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  1. #11
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    I don't know a world without mirrors, since I grew up in a ballet studio. So I may not be the right person to answer you, Brea.

    But I do know that in ballet, the idea is to SEE the angle, position of the body, etc -- you SEE the place where you're supposed to be, or what you're supposed to be doing, and I guess the theory is that with repeated practice, you'll eventually BE where you kept seeing yourself. Your arm will always be THERE, even if you don't have the mirror to check, because your body is in the habit of putting it THERE. Does that make sense? So in some ways, you ARE learning with your eyes, but your body gets used to feeling a certain way when you do certain things.

    Like 5th position of the arms -- you start practicing this as practically a baby, always checking the mirror to make sure they're where they're supposed to be. After a while, it's so ingrained in you that you don't NEED to check in the mirror -- your body knows where to put your arms.

    BUT -- does this ballet style education translate to a belly dance class? That's the big question, I guess.

    Something my mentor did (and I do now) when teaching beginners the correct posture, is to start with the mirror. Let them see their correct posture from a couple of different angles. Then I have the relax and "shake it out" and stand in their normal posture. Then I tell them to assume the posture. We check it in the mirror, I tell them to remember what this feels like, and then we shake it out again. THEN I have them face away from the mirror and assume the posture. After a few months of doing this as part of the warmup, I've noticed they don't need quite so much correction anymore.

    But key to this is getting the student to REMEMBER what the correct posture feels like on their body. Kind of like how in jazz or modern class you at first have to check the mirror to see what a real "flat back" fold looks like, and then eventually your body remembers what it feels like to have a flat back and you go there automatically.

    Maybe you can start in front of the mirrors, and tell them "remember how this feels" and then pull them away from the mirrors periodically? I would think that (along with repetition) this would be the best way to get the movement REALLY into muscle memory and out of the "eyes" so much -- (????) Maybe?

  2. #12
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I agree with Brea. You can teach without mirrors.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sedoniaraqs
    But how could students ever learn correct technique without seeing what they look like executing movements?
    With the help of a teacher who corrects posture individually and corrects movements indivicually. I have one teacher who teaches with mirror and one who teaches without. I notice that with mirror, I'm still looking more to the teacher than to myself and the reverse image of the teacher in the mirror can confuse me. I love dancing without the mirror. It's more important the teacher can judge if your movements are right than you yourself in the mirror. You might still do it wrong that way when you're a beginner. For example, the movements my teacher makes look different on her than on me because she has bigger hips. So if I judge myself in the mirror I might still think I'm doing it wrong because it looks different.
    And I hate to see how lost some people are without the mirror because they are just too used on it.

  3. #13
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    I have always been into individual correction, as Moon said. However, I do see that it could be done as Aziyade is saying too. I just like the dance without mirrors, I suppose. I personally feel that it's more of a distraction. However, I agree that if they can be turned away from them perhaps that is the best way to do it.

  4. #14
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I guess.... I have more trouble getting into the music when there's a mirror.

  5. #15
    Member Fatima's Avatar
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    I've been lucky so far. I don't have a mirror at home so I check in the mirror when I'm in class and practice without it at home. I'm usually able to tell if I'm doing something right or wrong because of how it feels. I have to make sure I feel everything in class because I know I won't see anything at home.

    When I learn a group choreography I try to "see" everything around me and not the mirror because I won't have it when we're dancing. That's why listening to the music is also important. People around me and the music are my cues.

    Anyway, I'd love to take a class in a mirror free space.

  6. #16
    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    I absolutly HATE it without mirror! I started in a studio without mirror and it was BAD.

    I believe all the people are different, and there are people that are LESS body aware (as Sedonia said) and unfortunatly I am one of them!! ( As I have noticed most people that are not involved in lots of physical activity tend to have issues with "FEELING" the moves vs "Seeing" them.

    When I would come home after class and run to the mirror to try the moves I have learnt, it was bad, because they FELT right but looked wrong and I had to correct myself and 're-learn' the moves the correct way. In a group of 20 people it is absolutely impossible for an instructor to correct each and every clumsy beginner. To point out the main points yes....

    Besides for me it is really hard to "READ" the body of the teacher- I always get confused with left and right turns, or say dont keep the arms elongated enough, and although it might feel like I am doing what the instructor does in reality it looks wrong! It would be much easier if I could compare myself in the mirror with the instructor!

    Oh and I am not even going to mention that tense and super-concentrating face-mask I learn together with the choreo, only on coming home to notice it in the mirror and remember to smile instead.

    I know some people get obsessed with watching themselves in the mirror, but I belive dance is very much about presenting your body in a nice way- here I mean assuming correct posture, elongating the arms and legs creating elegant lines, framing the face, or hips with hands..... There are people out there who can do all that by intuition, BUT as for me- mirrors please! I Need to know what certain move looks like on ME before I remember what it feels like!
    Last edited by Reen.Blom; 02-26-2008 at 06:54 PM.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. Reen.Blom's Avatar
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    Oh and besides, if a student does not like mirror she can concentrate on the teacher, but if she really needs to see herself and the mirror is not there, then it is bad....

    Ohy and Maria, you are a genius, that curtain thing must be a reall blessing to accomodate everyone!

  8. #18
    Senior Member sedoniaraqs's Avatar
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    {shrugs} I guess you can teach cooking also without letting the students taste the food.

    I just don't see why anyone would want to deny students one of their main senses for self-feedback and learning.

    Wanting to not have mirrors in the room is very different from having mirrors and also using non-visual learning techniques.

    Sedonia

  9. #19
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    I think it's that people do learn differently. I have heard that you should teach in at least four different ways (any kind of teaching) because some people learn visually, some physically, etc. My preference is not to have mirrors, but as I said, where I teach now the walls are full of them!

    Perhaps it is some kind of belly-lexia.

  10. #20
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brea View Post
    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.

    Dear Brea,
    On my site there is an article called "Multiple Intelligences", which applies the work of Howard Gardner to learning dance. Raqs Azar.. It might be of interest to you.
    I have not found that I have that problem with students. they all seem to learn at least in part visually before they can feel or sense the movement in their own bodies. Some will rely on kenetic or other learning, as well.
    Regards,
    A'isha

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