In my last post I explained how, earlier this week, I was 'ousted' from my usual place at the barre, and how this had temporarily upskittled me. However, it would seem that every cloud has a silver lining, and this one is particularly reflective! I was forced to take a place at the barre along the back wall of the studio, which happens to be well placed for a mirror on the back of the studio door, something that I have, until now, shied away from.
As a teenager, the mirrors at my dance school were legendary for making you seem shorter and squatter than you could ever possibly have been, and when I went on the Norfolk dance summer school in August last year, their phenomenal studios were lined with mirrors along the facing wall, but my current studios has limited and often curtained-over mirrors, so I enjoy a relatively mirror free existence, and until now, this has suited me just fine (I don't like having my delicate self-image toyed with by distorted or warped mirrors!)
It's no secret that mirrors help dancers to perfect their technique, but it can still be unnerving staring at your reflection for hours a week! But, watching my arms and legs in the mirror through Tuesday's barre made such a lot of difference; I could suddenly see when my supporting leg needed pulling up, or when I was sickling in retire, and as if to hit home the point, the grade 1 children this morning pulled back the curtains on the studio mirrors, and I watched my teacher really disect the technique of a compound step with them: The difference it made to their performance was vast.
It wasn't quite a revelation; more a reminder of just how powerful the mirror can be. Narcissus I am not, but I am going to make a conscious effort to utilise rather than fear the mirror from now on!