hard on you — it’s hard on your dance teachers, too! Their schedules are jam-packed trying to come up with fresh choreography, selecting dancers for the competition team, creating schedules, and running the business side of the studio. It’s no small feat, but they do it with style and grace. (Quick, go give your dance teacher a hug. We’ll wait.)
So how can you help make the back-to-school-and-the-studio transition easy on everyone? Here are eight things your dance teacher definitely doesn’t want to hear you say.
1. Can we do that turn/leap/jump/layout/shuffle-ball-change to the left instead?
Your teacher came up with all this choreography for your new jazz production routine that involves a ton of formation changes and quick transitions. Don’t ask her to change the steps just because your left leg doesn’t go as high as your right. Instead, work hard to even yourself out before the routine hits the stage!
2. I can’t be at any of our Thursday rehearsals.
You have other responsibilities in life — you get that, your parents get that, and your teachers get that. So while you may really really really want to be in the small group lyrical piece your teacher is setting on your best friends this year, you may have to pass up the opportunity if you have serious scheduling conflicts.
3. I bought my first pair of pointe shoes over the summer!
Unless your purchase was teacher-approved, always wait for permission and approval before going on pointe! It’s tempting to go out and buy a pretty pair of pink pointe shoes and to start dancing around on them at home, but unless your teacher has guided you to that point and told you’re ready for the next step in your ballet training, avoid the urge! You risk seriously injuring yourself — and seriously upsetting your teacher.
4. I’m tired.
Everyone is tired. Unless you have a true health concern the teacher should know about, try to suck it up and rehearse to the best of your ability on any given day. Your teacher understands that you’re human and that some days you won’t feel totally on your A-game. But don’t complain about being exhausted and then refuse to practice full-out. That’s not fair to your teammates and it’s not respectful of your teacher’s time.
5. This routine is too easy / hard / fast / slow / boring.
Any complaints about your teacher’s choreography should be kept to yourself.
6. I’m going to miss the competition this weekend.
Things happen. There are family emergencies and mandatory school events. Fine. But if you know you’re going to miss something big, like an entire competition event, let your teacher know in writing at the very beginning of the year. Mentioning it in passing at the end of rehearsal isn’t sufficient. Make sure she knows exactly when and why you’ll be out so she can plan for your replacement.
7. I hate these costumes.
See aforementioned note about choreography complaints.
8. I can’t.
Just go ahead and ban this one from your vocabulary. Bonus points if you replace it with “I will,” “I’ll try,” or “I can.”