Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Creative Movement Activity

The following mirror exercises will help students develop their observational skills so that they learn how to catch nuances of body movements and facial clues from their partners and respond to them. This collaborative effort can then translate into creative expression.

WHAT YOU NEED

WHAT TO DO

  1. Discuss with students why we use mirrors. Point out, if necessary, that a mirror lets us see ourselves the way others see us.

  2. Have several volunteers take turns standing in front of a mirror (their backs to the class) and describing what they see. Encourage them to go beyond their own reflections and to observe what they see in the background. Have them move closer and then farther away from the mirror and note the differences.

  3. Have other volunteers stand before a mirror and make simple movements, such as patting their heads with their left hand, pretending to clean a window with their right hand, and so forth. Call students' attention to the way a mirror reverses things; that is, though the person may be moving his or her right hand, the mirror image appears to be using his or her left hand. To demonstrate, have a student pretend to be a mirror image of someone and do the same motions: One student will be using his or her right hand, the other his or her left.

  4. Involve the whole group by encouraging pairs of students to do other movements, each time with one student pretending to be the mirror image. Then have partners change roles.

  5. Finally, let students try another series of movements, but this time tell participants to forget the distinction between the person looking in a mirror and the mirror image. Instead, explain that either person can initiate a movement for his or her partner to follow. The last exercise is the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. It's one that students can practice and improve on as they become accustomed to the concentration and collaborative effort.

  6. Set aside a time for students to perform, encouraging them to practice in the interim. Some students may want to perform only a well-rehearsed routine. Others might enjoy the challenge of responding to suggestions from the class.

TEACHING OPTIONS

Encourage the dancers in your class to create a dance using mirror images. Students with other aptitudes in the arts might also incorporate the mirror into their work. For example, visual artists might try to draw or paint themselves from a mirror, poets can write on "What I See When I See Me," and fiction writers might write a story with a mirror as a major feature


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