Teaching dancers to work and move as a team takes a lot of time and hard work, especially when you are trying to get ten or more dancers anticipating one another’s movements and their relative position on stage. It’s difficult, but it’s also something you can encourage and develop with a short 10-minute exercise during class. This is the mirror exercise.
First, you’ll want to pair up your dancers. Groups of two work best if you really want to embrace the “mirror” effect, but working side by side, groups of three can work well, too.
Have your pairs stand in front of one another. Have your trios stand side by side or in a triangle shape with two in front and one behind. As you move through the exercise with a trio, you’ll probably want to have them rotate who stands where in the triangle.
Pick a Move
You’ll want to give your dancers either a series of moves to work through or stand at the front of the room and call out moves to your dancers as they do this exercise.
Tell your dancers to listen to the moves you call out or start performing the predetermined move set you picked. Either way, they need to perform, matching their partner’s movements as closely as they can. If their partner’s hand raises, their hand should also be raising. If they need to plie, they should both move into plie.
This simple exercise can be done in 10 minutes or you can spend a whole class exercising with different partners and move sets. Regardless, your dancers will develop a sense of one another as they exist in their periphery and directly in front of them. They will also learn how to time carefully to match one another. The mirror exercise will have them moving seamlessly together on stage in no time!