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5 Tips for Creating a Positive Culture at Your Studio

Updated: Jan 5

While dance culture has many positive aspects, it’s not exactly known for being drama-free. High levels of stress, over-competitiveness, cliques, and cattiness often find their way into the classroom just as they do outside of the dance world. As a dance teacher, creating a positive culture in your classroom is essential not only for the success of your dancers, but your dance studio as a whole. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to create a positive culture in your classroom.

Steps for Creating a Positive Culture

First, it’s important to evaluate what your classroom culture is currently like. Here are some helpful questions to consider:

● Do all of my students feel included?

● Do my students feel comfortable when they try something new?

● Do my students feel safe if they make a mistake?

● How often do miscommunications happen?

Evaluating your honest answers to these questions will help you understand your classroom’s current culture and determine what you’d like to change. If you feel the culture in your classroom isn’t what you’d like it to be, there’s good news–with patience and effort, you can change it. Here are 5 tips for creating a positive culture at your dance studio:

1. Focus on Positive Reinforcement


Most of us can think of a time we received a compliment that made us glow. As a dance teacher, providing positive reinforcement to your dancers will help you create a lighter, friendlier, and more positive culture in your classroom.

While any positive reinforcement is good, make an effort to take it beyond generic or overused expressions and focus instead on providing specific, positive, and personal feedback. This will help each dancer feel seen, valued, and confident.

2. Communicate Effectively

One of the best ways to create a positive culture in your classroom is to improve communication with your dancers. Confusion and embarrassment often happen when your dancers don’t understand your expectations. Here are some tips for improving your communication:

Over communicate: For important announcements, don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Repetition is one of the best ways to help things stick.

Contact the parents: This is especially crucial if you teach younger dancers. Don’t rely on them to pass information to their parents, such as class time changes, recital details, or rehearsal protocol.

Use dance studio software: Avoid relying solely on verbal communication. Using a custom dance studio app, you can keep your entire class and their parents connected for important announcements.

3. Emphasize Inclusion

Feeling left out or unaccepted in class is one of the most common reasons a young dancer may want to throw in the towel on their dancing career (and for parents to become upset). Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to improve inclusion in your classroom:

Expand the dress code: Although the traditional ballet pink leotard and slippers has been the standard for decades, in reality, everyone is different, and some dancers may not feel comfortable in this attire. Expanding the dress code to allow for other colors and types of uniforms will help dancers of all skin colors, shapes, and sizes to feel included in your classroom.

Do not tolerate bullying: As a teacher, it’s your responsibility to ensure that bullying and active exclusion aren’t permitted in your classroom. Make sure your students know that bullying or ostracizing of any kind will not be tolerated.

4. Create Common Goals


Creating common goals and working towards them as a team is one of the best ways to promote a positive culture in your classroom. Consider the values and goals in your dance studio.

For example, is there an event your class needs to fundraise for? Can you offer an incentive for your dancers to learn a new skill together as a class? Working towards common goals like these will help you create a sense of unity and belonging in your classroom.

5. Offer Constructive Criticism

Finally, polish your constructive criticism skills. Criticism, when delivered poorly, can create feelings of humiliation and shame. However, when delivered skillfully, it’s usually much better received. Be conscious of timing when offering constructive feedback, and focus on using positive language. Small efforts like these can go a long way.

Final Thoughts

As a dance teacher, the culture in your classroom matters, not only for your dancers, but the success of your dance studio. Creating a positive culture requires effort and patience, but with time, you can create a positive and inspiring environment where your dancers can thrive.

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