Teaching with mirrors in dance class

MirrorsIt is over 10 years since I first chatted to Sally Radell at a dance medicine and science conference about her fascinating research into the use of mirrors in the dance class. Her work in this area has highlighted that mirrors can be an effective tool in the dance class but that they can also have a negative influence on how dancers evaluate their body image and their work.

In the latest Bulletin for Teachers produced by the IADMS Education Committee (International Association for Dance Medicine & Science) there is a very useful handout Considerations for Mirror Use in Teaching Dance. It draws attention to ways that teachers can use mirrors within the dance class as well as the need to present the mirror as only one of many teaching tools.

It says:

Overuse  of the mirror can delay students’ development in learning to utilize kinaesthetic feedback.

It also draws attention to the need for dance teachers to be sensitive to negative body image issues that can be provoked by the use of mirrors in the dance class.

Mirrors are often used as a matter of course within dance classes and other classes such as exercise classes at the gym. Clearly we need to be much more selective about their use  so that dance students are not overly dependent on them and so that they can develop other valuable, positive learning approaches.

Click on the image of the handout below to download a copy.

IADMS handout - Mirrors

Or alternately you can visit the IADMS website directly.

2 thoughts on “Teaching with mirrors in dance class

  1. The mirror can be helpful but I also feel like when we are looking at ourselves we aren’t moving naturally and then not really getting an accurate representation of what we are doing.

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