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  1. #1
    Junior Member Hyacinth's Avatar
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    Default Relying on Mirrors

    OK, so I've been dancing with a troupe for about 2 years, which involves learning a lot of complex choreography. We practice in a mirrored studio and learn the choreo facing the mirror - our teacher / troupe director stands in front of us facing the mirror - and we do all our practice facing the mirror until we are ready to perform the choreo, then we'll do some practice facing away from the mirror.

    My problem is that I've come to rely on the mirrors to know what I'm doing and when they're not there, I panic and can't feel the movement I'm supposed to be doing. I never used to be like this - with my first teacher, we didn't even have mirrors (no, I'm not THAT old, the community hall just didn't have any) Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do?

  2. #2
    Member Chani's Avatar
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    Hi Hyacinth,

    This is totally the same for me.

    My first classes were in front of the mirror. We were encouraged to look in the mirror to help us see if we were doing them moves correctly. At home I practised in front of a mirror.

    Then came second Term and I was moved up to a different class with no mirrors (not on purpose but because it's at a different venue). I felt completely lost. During that first class without mirrors I wasn't sure what my body was doing. I felt that I wasn't doing as well because somehow it was easier to see myself doing the moves correctly than to feel that. When I got home I did a test - did a move looking in the mirror and right away while I still remembered exactly what I did, I did the same move not looking and in that way I got a sense of what the move feels like as well as how it looks reflected in a mirror. Basically, the moves looked bigger in the mirror than they felt.

    I was surprised at how much I had come to rely on the mirrors without even being aware of it. Luckily, as a very new belly dancer it's not too late for me to get out of the habit but it means I have been purposely not using the mirrors at home even when I am tempted to. I still think using mirrors is helpful as is videoing oneself but until I feel like I know what I'm doing without looking I'm going to be good and go mirror less.

    On another note, when I began dancing I was feeling very under confident within myself and about how I looked. I could hardly look at myself in the mirror and hated what I saw when I did. However, after 15 weeks of dancing and looking at my reflection so much I have a better body image than before and I don't hate looking at myself in a mirror.

    Chani

  3. #3
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    Hi,

    If I had the choice I would never have mirrors where I teach. Unfortunately it happens that there is an entire wall of mirrors! The reason is the same that you have stated...also I notice that students tend to obsess about the way they look and are more likely to watch themselves than me when I am instructing. I do see the benefit of mirrors sometimes, but I personally would prefer not to have any.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brea View Post
    Hi,

    If I had the choice I would never have mirrors where I teach. Unfortunately it happens that there is an entire wall of mirrors! The reason is the same that you have stated...also I notice that students tend to obsess about the way they look and are more likely to watch themselves than me when I am instructing. I do see the benefit of mirrors sometimes, but I personally would prefer not to have any.
    But how could students ever learn correct technique without seeing what they look like executing movements? They are essential. We are an inherently visual species, plus most beginners lack the body awareness to know what their bodies are doing without both visual confirmation and individual correction from the teacher. I hate the fact that most workshops are in big gyms without mirrors, and I will never host such an event myself.

    RE: For group choreography practice, I think mirrors are needed also, but the group has to rehearse without them at a certain stage.

    Sedonia

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    V.I.P. Maria_Aya's Avatar
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    I believe that mirrors are needed special in the learning time.
    A student, dancer can also check him/her self to see what is ok, what is not.
    In my studio we did a special thing (dont know how to explain it), and we have thick curtains that can cover the mirror.
    At the basic class, first we work with the mirror and after without it, in a circle, when I just put on music, to dance the teqnicks we learned in an improvisional way.
    At the next class, we work the combinations, etc, with open mirror and after we work them without.
    At the advanced class, we do choreo with mirror and after almost all the practising without.
    I cant say that its the level, cause i got various reactions from various classes lol.
    Some when they see me walking near the curtain scream NOOOOOOOO while others same time YESSSSSSS lol
    I believed that it was needed to have such a mechanism, but because of the structure of the walls, costed so much 600 euro without the curtain grrrr lol

    Maria Aya

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    V.I.P. jenc's Avatar
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    You are all so wonderful. do I have to move to be near one of you who teaches dancing not routines. AAAARGH! All I have is my mirror to react with when I want to experiment with music. Thhere is no other feedback possible localy at this time, despite the fact that there are several local teachers. At least it reminds me to watch my so far uncorrectd posture.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jenc View Post
    You are all so wonderful. do I have to move to be near one of you who teaches dancing not routines. AAAARGH! All I have is my mirror to react with when I want to experiment with music. Thhere is no other feedback possible localy at this time, despite the fact that there are several local teachers. At least it reminds me to watch my so far uncorrectd posture.
    I'm so sorry! IMO if the teacher isn't offering individual feedback (both positive and negative) she's not teaching, just taking your money.

    Sedonia

  8. #8
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Mirrors

    Quote Originally Posted by sedoniaraqs View Post
    But how could students ever learn correct technique without seeing what they look like executing movements? They are essential. We are an inherently visual species, plus most beginners lack the body awareness to know what their bodies are doing without both visual confirmation and individual correction from the teacher. I hate the fact that most workshops are in big gyms without mirrors, and I will never host such an event myself.

    RE: For group choreography practice, I think mirrors are needed also, but the group has to rehearse without them at a certain stage.

    Sedonia

    Dear Gang,
    I agree with Sedonia all the way on this. Especially early on, it is really necessary for students to have mirrors. When I go out of town to teach workshops, I always request that the hosts do everything they can to assure we will be working in a venue with mirrors. (Sedonia has sponsored me twice and both time the workshop venue was perfect in every way!! So was everything else. AND, she makes this soup....)) It is both for the benefit of the students and for me, so that I can see the students all at once in a mirror, in some way that I can not when facing them. They need the visual to compliment the feeling the movement gives the body, and to see how they are moving the same or differently from the instructor.

    Re the choreography issue- My company rehearses with the mirrors until we have the choreography down. Then we face a different direction and work without them until costume time. Then we face the mirrors again for a bit so they can have the satisfaction of seeing how all elements of the dance work together, music,movement, attitude and costuming to enhance the dance.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    My problem is that I've come to rely on the mirrors to know what I'm doing and when they're not there, I panic and can't feel the movement I'm supposed to be doing. I never used to be like this - with my first teacher, we didn't even have mirrors (no, I'm not THAT old, the community hall just didn't have any) Has anyone else experienced this? What did you do?
    Hey Hyacinth,

    Is the problem
    1. that you need the mirror to see what you're doing, no matter what direction you face

    or

    2. that you learned the choreography while your body was oriented a certain way (facing a certain direction) and when you face a different wall, it messes you up?

  10. #10
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    Default

    As I said, I see the value of mirrors for those above reasons, in a perfect world. Any advice on how to cut down on the distractedness? Some people, while watching themselves and doing fine, later on will be extremely confused because it seems they have learned with their eyes instead of their body...if that makes sense.

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