Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2017

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Theatre and Dance

First Advisor

Margaret Wilson

Second Advisor

Jennifer Deckert

Abstract

In dance classes, mirrors are used to help students see if they are using proper alignment and technique. Mirrors are used in the classroom, but are not used in performances. Performances usually take place on a stage, with stage lighting. The purpose of this study is to see if there is a notable impact on the technical accuracy and confidence of the dancer when learning dance with the mirror versus learning dance without the mirror. For this study, participants learned sequences with and without the mirror, and executed the sequences in a simulated performance setting. A faculty panel assessed the performance of the dancers using a survey. Following their performance, the dancers evaluated themselves using an initial survey, generally rating their performance in each testing condition (with the mirror, and without the mirror). After completing both testing conditions, participants filled out a final survey rating their performance in both rounds, and comparing the two. This study adds to the research being done in the dance science community. It aims to assess whether the mirror plays a significant role in aiding or hindering the dancer’s accuracy and confidence in a performance setting. Results showed that the mirror has both benefits and disadvantages when learning movement to be executed in a performance setting. Participants indicated similar advantages and disadvantages, but varied in their conclusion on whether learning with the mirror was more beneficial than without the mirror. This lead me to conclude that the use of the mirror is individualized, and the effects will vary from person to person.

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