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Ballet Class 101, Part II

You're ready. You've signed up for class, you've got your gear in order and now it's time for the hardest part: walking through the doors. Here are a few things that you should know before the class even starts.


1) Check in at the front desk. That person will tell you the procedures and prices. You will likely be told where the changing room is, and in which studio your class will be held. If you have any questions, this person is the one to ask. Having said that, try not to monopolize the front desk person's time. They are likely checking in other students as well as performing other duties to help the studio run smoothly.

2) The changing room. If you need to change from your regular clothes into your dance attire (or vice versa), please use the changing room and not the bathroom. And be forewarned that the changing room will likely be smelly and dirty. It will probably smell like discarded food and sweaty leotards and dance shoes. There's kind of no getting around this situation. Go in and get out as quickly as you can. Do not leave your bag or coat there unless the studio encourages you to bring a lock so you can put your stuff into a locker. Take everything with you.

3) Don't wear your street shoes into the studio. Some studios have cubbies right inside the door of the classroom. Look around or ask another student where to put your things. If it's winter, I often leave my coat and boots outside the classroom in the hallway along with my dance bag, but take my purse with me into the classroom.

4) The barre. This is where things get tricky. Longtime students of this class usually have their "regular" spots. And you are somehow expected to know where those are, even though this is your very first time here. In my experience, this happens more in upper level classes. Generally, people are quite friendly and forgiving in beginner classes. Having said that, if you are brand new to ballet, DO NOT stand at the ends of the wall mounted barre. Look for a spot in the middle where you can follow the people on either side of you as they will become the dancers in front of you as you switch sides. You always start with your left hand on the barre--this is tradition and I have never, ever done otherwise. Often there are portable barres that are placed in the center of the room when there are many students. If you are brand new, stick with the barres along the wall. If you have no other choice and have to stand at a portable barre, try to situate yourself between 2 people, or make sure you can easily see someone in front of you so you can follow when you need to. When barre is over, please help others put the barres away--they are cumbersome to carry by oneself.

5) Water. I have been in so many classes where a water bottle has been knocked over and while nothing gets spilled, it's always too loud and somewhat disruptive to the class. If you must have water with you, take a spot at the wall mounted barre. Otherwise, keep your water bottle with your dance bag and sip it in between barre and center.

6) Introduce yourself to the teacher. It's a small yet important gesture. Please don't expect the teacher to know that you are new or to necessarily remember your name even after introductions are made. But if you have an injury, definitely inform the teacher before class begins.

7) Turn off your phone. Or set it to Do Not Disturb. Do not leave it on vibrate.

Take a deep breath and get ready to dance!

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