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The Impact of Mirrors on Body Image and Classroom Performance in Female College Ballet Dancers

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Abstract:

This study investigated the effect of teaching with mirrors on the Body-Areas Satisfaction component of body image and dance performance of female college ballet dancers. With the same instructor in two beginning ballet classes, 15 females were taught using mirrors and 15 females were taught without mirrors. Subjects completed the Cash 69-item Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) during the first and last week of classes of a 14-week semester to measure body image. Dance instructors used the Radell Evaluation Scale for Dance Technique to assess students' performance of the same adagio and allegro phrases danced during the fifth and fourteenth week of the semester. For the non-mirror class, there was a significant increase in adagio performance scores and a trend increase in allegro performance scores from pretest to posttest. Significant increases in adagio and allegro scores were not shown for the mirror class. Higher performing students, performing without the presence of the mirror, had increased Body-Areas Satisfaction scores on the MBSRQ. However, the higher performing students in the mirror class had decreased Body-Areas Satisfaction scores. These results suggest that the use of the mirror in a beginning ballet classroom may negatively affect the skill acquisition of the dancer and may contribute to the low body image scores of higher performing dancers.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Directs the Dance Program, Department of Health, Physical Education and Dance, 115 Rich Building, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 2: Teaches health education in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Dance, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 3: Director of Research Design Associates, Inc., Yorktown Heights, New York

Publication date: 2004-06-01

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