Belly Dance Workshop Etiquette

Taking workshops is very important to your belly dance education. I take as many as I can to learn new perspectives, technique and styles I am not familiar with. When I attend workshops, I am sometimes appalled at the behavior of some of the attendees (grown women) that make the workshop less enjoyable for everyone. The belly dance community is small and bad behavior is remembered! As your loving instructor, I don’t want you to be one of these jerks so please read and learn how to be a workshop sweetheart.
Arrive on time and in proper dance clothing
This is a no-brainer, but worth mentioning. Traffic and parking problems happen, but do your best to arrive early. Many workshop hosts need registration paperwork filled out so be sure to allow extra time for that.
There is no need to be glammed up for a workshop (you will be dancing and sweating for 2-5 hours), but be sure to wear dance/yoga pants and a form fitting t-shirt or tank top so the instructor can correct your posture and lines. For the sake of everyone, please don’t wear thong leotards or other see-through materials. It is distracting to the other participants. Also, many workshop instructors do not permit coin or noisy hip scarves. In a normal class of 10 students the noise level is fine, but think of how 50 or more jingling hip scarves sound and how loud the poor workshop instructor my have to yell so everyone can hear him or her. Please read the workshop form completely to find out if coin hip scarves are allowed. Dance barefoot or with dance shoes, but no high heels or street shoes unless specifically requested on the workshop form!
Put your phone on silent!
Are you a brain surgeon on call? If not, turn it off!
Save chatting for after the workshop
I know you haven’t seen you dance buddies for a long time, but save your chatting for before or after the workshop. It is distracting and can slow the class down. If I pay $100 for a workshop, I do not want to spend it hearing about your new dog. I want to hear the instructor.
Mind your space
Without sacrificing your ability to see, stagger yourselves to make sure those behind you can see the instructor and the mirror. Sometimes this isn’t possible in crowded classes, but do the best you can. No one likes a space hog running them over or blocking them in the mirror the whole time.
Take a break
If you are taking every single workshop, you will get tired. It is okay to take a break. Remove yourself to the side or back of the room and quietly rest or take notes.
Bite your tongue
Even if the instructor makes an incorrect comment, save your correction for after class or during a scheduled break. Confronting the instructor in the middle of the class will disrupt everything and throw him or her off for the rest of the workshop.
If you have a question, ask the instructor
I know it is tempting to ask your neighbor if you missed something the instructor said, but don’t do this. Not only does it make your neighbor miss the next bit of information, it will make it hard for the people around you to hear the instructor. Got a question, ask the instructor! He or she will be happy to answer and/or repeat a statement.
These are simple ideas, but they can make a huge difference in how smooth a workshop runs. You want to learn as much as you can from the instructor so the easier you make it for the instructor to teach, the more you learn for your money!
If you have other workshop etiquette tips, please comment and share.

• Meet the Author • Nyla Crystal

Sacramento belly dancer

3 comments… add one

  • Additional advice from the Twitter stream:Wear deodorant and be mindful of hygiene! Sweating for 2-5 hours sans deodorant in a small room is a sure way to make enemies.Also, don't gas out the room with over-powerful perfumes and body sprays that might give your neighbor an asthma attack.

  • I disagree with putting the cell phone on silent. Most students are homemakers and/or wives. Some are nurses, doctors, CPAs, and yet others are business women albeit entrepreneurial. A cell phone ringing in the middle of the class can spell emergency. A silent cell phone ringing in class can spell disastrous. -Sausan

  • Definitely a good point for moms leaving their little ones with babysitters. I did see one savvy mom with her phone clipped into her hip scarf on vibrate mode. Maybe that is a good compromise?I have been in way too many workshops where some ladies' phones were beeping and ringing all through the class and definitely not emergency calls. Thanks for adding input to the article.


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