Teaching without mirrors

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    Janet Hanseth

    Originally posted by Joan Marie on tribe.net.Hi ladies,br/br/What has been your experience teaching L1 in a studio without mirrors. If your class is fairly large, how do you see what they are doing, while still providing instruction? br/br/Has anyone tried to have the class arrange in a circle with the instructor in the center of the circle and move around to see what the students are doing? Comments on trying something like this in terms of efficiency and confusion for the students.br/br/Any other thougths or comments.br/br/Thanks. Joan



    Originally posted by Sandi on tribe.net.I dont have much experience with this in bellydance, but in my hula classes, we dont have mirrors. We just watch our teacher and luckily he has a stage so were lower than him - easier for all of us to see. He will demo the dances towards us in a mirroring fashion, so that hes doing it the opposite way - being our mirror image. I dont recommend this for ATS, since we dance facing sometimes and could get confusing later on. BUT, what really helps is he demos what were doing wrong and demos the right way to do things. It really pinpoints some of the common errors people make and forces the student to re-examine how they feel their movements, since they cant see them. And if he has to repeat the same correction, we all have to recheck ourselves to make sure were not falling back into bad habits.br/br/Hope that helps.



    Originally posted by Caroline on tribe.net.Im teach a class where we dont have mirrors and have found getting the students in zig zag formation is easiest for drilling puposes. Bit the same as Sandis hula teacher, demonstrate right move, drill it for the class so they are all comfortable, then I will let them continue drilling while walk around /watch to see what errors are occuring. Then I return to the front to pinpoint and correct. Ive noticed that these students to tend to get the moves on their bodies quicker sometimes. In the class I teach that has mirrors I find the students focus too much on what their reflections are doing (or the other students) so will often get the class to reverse and dance facing the wall. Really interesting because then these students end up dancing a lot better without mirrors!



    Originally posted by Lucy on tribe.net.I teach somewhere without mirrors, and have found no problems at all with how they are getting on. I was a little worried about it, but really havent found any issues at all.br/It may help to have a more experienced student in there with you to keep say, a combo going at the front while you pop about sprinkling the fairy-dust. Do you have anyone who can give you a hand?br/I like dancing in a mass circle with them in class to finish off a class, and we occasionally do it at other times so I can properly watch them and dance at the same time.br/Also small-group formation work and chorusing gives you a chance to just watch and then give them feedback afterwards. Also if you are sitting there watching them and smiling it makes them smile too which is lovely 🙂



    Originally posted by Lucy on tribe.net.I was also considering a mirror-less location, but avoided it because I wondered whether it would work. This discussion has been encouraging, however. All good replies; thank you!



    Originally posted by Joan Marie on tribe.net.Great feedback ladies, thanks!



    Originally posted by Carrie on tribe.net.When I started taking tribal classes in 2004, my classes were without mirrors. I came home from a trip to Europe, and my room mate had set up semi-private classes at our house for us and 3 of our girlfriends while I was gone. Every week, we moved the furniture. Our teacher came over and taught without mirrors. This was the first 5 months of my tribal education before she moved away and another of her troupe started teaching in a studio.br/br/I think its really easy in a small group and in some aspects more beneficial. We didnt get caught up with what we looked liked. We were forced to just feel the moved more instead of trying to make our bodies do it in the mirror. br/br/Personally, I think the circle would be confusing for the student.



    Originally posted by Erika on tribe.net.Whenever I am at a venue that doesnt have mirrors like a camp or an outdoor festival I use the circle formation. br/Even when Im teaching a regular class, though, I use the circle often enough.br/br/The circle can indeed be confusing for the students at first, but I think it has some teaching value: it helps them in the transition from merely copying the teachers movements to reacting to what was cued with the appropriate move. While in a circle, they find out they cant use the shortcut of simply imitating the leader because in a circle, naturally, mirroring doesnt produced the result we want . Its a good personal thermometer for the students that are heavily relying on mere imitation without realizing it, and for the ones that have troubles breaking the habit of watching themselves or the leader in the mirror.br/br/Other students might have a very clear notion of what cue is linked to which move, but still have delayed reactions or respond inaccurately to the cue if this is perceived in a different angle from what the student is accustomed to: the circle offers the chance of being challenged with several different angles from which the cue is given. This can help to understand the move from a 360° point of view. The students find duets, and trios or quartets facing in, much less hard and proportionally more fun, when they have a circle formation training. They can enjoy each others supportive smiles without having much of the feeling of having to re-learn how to respond to the cues. br/br/So I think dancing in circle formation might lead the new students to have a deeper understanding of how this wonderful improvisational game of cues works, and help the more experienced students to make the steps well engraved in themselves, make them even more their own.



    Originally posted by Cyndi Cyreigna on tribe.net.I tend to teach my level 1 without mirrors....I think that is helps them focus on watching for cues and such as opposed to fixating on the mirror and watching me from the front. I have had good luck with this...Now when they do get to use mirrors, they tend to only glance at them to fix form and posture and then automatically focus on the leader for cues. I actually have a few very good students who absolutely hate mirrors, they say it throws them off to see me from the front. br/Word of caution, if you dont use mrrors, you really have to literaly have eyes in the back of your head! My periferal vision has magnified by a gazillion! 🙂 It works for me....Good luck....br/br/Cyreigna



    Originally posted by Jennifer on tribe.net.I teach with mirrors, but whenever my students dance together in groups (as opposed to drilling a move with me), I have them turn around and face the back wall. When they are dancing with each other, they never face the mirrors. (It is funny to watch them do something like an arabic turn, though, and see themselves when they face the back - now the mirror - and forget that they are turning and hang out there. Usually only happens their first few times dancing in groups, though, and not with everyone!)



    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.I teach in studios with mirrors. Sometimes I change their orientation away from the mirrors so they dont fixate on them. Its worked well so far. However I have recently been asked about teaching in another location that has a smaller space and no mirrors. Ive been weighing the pros and cons. This thread has helped me alot. Im going to go look at the space today and decide. Thanks for raising the question and for the input from everyone. It was very timely for me too. 🙂



    Originally posted by *** Diana Lee ** on tribe.net.Just like Raven, I was asked to teach a workshop in a studio without mirrors.br/Thank you for all the valuable info. It really help me a lot. 😉



    Originally posted by Lucy on tribe.net.Love it when someone expresses what you are trying to say far more eloquently than you can. Thanks Erika :)br/br/In the circling I try to position myself directly opposite a more experienced student to avoid arm position confusion, but in Level 1 I have only found this to be at all an issue with the arms on Pivot Bumps - but it gives them practice not-mirroring that comes in handy when they are practicing small formations without me leading. Working out the mirroring tendency is something I try to get out of them quickly as it was something I had trouble with in the beginning. There was an amount of hammering home the right foot on the 1.br/br/When we started it there was an immediate response when travelling to pootle along facing the back of the person in front of them...had to iron that one out quick, but now they only need the barest of reminders and it has helped them when facing each other in small formations.br/br/One thing I do is to stress that we only really do circling in class, or when entering / exiting a performance. In our first performance we did a bit facing each other but it just doesnt look good to the audience. It felt safe in the (hafla) situation though, and gave them a little bit of extra confidence for their first venture out performing ATS, but now its kept to a minimum.br/br/It seems to happen naturally at hafla free-dance sessions. I think people like it; many of them have said they feel it brings the class properly together at the end, which is nice too, as I usually dance through a track with them, travelling round and swapping the lead with the braver ones, then we go straight into the prayer still all facing each other to finish things off. 🙂



    Originally posted by Lucy on tribe.net.Go for it! 🙂 Theyll be fine!



    Originally posted by SOOZ on tribe.net.Ive been teaching out of my house during the summer to save on studio costs and lo, and behold, the student ration has gone thru the roof! I thought it would be crickets! Anyway.....there are no mirrors, and I let them know ahead of time just in case it will inform or influence their decision (for some, they need a formal studio in my experience...go figure). The feedback from returning students has been positive and newer students dont really know the difference or dont seem to mind. I still would like to mirror a wall eventually (man, its expensive) but for now, not as bad as I thought it would be! ^_^

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