Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mirrors out, Dance in!

I decided to take a teacher training course in Yoga to study movement from a new angle.  As you might guess there are so many similarities in focus, caring for the body and stretches/movements/poses.  I was surprised that I do so many yoga poses in my dance teaching without knowing it. 

There is a big  focus on how the body feels, listening to your body's  "edge" and not doing anything that creates pain.  I believe this 100% in dance but I do not feel that children are taught this as much as they should.  The concentration can be overwhelmingly on how something looks and "no pain no gain."  Now I know that dance is different then yoga. Choreography of course is different but that does mean that these principles should be lost.

I love teaching young children because they are not focused as much on how something looks as much as how it feels. I try not to use mirrors because I think this sends the wrong message to young dancers.  The focus should be more internal and less external.  Freeing themselves of inhibitions should be encouraged.

Try teaching some dance classes without the mirror and observe how the movements change and how your students react.  It could be a great exercise in learning how you teach, how you describe movement and how they interpret it as well.

If children explore what their bodies can do, how their bodies feel and what muscles are being utilized the end product are dancers who are healthy, confident and will be able to transition from young dancers to performers.  And it will also promote a life long love of dance.

I didn't realize when I decided to learn more about Yoga that it would strengthen my beliefs about dance.  I am looking forward to learning more!



  1. Stacey, I'm so glad you took a yoga training! I did the same thing and I also thought it taught me more about dance and what it offers children. It also gave me a wider perspective on creative movement!

    I also usually teach without a mirror mainly because the spaces I teach don't have one. I love it! The kids are not as distracted and are really focused on their bodies and their imaginations.

  2. HI Maria,
    I took a yoga class the other day with a mirror in the studio and I was so distracted. I kept sneaking a peek instead of listening to my body.