Quick Tip: Make friends with the mirror

This week’s Quick Tip will help you improve your form, your technique, your self-confidence, and make you look your best on the dance floor. Sounds good? Then go find a full-length mirror, say hi, and make friends. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Dance studios, gyms, fitness studios and the like all invest in and value mirrors for a good reason: seeing yourself is the best way to assess and improve your form, whether you’re lifting dumbbells, practicing your spins, or putting on your best pouty face.

Practicing in front of a mirror may seem silly at first, but it’s one of the best ways to become familiar with how you look when you’re dancing (video is another good way, but let’s start with mirrors). Unfortunately, many of us aren’t brought up with the body awareness of athletes or dancers who start training at an early age; however that awareness of our own form and movement is what makes great technique and beautiful styling possible. Every dancer that you admire has spent many hours practicing their moves in the mirror and getting to know how to make their body look its best.

A few uses for your mirror:

Practice your basic steps. Look at the way you transfer your weight (are you bobbing up and down?), your posture (no slouching!), your arms (no hanging vines!), and get a general feel for how you look when you’re dancing. If you can become comfortable dancing with yourself in the mirror, you will be comfortable dancing in front of others as well.

Practice your spins. We preach (and practice) spotting in our classes as a technique to enhance your spins and make them sharper and safer. But spotting does not come naturally to most of us – we’ve practiced it in the mirror, watched our own awkward landings, collided with innocent household objects, and eventually got better.

Practice your shines and styling. We encourage everyone to learn styling from a variety of teachers. We each have different body shapes and a different way of moving, which makes some style elements look better than others. You need to find what moves look best on you, and that only comes through practice and by seeing yourself go through those motions.

So put on some slow salsa practice music, and work on your relationship with your new friend every day. Odds are, you’ll see a better dancer look back at you in no time!

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