You might have had a dance teacher tell you before that, “There’s no such thing as a bad question,“ and for the most part, this is true. Yet, there are three types of questions that are just downright frustrating to teachers. These questions often show the instructor that the student isn’t focusing on the correct things.
Every student wants to get the most out of class, so we asked multiple teachers from several different dance styles, studios and levels of teaching, to discover the top 3 questions students should steer clear of! Learning how to ask the right questions is a part of growing as a dancer, so avoid wasting time asking the following:
1. A question that another student just asked
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many teachers find that this is a common issue in class. It’s easy to let your mind wander, but asking a question that’s just been posed by another student tells your teacher that you’re not paying attention…this is discouraging for them, and damaging to your learning. Make conscious efforts to listen to the questions that others ask, and learn from the answers…even if you think you already know them.
2. Questions that aren’t relevant to the combination/topic
Dancers, if you’re in the middle of adagio and ask your teacher if she’ll be teaching a variation later on, it means you’re not focusing on the situation at hand. Maybe a movement in the combination reminded you to ask about the demonstration piece—save it for later. Your teacher wants you to focus on what you’re doing in the moment, and teachers also know that there’s only so much time in a class, they want to fill that time with helpful instructions for you to grow.
Helpful tip: asking a teacher what time it is never ends well, so be warned!
3. Questions that can be figured out on your own
Many questions can be answered simply by doing the movement. Questions are great…but only if it’s something you really don’t know. Although teachers do love questions that allows them to help their students execute each move with perfection, many students feel that asking MORE than necessary will make their teacher feel like they’re more invested, or paying more attention. If you have a question that you feel could potentially be answered by completing the exercise, attempt it. If you still feel that it’s a relevant question after that, go ahead and ask it before the other side is repeated.
This post isn’t meant to discourage students from asking questions, on the contrary, it’s meant to be used as a tool for asking the RIGHT questions of your teachers. They are there to help you learn, that’s their primary focus. The right questions are fuel for a teacher, so be present in class, soak everything in. That classroom is where you’ll learn to appreciate the technicality, grace, and art of dance! So bring on those questions—learn and grow!