Master classes at conventions can be intimidating. You find yourself dancing in a hotel ballroom with 200 other students and a teacher you’ve never worked with, learning moves you’ve never tried before. If you are taking class with someone famous you feel extra pressure to do your best. But there are ways to ease your anxiety and get the most out of each class. Here are some tips!

Be prepare for a challenge
You don’t attend master classes every day so they are designed to be a reach.” You are usually learning a style that you are not accustomed to and it might be a little difficult. Classes might be shorter than usual with new material flying at you.

Don’t worry too much about where you’re standing:
If you are doing something great, they’ll see you, but you will see the instructor better if you are in front. The closer I am to a choreographer, the more I can see all the details. In a large class it isn’t possible for everyone to be in the front. If you do make it up front, make sure the teacher has room to breathe. There are students who push their way to the first row so they’ll be seen.

Go in with a goal:
Maybe your intention is to get better in bellydance, to hear new music or to learn how to make your upper body stronger. Giving yourself a goal allows you to focus on what you can control-not what you can’t. Spending your time in class frustrated is always a waste. When you are clear about what you want, you will get more out of it!

Everyone is learning:
Yes, you want to do your best but remember the real purpose of a class.” You are there to learn from the instructors” The reason for a master class is that teachers and choreographers want to share knowledge that dancers don’t have. The masters are learning from you as well. Teaching shows them how to convey their choreography and help you learn it in the most detailed, efficient way.

Personal Attention is impossible:
There isn’t enough time to comment on everyone. The individual attention that you are used to at home or in a private class is out of the door. Teachers often give corrections to another student and assume you know it is meant for you as well. Take every correction the teacher makes as your own and remember that if a teacher doesn’t say anything to you, it doesn’t mean that he/she is not paying attention to you.

Perfection isn’t necessary:
Sure it’s a master class but that refers to the teacher not the student. Teachers do not expect everyone to be “perfect”. They want to see that you are really trying, that you are enthusiastic about it. You wouldn’t need teachers if you already were the best. You have to go in with the mindset that you are going to do the best you possibly can. But realized that everyday is not going to be the best day you’ve ever had. No matter what happens you will have learned something from the experience

Convention Class Etiquette:

Appreciate Criticism:
At a convention, the teacher is on stage. Traditionally, instructors do not give individual corrections and stay on stage the entire class. If a teacher does give you a correction, follow the direction and remember that you must caught his/her eye as someone with potential.

Dance outside the box:
When you take a new class, there always are unfamiliar exercises. You feel ridiculous, and your first instinct is to mark it “Sorry, it’s not my thing” Great dancing is not about correctness; it’s about energy and emotion. Attack the movement with confidence and a willingness not to try, but do!

The New Reverence: 
A master class is an opportunity to make an impression on a professional who has taken time to share their technique and perspective. At the end of class, make sure you thank them personally.

Take Notes: 
Whether its career tips or a technical correction that finally clicks, master instructors are full of advice. Grab a moment to take notes about steps, combinations, corrections, tips, or words of wisdom. You never know when a two hour class can change your entire dance career.

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