Dance Teacher Resources

Return to dance: Managing Mirror Shock

Mirror shock.

Dancers generally use mirrors as a resource for self-evaluation and self-improvement. Due to the COVID-19 interruptions, many dancers in Victoria have been forced away from studio mirrors for months on end. They may have moved into a more felt understanding of their fitness, line extension and posture. 

Mirror shock refers to the conflict dancers may experience when returning to the dance studio and witnessing their reflected image. This may be triggering for self-conscious types and may impact the relationships between the dancer, their body and level of stress. 

Something to be aware of as dance educators in the first few weeks of a student’s return is the capacity for body objectification, body comparison and interpersonal competitiveness. 

Below are some ideas for you to consider when welcoming your dancers back to the studio. 

5 strategies to help make dance studios a safe space:

#1. Normalize that there will be a re-adjustment of mindset in relation to body image, technique and personal expectation. 

#2. Encourage dancers to place an emphasis on creativity and learning, not on self- deconstruction. 

#3. Help dancers to focus on the feel of the space and to use the mirrors sparingly. 

#4. Be clear about group goals and objectives, so the focus is not only on the individual. 

#5. Allow your feedback to initially focus on effort and not on detail. 

Will Centurion.

By Will Centurion of Will Centurion: Counselling and Life Coaching.

As a dancer, singer and actor in the music theatre industry, Will Centurion has over 20 years of international experience. After graduating from the Australian College of Applied Psychology, Centurion retired from performing to focus on integrating his stage experience and knowledge of psychology, to create mental health services for Australian performers. Using Integrated Therapies, Centurion helps creative minds navigate the many challenges of the arts industry, managing issues such as performance anxiety, self-confidence issues, negative self-talk, goal setting and career transitioning. For more, visit

To contact Will with questions, or to book a session for your studio either in person or over Zoom, email

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