School of Dance
George Mason University
MS 3D4
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-1114



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Checklist for Success in Dance Class

Studio Etiquette
Grading Policies

The faculty views dance not only as a craft, but as an art form which provides a valid and arresting statement of significant human experience. The student is encouraged to have a broad interest in and familiarity with all the arts, and to acquire the widest possible knowledge of the relation between dance and other intellectual and creative activities. It is hoped that the student will: develop a more disciplined mind and body; understand more clearly the artist within each of us; realize through physical experience the joy of integrating the body, mind and spirit in the art of dance; and, develop strength, flexibility and control.

Instructors will discuss dance clothing in detail with their classes. However, the following general information applies to all GMU dance classes. Clean leotards and tights or unitards must be worn in ballet, modern and jazz classes. Your instructor may give you permission to wear athletic clothes. Hair must be secured. Long earrings and large or noisy jewelry should not be worn. Men wear dance belts and shirts or leotards with their tights. Clothing should be worn over dance clothes outside of class. Ballet shoes are required for ballet classes; jazz shoes, ballet shoes or bare feet are appropriate for jazz classes. No shoes are worn in modern class.

Studio Etiquette:

  • Turn off all cell phones.
  • Students must be prompt, apply their full concentration to the class work and remain until the end of class. Late comers may be required to observe rather than participate in class.
  • Students in dance classes are encouraged to ask questions of the instructor. Beyond this, students should not engage in conversation and should give the instructor their full attention at all times.
  • Do not chew gum or eat anything during class. It is dangerous as well as distracting.
  • Individual corrections are often given in class. Students are expected to be accepting and appreciative of these suggestions for personal growth and improvement. Others should listen and apply the corrections to their own work.
  • Each student must take responsibility to help create a positive atmosphere in the studio classroom.
  • If possible, early arrival for class can be used as productive warm-up time.
  • Sitting between combinations (observing other class members performing) is considered poor etiquette as well as being physically detrimental.
  • Class members who are excused from participating in class should be actively involved in watching the class. A great deal can be learned from active observation.
  • If you have had a past physical injury or have any physical limitations, it is your responsibility to inform your instructor.
Grading Policies
  1. Participation: Students are expected to participate fully in every class as scheduled and are expected to come on time and stay for the complete class. Moreover, 6 absences for classes meeting three times per week, 4 absences for classes meeting twice a week, and 2 absences for classes held once a week may result in a failing grade. If serious illness or injury should prevent a student from participating in class, it is the student’s responsibility to request a medical withdrawal from his or her Dean.
  2. Make-up Classes: It is not possible to make up any missed classes.
  3. Written Assignments: Written assignments are important requirements in all technique classes. Guidelines for these assignments will be discussed in each class.
  4. The Honor Code: All student work must be in accordance with the GMU Honor Code outlined in the university catalog.
  5. Grading Standards: The following general guidelines have been established for grading dance technique classes:
    A = Excellent
    A-, B+, B = Very Good
    B-, C+, C = Average
    D = Unsatisfactory, passing
    F = Unsatisfactory, failing

    A detailed evaluation scale is part of each course syllabus. Instructors will issue a mid-term letter grade to denote evaluation after the first 8 weeks of classes.
  6. Incompletes: No incomplete grades will be given in technique classes.
  7. Clarification: Please feel free to discuss these matters with your instructor at any time.