Congratulations, you’ve taken a big step towards pursuing dance as a passion and lifestyle and beyond just a regular hobby. You are making your very own home dance studio. And whether it’s a portion of your home that you have set aside for dance or an entire room with a full-length barré, specialty flooring, and clothing rack, the important thing is that this is your very own dance space.
So here’s a question: Does your dance studio need a mirror? The short answer is – yes! Whether your studio is for exercise and improvisation or to prepare you for live performance, you don’t simply want a mirror for your home dance studio. You need one. Check out how mirrors can be helpful to have in your space!
Be Your Own Audience
More than anything else, dance is a visual medium. The movement is designed not only for the dancer but specifically with an audience in mind. Without that understanding, all practice becomes fairly meaningless. And what professional dancers do cannot be done casually on the first attempt. It takes years of rigorous and repetitive training to achieve the seamless excellence of a professional dance performance. When you are learning through practice and rote repetition, a special emphasis must be placed on how the movement and positions look to the public viewer. Without a mirror, you have no way of knowing if you’re perfecting your form or enshrining an error into your personal dance portfolio. Not being able to constantly visualize your moves as you perform them is a serious setback.
In addition to allowing a strict focus on form, you also have the added function of safety when you have a mirror to work with in your studio. How so? When learning from an instructor, you will be viewing the correct positions and posture for your dance moves and exercises. These correct forms are not only for visual pleasure and perfection, they have a function as well. Poorly executed dance moves, stretches, and exercises can lead to serious injury, either immediately or from other long-term misuse. Those injuries can be debilitating setbacks for a student of dance, and absolutely disastrous for professional dancers as well. Using a mirror will help hone your craft correctly and avoid as many injuries as possible.
What Kind, Where, and How?
Now that we’ve made the case for getting a mirror, the next things we need to work out are what style of mirror, where to put it, and how it should work in your home studio. To be useful to you, a mirror needs to meet some basic criteria. First, it should be as close to full-length as possible. A small vanity mirror won’t do you much good when you are trying to critique the movements of your entire body. Go as large as you can comfortably fit and afford. Next comes some basic space considerations: Make sure that the mirror is mounted properly so it won’t be affected by vibrations produced by your work. If it’s freestanding make sure that it isn’t in a place where you can collide with it. How you use your mirror is relative to the style of dance work that you are performing, but your basic rule of thumb is that you want to see yourself, and you don’t want your mirror to intrude into your workspace. If you have a barré, for example, make sure that the mirror is positioned in such a way that you see the full range of your exercises. Mirrors on opposing walls are a good idea as they will allow you a fuller view of your body from both the front and the back. Remember, you want to be seen!