Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Workshop Etiquette

As a beginner attending my first workshop, I was never spoken to about proper etiquette but I understand that most of these things are common sense. Because we have all experienced workshop participants with bad or rude behavior, I think it should be a goal (especially if you are an instructor) to make sure those around you are familiar with proper workshop etiquette.

1. Arrive on time. This can be hard if you are in a new city and not familiar with the location. Allow plenty of time  for U-turns and if you arrive the night before then please find the workshop location to ease your commute in the morning.

2. Put your belongings as out of the way as possible. The organizers will usually have chairs or a sitting area. Keep your things out of the way so as not to cause a tripping hazard.

3. No unnecessary noises. This means no coin scarves or other noisy accessories. I have heard some workshop participants when asked to take their coin scarves off say they need it to feel the movement. On one hand if this true then you should be practicing without it to get away from that crutch but it is possible to get a heavy fringed or beaded scarf that will give you the same feel without the noise.

4. No talking. Not all instructors project their voices, like noisy accessories, talking can be a big distraction. If you need to talk to someone leave the room. Keep your phone off unless you are on call, and if you do need to make a call leave the room.

5. If you need a break don't be a distraction. All of us need a break every now and then. When you sit down do so quietly and keep out of the way. If you plan a lot of breaks whether from fatigue or for taking notes, keep you position at the back or side of the room so your constant up and down is not distracting.

6. Changing lines. Occasionally, an instructor will ask the room to change lines. This usually means that the first few lines move to the back and everyone else moves up. When an instructor makes this request please do so quickly and quietly. If you are in front you should always move. As a petite person, I always arrive early to get a spot in the front where I can see. If asked to change lines, I will do so to give the others an opportunity to see better. It is my responsibility to now position myself in the back to see as best as I can.
If you are in the back because you are a beginner or just shy and do not wish to move forward then please let the others come from the front and then reposition yourself if necessary.

7. Filming! Always ask if you can film. Never assume you may, in most cases it is not allowed. I find can you ask most workshop instructors to play the music again right after the workshop has ended so you can dance while the material is still fresh in your mind. Other participants might join in and have someone film them as well. If you can't film the instructor, never assume you can film another participant. Ask first! If I am alone and not getting the material, I will look for someone who is and ask if I can film them if I send the footage to them. So far everyone has said yes, but I do have close friends who will not let anyone film them.
Never ever post workshop footage that includes anyone but yourself on YouTube or similar sites! -This is why less and less workshops will allow cameras.

Please feel free to comment if you have any additional suggestions or would like to bring up less than flattering behaviors that you have seen at a workshop.

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