Forum: Irish / Irish

Practicing without a mirror?
By eatsleepjigmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 07:37 PM

My practice space is a racquetball court in a gym, which means no mirrors and no hardshoes. For the hardshoe part, I practice in gym shoes and then drill rhythm at home on some plywood. My biggest concern however, is that because I don't have a mirror, I can't see what I am or am not doing well. Do any of you have tips for this?

8 Replies to Practicing without a mirror?

re: Practicing without a mirror?
By Bril
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 07:46 PM
Videotape. I had to practice sans mirror for a long time, so I just started propping my phone up and taping my dances.
It's harder than with a mirror because you can replay it.
Again.
And again.
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By StepdancerPremium member
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 07:48 PM
My plywood was in the garage, and my husband used mirror tiles on one wall to make me a nice mirror.

One of my teachers held lessons in her mother's basement, and she set regular wall mirrors of various sizes on the floor against the wall. We had to dance right in front of them, and we could only see our feet in the smaller ones, but it helped. There was always a good deal of competition for the full length mirror!
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By eatsleepjigmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 07:59 PM
Bril - I've tried that, but I'll need to get a tripod to get a good look at it. But I can definitely see how it's beneficial.

Stepdancer - Because my practice space is in a college campus gym, I can't just bring a mirror with me. I've got one at home for when I practice rhythm, but not in the racquetball court.
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By Bril
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 08:03 PM
I don't know what gym equipment you have but I grab one of those step things and put my phone on it in front of my waterbottle to hold it at the right angle.
Or a box for box jumps? Pretty much anything laying around, I have used.
re: Practicing without a mirror? (karma: 2)
By GannTheGloriousmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sun Jan 26, 2014 08:10 PM
When in class, learn how to feel what correct technique feels like. The visual input from a mirror is valuable, but it's nearly meaningless if you can't learn what's going on with your body when you do something that looks really good in the mirror.

I learned to do this from ballet and because I'm legally blind (there are a lot of things in ballet where the difference between correct and incorrect technique are subtle, and not enough for me to see in the mirror on the other side of the room). When you can, run your drills or steps slowly in front of a mirror, pay close attention to your technique and really think about what you're doing. How does it feel when you're turned out and crossed well? When your arms are still or if they move? What does good posture feel like as opposed to bad? A high jump versus a low one? and so on.

Do that enough, and you'll start to feel technique almost as well as you can see it.
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Jan 27, 2014 04:58 AM
^ Agree completely. You can't rely on a mirror at a feis or performance, so you need to know how to feel correct technique without help from a mirror OR a teacher.

Teachers in all dance disciplines frequently get their dancers to turn their backs on the mirrors (or have curtains to cover them with) for just that reason.

So long as you still have access to a mirror in other practice spaces e.g. class, then there should be no ill effects from a few mirrorless practices - if anything it should help.

You can also video yourself, even if only on a cameraphone, to see if what you felt matched up to what you were actually doing.
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By smiley_eilish
On Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:33 AM
Feeling what's right without a mirror is the best way, that way you can focus on how it feels and constantly recreating it. My major piece of advice would be to avoid looking down at your feet at all costs! It's a very small and very easy bad habit to develop while practicing without a mirror and has a huge impact on your presentation. So keep those eyes glues forward and focus on body placement :)
re: Practicing without a mirror?
By eatsleepjigmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Tue Jan 28, 2014 02:31 PM
GannTheGlorious, Louise, and smiley_eilish - I totally agree, I think I just needed it to be said. Thanks for the thoughts!

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