Last week we had our ballet exams and I had a really interesting conversation with our examiner on the drive back to her hotel. Our conversation began over a student who had entered the exam room crying after removing her earrings for the first time, where the examiner said to me that it is ok for them to leave them in if it is too much to take them out. She then continued that although there are many rules around grooming for exams (which I must add her studio follows) a lot of studios don’t follow them at all! Now this shocked me and I responded straight away that no the students need to follow these rules as it is such a good learning experience for them, there are so little times in life these days that still require a particular level of grooming and not to mention still follow tradition.

So other than tradition, why does your dance teacher always go on and on about uniform, hair and grooming for class….

  1. Uniform creates an identity and sense of belonging at the studio. Studio pride is a wonderful way for students to strive to be the best dancer they can be.

  2. Uniform shows your teacher and studio director respect - it shows that you respect their rules and that you’re ready to focus and learn.

  3. Uniform provides teachers with the ability to see all movement when giving instruction. It prevents economic and social differences being experienced at the studio. The peer pressure to buy “trendy” dancewear is removed.

  4. Uniform and hair requirements are designed specifically for dance, meaning it makes your learning easier. In correct attire can restrict movement, or teachers from being able to see postural corrections and incorrect hair can get in the way or require retying during class time.

  5. Uniform enables teachers to see who is new to the studio or trying out if all our students are wearing the uniform.

A post recently did the rounds on social media, which I believe is a great reminder to parents and students about uniform requirements…

“Parents- if you get pushback from your children on dress code, we are depending on you to be firm about the expectations of the studio. As an instructor, when we have to get onto the children about dress code it makes them immediately not like us --or have something negative in their mind - because they "got in trouble". Try not to put the instructors in this position. The instructor should be given the opportunity to teach ballet and let the instruction be how their relationship with the student is formed. There are plenty of other discipline things we will handle in the classroom, but wearing the correct attire is the dancer and parent's responsibility.

Older Dancers- DO NOT PUSH THE BOUNDARIES TO SEE WHAT YOU CAN GET BYWITH. This too puts directors in a terrible position. Instead of focus on ballet technique, artistry, stamina, strength- you are asking us to hold you accountable as to whether your tights are footless or not. You know the rules, if you are advanced you have been around long enough to know what the expectations are. Breaking the rules will only damage your reputation and waste time. Often schools do not allow dancers to take class out of dress code.”

Miss Dani x

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