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Updated on October 21, 2014

Psychology 101 - Learning by Observation


"If you always dance with your heart and give 100% you will only succeed as a dancer. You can do anything you set your mind to"

~ Lai Rupe's Choreography

Psychology 101 - Learning by Observation

If you have read Lai Rupe's Article on "How to become a More Technical Dancer," you may recall one of the steps that talked about mirroring other dancers. To some readers, the thought of mirroring other dancers seemed un-original and not a legitimate way to become a more technical dancer.

This is why I am writing about what it really means to mirror another dancer and how this trick will help you not only mature as a dancer and become more technical, but it will also help you be a faster learner with choreography and give you the ability to be an original and unique dancer in the future as well.


What does it mean to mirror another dancer?

Mirroring another dancer, means to mimic or copy their movements. This helps your body match the movements they make, to help your muscles learn proper muscle memory. All dancers do this subconsciously. The act of mirroring another dancer is nothing new. As children you mimic the way your parents walk and talk and in doing so you teach yourself how to walk. When you are young and begin to go to school you copy the way your teachers do certain tasks. When you start to take dance classes as a little one, you follow the teacher and copy the movements she makes. This is mirroring.

By doing this naturally and subconsciously, we are simply using our observation skills to learn proper movements and techniques.

This Choreography was designed for ages 5 -7 just to learn basic moves and how to follow-along and mirror my movements. It is really repetitive and simple, but

How does mirroring other dancers help you improve your own technique?

As you take this subconscious observation skill and begin to focus on this mirroring technique, it is going to improve the memory your muscles learn. As you pick out an amazing dancer in class that you idolize or even the teacher, try standing behind them and moving your body the way that they move theirs. This will begin to teach your muscles to move in that same way as the dancers you look up to move.

If you mirror a more mature and technical dancer, your muscles will begin to automatically move with better technique and more mature dance movements. This is the process that allows mirroring other dancers to improve your personal technique and dance ability.

It also allows dancers to push themselves to be better and reach their full potential.


Will mirroring other dancers take away your unique style as a dancer?

The question has arose making dancers wonder if mirroring other dancers, though may improve technique, could also limit and diminish their own unique style. This is not the case. As you mirror another dancer, this doesn't change anything in your dancers mind or personality, it simply helps muscles learn movements more correctly. A dancer will always be the same person and no matter what a portion of a dancers' personality will always shine through in their movements, performances, and dancing.

Mirroring other dancers only helps your body mature as a dancer, you are still going to be you and your flair and personality is bold enough to come out when you dance.

Just because you want to be a more technical dancer, doesn't mean you need to hide who YOU are when you dance.


What Tricks do YOU do to Become a Better Dancer?

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Dancing is all about uniqueness, expression, and passion.

If you are a dancer, wanting to improve your quality of dance technique, mirroring other dancers is one of the faster and most efficient ways to do this. It will simply help your muscles learn proper muscle memory and technique, while you are still able to put your own personal flair and style into all routines.

If you always dance with your heart and give 100% you will only succeed as a dancer. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Lai Rupe's Choreography

Have any dance questions, concerns, or topics to discuss? Don't hesitate to reach out to Lai Rupe's Choreography. I am here to spread the beauty of dance.

Also, feel free to check out the article, "SUPER DANCE PERFORMANCE SECRETS," to help you become an even better dancer, improving day by day!

Thanks for your LOVE and Support!
~Alaina (Lai) Rupe


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    • profile image


      20 months ago

      I actually do this in class. I am lucky to be in a class with one of the top dancers in our studio. It helps me a lot, and because we have the same dance style now, we're partnered up a lot and I think that's a good thing.

    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 

      4 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      I agree with youabout mirroring other better advanced dancers in order to improve your own dancing. I wrote about the same concept in my articles about to be a better salsa dancer and touched on it in how to dance bachata better. Even those these are partner dances, the concept remains the same. You just instead have the option of admiring a couple that dances well together or an indivdual dancer.

      Regardless of what dance you're doing its good practice to have someone whom you aspire to be like and to envision yourself dancing that way because then eventually your mind and body will start connecting the dots.

      This is basically the premise of olympian thinking which is a method of envisioning yourself reaching your goals, and really focusing on believing in yourself, and doing this regularly until you finally achieve your goals.

      On a more technical note I Should add that private lessons with a teacher are great for learning and finding out how to actually move and get the look that you want if you're struggling with figuring out how to actually do something.


      Anya Brodech


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