8 Weird Things Your Dance Teacher Says

By Nichelle Suzanne

Dance teachers say and do some crazy things (like tell you a few little white lies!), but even their strangest sayings are meant to help you become a better dancer.

From using oxymorons to requests that seem impossible (“close your ribs” sound familiar?!), here are eight odd things you may have heard your dance teacher say:

“Get out of the mirror!” Spending too much time looking at your own reflection in the mirror? Your teacher is going to call you out if it’s starting to affect your dancing … and not in a good way. Here are a few tips on how to use the studio mirrors to your advantage and how to avoid common reflection-gazing pitfalls.

“Get your eyes off the floor.” No, your eyeballs aren’t rolling around at your feet. Your posture and stage presence will be better if you look up and out while you dance—especially if your choreography includes pirouettes and other intricate turns.

“Close your ribs.” If your dance teacher is talking about your ribs (not the food!), she is saying your spine is not aligned and it looks like your rib cage is sticking out. Of course ribs don’t close, but this image can help fix your placement.

“Lace up your abdominals.” Engage that core! A strong core not only plays a key role in finding your balance and stability, but can help keep injuries at bay.

“Dance beyond your bubble.” A dance teacher might use this expression or the fancier-sounding, “dance outside your kinesphere,” to get you to perform with more confidence, dance bigger or to get your eyes off the floor and project out to an imaginary audience.

“Stay up in the air. Don’t come down!” If only dancers had that option! Play with the timing or position of your leap so that it looks like you are floating in mid-air for a moment. To master any leap, here are six important elements you’ll need to practice and perfect.

“Don’t sit in your heels.” Instead of standing with your weight evenly spread across each foot, your weight is shifting over your heels. If your base is wobbly, it’s more difficult to hold a long balance. Give your ankles some special attention by strengthening muscles that allow for the side-to-side movement of the foot (supination and pronation).

“Don’t think.” Uhh, is this an oxymoron? While you can’t turn off your brain while dancing even if you wanted to, you may be getting so caught up in the details of the combination or worrying about messing up that your dancing is stiff. Try to relax. Dance class is the place for mistakes.